Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Quick Thoughts on What Makes an Effective Sentence

I'm thinking about two things while I'm reading the chapter on building sentences as a writer.

The first is the six-word memoir idea that I keep seeing around. I know that some of these six word memoirs "technically" count as more than one sentence, but it's interesting to think about how much of a challenge it can be to pack content into only a few words, which is the goal of writing an effective sentence.

The second is the writing I had to endure during today's professional development from the Common Core math standards. Listen to this one:
"They bring two complementary abilities to bear on problems involving quantitative relationships: the ability to decontextualize - to abstract a given situation and represent it symbolically and manipulate the representing symbols as if they have a life of their own, without necessarily attending to their referents - and the ability to contextualize, to pause as needed during the manipulation process in order to probe into the referents for the symbols involved."
That sentence is a gem, isn't it? Anyone who wants to diagram it? ;)

Anyway, I liked this chapter as it made me think about how important it is to balance looking at the "big picture" - things like the writing process, or publishing pieces of writing; and also the parts that make up the whole - things like sentence fluency and variety. One thing I will say is I am going to try to focus on doing this in the context of their own writing. In the past, it seems like the kids haven't quite connected my grammar lessons to their own writing, and I think that's because I wasn't connecting it to it. (Although I will say, the entire Editing and Revising portion of the CMT is about editing and revising completely out of context - wouldn't it be better to show revision and editing on the piece they have to do for the prompt?)

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