Maybe it is just me, but the its v. its debate always bugs me. Even today, long after I took my last grammar quiz. Even as a grown man. Even as a professional English teacher supposedly spot-on about that sort of gig.
One of my many professionally ironic Achilles heels, I suppose. Arrrrrrrrgh.
The kind of thing, you see, that makes me worry I may end up highlighted over at the darlin' "Grammar" silo lovingly populated by the Flickr community.
Mmmm, might make for a dynamite lil' English project for this coming fall.
So many what-about-that's, so little time.
Last time I checked, the school year gives me approximately 9.5 months to cover everything my students/school need me to cover, a circus tent of ideas I'm gathering in my backyard for release class-by-class staring this fall, and the myriad of what-about-that's I'll undoubtedly find along the way that have no specific place in the curriculum...yet seem so delicious that one would be hard-pressed to ignore their neon possibilities in the academic year's fast lane.
Take the ain't-it-funky category of old skool grammar, for instance.
I continue to still recall great pride in having memorized all the prepositional phrases our textbook gave us way back in the 7th grade. Not sure I'd make my own students do that in this day-n-age (or much of what my diagramming sentences past also pulled off), but I am still a bit of a rock-star at the "______ the cloud" game when it comes to the mighty preposition. Really!
Years ago in Round 1 (pre school design sabbatical span) of my English teacher days, I fell in love with The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: A Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed by Karen Elizabeth Gordon:
Playful and practical, this is the style book you can't wait to use, a guide that addresses classic questions of English usage with wit and the blackest of humor.
Always said to myself,
Self, why don't you consider having your kids write a mini grammar usage book of their own under a thematic umbrella of their own choice.
Could be an interesting tonic during the awkward days of grammar study.
But never got around to it. Still want to, but not sure how it'll fit into an already jam-packed academic year ahead.
Perhaps -- instead -- I'll have them explore a few of the lovely language / grammar scavenger hunt blogs that are popping up as of late on my radar screen, blogs that give digital camera totin' language lovers a lovely name:
- The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks
- Apostrophe Abuse
- Literally, A Web Log [note: this blog collects mis-uses of the word "literally". Literally!]
- Perhaps even the passive-agressive notes blog
Perhaps -- even better -- I'll suggest that my students consider creating a blog (or at least scrap book) of their own, capturing language construction oddities they run into.
Might even convince the extra credit fairy to fly on by!
Heck. If I were really brave and innovative, I'd give the kiddos EC for creating a blog of my very own grammatical / spelling mistakes throughout the year. Hand-outs. White board scribblings. Blog entries. Tests & quizzes.
Could be a field day for them.
And a humbling kids-as-copy-editor reality check for yours truly, too!