September 24, 2011

Because I Said So

Sometimes students have the strangest ideas about writing rules. Oh yeah, it doesn't help that a lot of English rules are more suggestions. It makes writing just so much fun to teach!

Last week, the conversation about because came up with my desperate-to-pass-their-writing-exit-exam seniors.

"Miss, is it true that you can't start a sentence with because?"

I sighed. This is not the first time I've ever had this conversation with my hapless high schoolers.

"Nope. It's not true. That's something your elementary teachers told you so you wouldn't try to write sentences with because and then screw them up. You see, it's really easy to write a fragment when you start with because, but if you are careful, using it can create a good sentence."

Now, I don't know if it's really elementary teachers who perpetuate this idea, but someone is doing it. I understand that the teacher is probably trying to save them from themselves. Oh boy, do I understand that!

Once I show the students on the board how because can go bad fast, and how to fix it, they understood. I suspect that a few years back they might not have understood, but they get it now.

But it's during times like these when I wonder if I ever send students down the wrong path when I'm just trying to help.


Philip said...

Good Morning Miss Wonders,

Thanks for the comment. I feel truly initiated to the blogging world.

So, if you have your classes blog, do you invite them to read yours? I often read blogs that are dangerously close to breaking FERPA multiple times per post, but get away with it because of their cloak of anonymity... I wonder how open I'll be allowed to be on here, or if it will be imprudent to read/ add the more open/honest blogs like yours and Clix'...

HappyChyck said...

No, Philip, I don't share my blog with my students. Over the years, I wish I would have not started out anonymous, though. I also wish I had a better focus on my blog.

I'm not going to feel too guilty about it, though because as years go on (this is my 15 year teaching), I want less of my life to be my career. My alter ego brings me joy.

Summers School said...

It drives the gifted teacher crazy that I tell my students they can start a sentence with because. They're all good enough writers to know the difference between a fragment and a complete sentence. (I teach 4th grade.)

Then again... I also refuse to enforce the Oxford Comma. I write in APA and all through college got docked every time I used that silly comma. They'll learn if it's necessary in their career or not.

I try really hard not to lead them down the right path. Sometimes I know I do, especially in Social Studies. When we talked about the crusades I had to keep saying, "Now, I can't tell you the answer to that because I don't want to confuse or give you the wrong information." My 4th graders aren't quite ready with enough world history background to really understand the complexity of so many world evens.

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