Literacy students have begun to edit their novels from last November’s National Novel Writing Month. This is a painstaking process that pulls everyone out of his or her comfort zone because it can be very difficult to both give and receive constructive feedback.
This week students are reading the novel of one of their peers and critiquing it based on content. Does the plot make sense? Are the characters developed? Is the setting well defined? and so on. In later classes they will have the chance to edit for grammar, mechanics, and style. This will encompass their inside-the-classroom learning through February.
While braving the cold outdoors on Mondays, students are studying the eight parts of speech holistically and individually. Before knowing all the differences between the parts of speech, they were nonetheless able to construct a workable sentence as a class by reordering random words, four nouns, two pronouns, two verbs, two adverbs, two adjectives, two conjunctions, two prepositions, and two interjections that they generated while at the arboretum.
In time, students will be able to deconstruct a sentence or a phrase and understand all of its component parts the way a mathematician breaks down an equation or a mechanic breaks down a complex machine. This will help them improve their writing and reading skills immensely.