Friday, March 2, 2007

English Update March 2, 2007

To what degree do we teach oral language skills? Often used in the real world by adults, but least often developed systematically in school.

To what degree do we use the language arts in the real world? Walter Loban: “We listen a book a day, we speak a book a week, we read a book a month and we write a book a year.” MH Buckley. LA (Sept. 76), 623.

How teach students to organize paragraphs? Given a starter sentence, students try to predict the sentences that will follow. M Donley. CCC (May 78), 184. Students begin paragraph with a question instead of a topic sentence. The body of the paragraph answers the question. C Cohan, 1976. CCC (May 77), 182. (In studying a textbook, begin by turning headings into questions and then read to answer the question.)

What do we know about organizing paragraphs? [B Ross-Larson]: It’s true that a single paragraph shouldn’t contain more than one idea; equally true that some ideas deserve more than one paragraph. CS Stepp in Rev. of B Ross-Larson’s The Web’s Impact on Writing…. American Journalism. Issue 8, 2002, p. 2.

How prepare to write an abstract? …topic sentences need to be weighed heavily [in preparing to construct an abstract]. They are often the first…sentence in a paragraph and carry the main idea. DM Guinn. CCC (Dec. 79), 383.

How prepare a readers’ theater presentation I? Adaptation, the second preparatory step, refers to putting the selected literature into a script format in which readers of various parts are indicated. Usually this format designates speakers (characters and narrators) at the left of the page, with directions for gestures and the material to be read on the right side, as a play script does. PD VanMetre. LA (Mar. 77), 280.

How do language textbooks deal with oral skills? Emphasized giving talks, conversation, discussion, dramatization, storytelling, articulation, enunciation, pronunciation. Did not emphasize reading aloud, interviewing, asking and answering questions or debating.

Why read literature aloud? Still, the ultimate reward of oral interpretation is reading enjoyment—the satisfaction of breathing life into literature by effectively reading it aloud to an audience. PD VanMetre. LA (Mar. 77), 282.

What is a paradigm? Thomas Kuhn: A paradigm determines…what is included in the discipline and what is excluded from it, what is taught and not taught, what problems are regarded as important and unimportant and…what research is regarded as valuable…. DC Stewart. CCC (Feb. 78), 65.

How good is the quality of writing in papers offered for plagiarism on the Internet? Author goes online and pays for term papers on demand, a healthy chunk of money, too. Gives examples of the quality of writing from the papers—it isn’t good. S Hansen. NYT (Aug. 22, 04), Internet.

How teach poetry? Display poetic formats in the classroom. M Weiger. EE (Jan. 75), 106.Among all figures of speech, the metaphor and the simile are probably those poets use most often. Each of these figures creates a comparison between things not usually regarded as comparable. In this respect, simile and metaphor are similar. There is an obvious technical difference in their structures, the simile always marked by “as,” “like” or some other word to signal the comparison. And there are some subtle differences in the way the two figures affect meaning and in the impression they make upon the reader. F Trefethen. Wrt (Sept. 73), 21.

How prepare a readers’ theater presentation II? Adapting material for oral interpretation: make an outline of the story; note scenes that coincide with the outline; include as much dialogue and interaction as possible in the scenes. PD VanMetre. LA (Mar. 77), 280. Staging: Introductions can be used to set the stage for a scene. Transitions from one scene to another can be planned. Keep the staging simple, remembering the purpose is to bring the literature alive in the imagination of the listeners. PD VanMetre. LA (Mar. 77), 281-282.

LA = Language Arts. CCC = College Composition and Communication. NYT = The New York Times. Wrt = The Writer. EE = Elementary English.

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