#RozTaughtMe: Post 5 – Skillfully, My 3rd Graders Use Adverbs

#RozTaughtMe: Post 5 – Skillfully, My 3rd Graders Use Adverbs

Over the next several weeks, join us in a celebration of the legacy of Dr. Rozlyn Linder. Our colleague, friend, and important voice in literacy education. While we continue to mourn losing her this past December, her teaching, vision, and work lives on and inspires.

For each post, we will reference her books, workshops, and conversations in the specific ways we are using them today.

We know Roz’s work influenced so many of you, too, and so we invite you to write your own #RozTaughtMe. We suggest your post structure may go like this:

  • Capture Roz’s work (a strategy, method, chart, writing lesson, etc)
  • Share how you have used it or how it has inspired your teaching
  • Invite others to try it out as well

Please link your posts in the comments section of any #RozTaughtMe post and/or share on Twitter and Facebook. We will round up and reblog some of your posts as guests posts here on our Community blog.

Commentary on this guest post from Chris Lehman, Founding Director:

Today’s guest post hit me particularly closely today. Just moments ago, while rereading this post as it is set for release, a reminder popped up on my computer that tomorrow is Roz’s birthday.

That stopped me cold. However, it appeared just as I was immersed, through Leigh’s words, in her classroom’s work and how Roz’s teaching has entered her own, and even more so, the voices and writing of her students. It’s a beautiful post—that also tackles what should be a challenging grammatical move in a totally doable and engaging way!—that was just what I needed today.

(I also laughed a bit at the part Leigh mentions Roz’s “Wall of Crazy.” I could hear her voice. You can hear Roz talk about it on this video from Heinemann.)

Thank you for this post, Leigh!

#RozTaughtMe guest post by Leigh Rockoff, 3rd Grade Teacher at Milton Avenue School, Chatham, NJ

Skillfully, My 3rd Graders Use Adverbs

“I have so much time for teaching grammar,” said no elementary teacher ever.  A common complaint among elementary school teachers is lack to time to teach the OVERWHELMING number of things we are to cover in the approximate six hours we have our students each day. “Teach it in writing workshop.” they say.  Yet, somehow, grammar seems to get pushed aside for genre, structure, and craft during writing.

Admittedly, I fit the profile above.  I am always upset that my students don’t always use capital letters correctly, that their knowledge of sentence structure surmounts to a capital letter at the beginning of the sentence and a period at the end (if they are in the mood to use punctuation that day) and that they have little understanding of parts of speech except for the few who have play Madlibs.  I also fully and openly admit that I prefer to teach craft.  Finding a mentor text that models “show not tell” or awesome character development makes my teacher wheels start turning and eager to share with my students.  

Grammar is not something I am good at, hence why I have asked not one but two people to edit this piece! Perhaps that is why I have always struggled with getting excited about teaching it.  And then… I met Roz.

Roz Taught Me

I had the privilege to attend a workshop at Kean University where Roz Linder was speaking about authentic assessment. While I did take away five pages of typed notes and a MUCH quicker way to assess students on the fly, my favorite take away was one from her “Wall of Crazy.”  Roz shared how she created a wall of crazy to analyze mentor texts to see what they were doing often to then share with her students. The result helped create her The Big Book of Details.

My favorite from that day was a part of speech that I knew none of my students used or even had awareness of.  The very next day, I scraped my planned lesson and tried her Adverb Comma lesson from The Big Book of Details (79-82).

How I’ve Used Roz’s Work

I was not looking for my third graders to be able to correctly identify parts of speech on a worksheet, but instead I pulled some from our current read alouds to introduce, subject, verb, adjective.

Chart from Leigh’s classroom, based on Roz’s work

I read several of the examples from the texts Roz had already listed in the lesson and then had students pull sentences from their writing that were lackluster.  We set up our notebook pages, writing our lackluster sentences on the right side and dedicated the left side for revisions after using the ROZ lessons. For this lesson they would try and tell HOW their subject did the verb.

After putting the adverb right before the verb, I showed students how moving the adverb up front makes the beginning of the sentence sound more interesting and also varies their sentence starters.  

I was so pleased to find “Adverb Commas” in their on-demand assessment writing they did just a few days later. By spending fifteen minutes on parts of speech and then teaching how to move the adverb to the front of the sentence and add a comma, my students are finding other places where they think commas should go as well.

“Adverb Commas” in student writing!

Transition Comma is our own version of this that I would have loved to have shared with Roz.


Try It!

And the best news… this is just ONE of the lessons I LOVE from her The Big Book of Details.  So when I’m stuck and frustrated about grammar or my students’ writing… open this amazing book up.  Take a breath and think, “What Would Roz Have Done?”

Please share your own reflections, comments, or links to #RozTaughtMe in the comments section of this blog.