19 – Grammar Introduction

Hey team, here is the post for 3/22/2016.

The only thing due today was the midterm project.

We started off with a discussion about the blog. This was the first year ENG350 used a blog, so it was a kind of experiment for us. We didn’t really know what to expect. The goal of the blog was to have a space to make our learning permanent. Sometimes our discussions or ideas get lost as soon as we leave the classroom. The blog is meant to preserve what happened so, if you did forget everything, you can go back to the blog. It is also a place for resources. The tags and links were meant to connect you to common ideas.

There were lots of opinions about the blog. Your input is defintely valid and valuable! It’ll help us shape the assignment for the future and figure out how to make it better.

Here is a chart summary of our discussion.

+
changes
reflection (can see what we learned)
extra work for little use
volunteers only
activity review (can see what we did)
gives excuse not to attend class (“you can just look at the blog”)
don’t assess.
(how assess then? or ensure that blog is updated?)
tags help us find information
takes fun into school writing
interactive (comments, twitter, use in class)
looking ahead
(write a question for twitter)
links to readings or resources makes it convenient
too formal (submit draft, long, attentive, revise)
write your own ideas, not just recap what happened in class
practice writing for an authentic audience
put up and never touch again
great for midterm and twitter
good only for tech savvy people/ navigation
template/form
inconsistent format

For me, I think this means that the blog met its objective. It was useful in preserving what we learned and in helping you complete assignments. But it also sounds like it wasn’t the most enjoyable task. Some requirements need to be changed so that there is more freedom and interaction.

After talking about the blog, we did a grammar and writing activity.

Here is a link to the powerpoint I used in case you want to check out what we did/use it yourself! In the activity, you guys brainstormed what writing is/is not, wrote a definition of writing, and illustrated that definition as a metaphor or image. Then you did the same for grammar, but, instead, integrated our grammar into the image or metaphor you already made. The goal of the activity was to see how grammar isn’t some sort of add-on at the end of writing. It is interconnected By adding it in the image or metaphor, you could see how grammar has its own special place.

Here are your definitions (I transcribed some because of the glare):

Here are your metaphors and images:

It looks like you guys came up with some great stuff! We have writing as surgery with grammar being the stitches. We have an attic space as writing and the holiday stuff as grammar. Then we have a person thinking of various written works with grammar being tools. I can see in these images how grammar becomes essential.

As you worked, I think the hardest part was coming up with something all-inclusive. There were some different opinions about grammar and writing that made it difficult to define. This included whether spoken performances or art could be considered writing and whether grammar was cultural. I think this means our challenge in learning about grammar and writing is that we need to be open to other interpretations and see the two as constantly changing, but still constantly interconnected.

Looking ahead, your readings are Anderson’s chapters 1, 2, and 3 (for the text Mechanically Inclined). If you haven’t already, you should buy the text.

As an outside resource, I recommend LingSpace! It is one of my favorite video channels. It’s all about linguistics. Here is the video about descriptive vs. prescriptive grammar. A lot of our discussion relates well to this.  It also might answer some of your questions about what can be considered grammar.

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