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run-ons
Old 11-29-2017, 10:35 PM
 
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My class this year is having a terrible time with run-on sentences when they try to get descriptive. They know what run-ons are, and mostly they know how to edit their work to avoid them. But when they're asked to use sense imagery or figurative language, the run-ons just start flowing.

I just graded a typewritten paragraph with an 11 pt font sentence that ran for 7 and a half lines.

What tips do you have for helping them recognize that descriptive doesn't necessarily mean stream of consciousness run-ons?


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A Different Approach
Old 11-30-2017, 10:39 AM
 
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Run-ons seem to be an ongoing issue from elementary to college. I made extensive use of The Coaching Model with my students to resolve persistent problems in reading and writing. It is based on the notion (taken from sports) that if you want someone to learn a skill quickly and correctly, it's best to model the correct way of performing that skill at the outset.

Consider this life or death situation. If I were to teach you how to rappel off a vertical cliff, you can be sure that I would begin by demonstrating the steps properly to help ensure that you would learn the correct way of rappelling. I certainly would not confuse you by showing you fifteen different ways of incorrectly using the climbing equipment. It would also be a waste of your time (and your life) to have you practice for hours untying poorly-tied knots and watching me descend using improper technique on purpose. I've always believed that knowing what mistakes are possible and how to avoid them are not be the best approach for instruction - just the opposite works best for me!

Eliminate Run-On Sentences

This is how I stamped out run-ons with my low-performing K-6 students. I never purposely showed them an incorrectly written sentence. Instead, the early stages of my sentence-writing instruction always began with repetitive models showing proper word order, syntax, capitalization and punctuation - the models became increasingly familiar to everyone through daily practice (i.e. copying the sentences). Unlike the ever-popular D.O.L., they were learning the proper way of writing sentences. After just a few days, run-ons were noticeably less common and after a few months, proper sentences were the norm with the exception of 3-4 students. At the end of the school year, even my 2nd graders were writing proper sentences that were 14-16 words in length!

Try learning French or any other foreign language via the popular writing method of correcting mistakes!

Last edited by Ucan; 11-30-2017 at 12:02 PM..
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Old 11-30-2017, 12:24 PM
 
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This is exactly how I teach writing. But for some reason this year, the ideas of "sense imagery" or "figurative language" unravel what they seem to know in other types of writing.
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Old 11-30-2017, 06:23 PM
 
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i've found that having them read aloud their work and listening to when they have to pause helps. (best when one-on-one so you can help point out where they're pausing..often they can't hear it themselves.) sigh...good luck!
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