Saturday, December 15, 2012

Memorize or Recognize?


This week, I came across this post that I wanted to comment on but just didn't have any time.The question was whether or not you have your students memorize a list of common prepositions. 

Over the many that I have taught prepositions, I always come across the suggested strategy of memorizing prepositions. But I've never made one student memorize prepositions. I do hang a poster I made with the common prepositions up in the room most of the year. 

Years ago, I followed the suggestion to teach prepositions first every year - before any other part of speech- as introduction and review. I take simple sentences with prepositional phrases in them (students have copies of these sentences) and read them aloud, telling the students the preposition with the complete phrase. I simply have them mark the whole phrase out, then go on to identify the verb, the subject, and the complement. After only a few sentences, I begin to ask students if they can recognize the preposition (and the resultant phrase) instead of identifying it myself. And they can. Easily.

So, I advocate recognize rather than memorize. Recognizing forces the student to come in greater contact with the sentence, to begin to analyze them. 

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This week also ended the first semester. My grades are completed and posted. I only have a scheduled workday on Monday (which might stretch over two more days) to do some neglected filing in my room, and I'd like to change the bulletin board. Then on to some housecleaning. But right now, I'm hitting the sack with the third book of The Hunger Games trilogy. 


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