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D.O.L. Survey
Old 07-13-2008, 12:16 PM
 
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D.O.L. is "praised" as teaching valuable proofreading skills. I would like to ask your input on what I consider a toxic "side effect" of daily exposure to spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. Specifically, in my 20 years of teaching intermediate and middle school students (and the mother of college students "teethed" on D.O.L. in their classrooms), I see little crossover of correct use of these skills into their own writing. That is, an extremely small percentage (perhaps 2%) of my students have come to me having mastered correct usage of basic capitalization and punctuation. (This was occurring long before the IM and text messaging generation.)

In our research-driven educational system, why do textbook editors, school administrators, and classroom teachers ignore the fact that for ONE exposure to this type of error, correct usage must be intentionally pointed out 39 times to "erase" student misconceptions. That means for each two-sentence D.O.L. activity (containing an average of 10 errors) the teacher must specifically state 390 times the correct ways to use items from the day's "lesson".

I guess my question has several parts:
*Does D.O.L. do more teaching or unteaching?
*Do those of you who teach upper grades (4+) have manystudents who fail to incorporate what D.O.L 'teaches' into their own writing?
*Do those of you who teach middle/high school have students who consistently misuse the simplest capitalization and punctuation in their personal writing?


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Dol
Old 07-13-2008, 01:10 PM
 
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I do DOLs and other grammar quickies as a reinforcement and yes you're right, there is very little carry over. I am hoping that 6+write traits will help remedy that. My son teaches writing on the college level and he says the same thing.
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Dol
Old 07-13-2008, 01:24 PM
 
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It is my contention that most students have the ability to write with correct punctuation, but they lack the motivation to do so. Kids don't really mind having their papers drop a point or two because they missed a period, but they will strive for accuracy if you make them rewrite papers that contain errors.

As for DOL, it doesn't fix everything, but it does provide some grammar instruction, which is important. If the teacher makes connections to the DOL during their writing time, conventions will improve for students that want to do well.

Last edited by imalith; 07-13-2008 at 01:30 PM.. Reason: to add more
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There is no research. . .
Old 07-13-2008, 02:37 PM
 
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that DOL is effective. Students learn more from writing when they write. If you read Regie Routman's Writing Essentials, Katie Wood Ray's Study Driven, Lucy Calkins The Art of Teaching Writing, and Nancie Atwell's In The Middle, they have great explanations of why it is not effective.
Also, the National Council of Teachers of English has taken the stance that this type of drill along with grammar "drill and kill" do not contribute to students' writing skills and love of writing.

Perhaps, students can best be helped with one-on-one writing conferences where "one skill at a time" can be addressed.

Why am I hot on this topic? Without any input, the principal stated that we must use "drill and kill" exercises and workbooks this year. (She did say that she did not care how we did it . . .a little loophole maybe.) I have been doing my research to present at an opportune time. Some educators mistakenly think that DOL will boost scores on standardized testing. (That's our principal's view.) This approach is not part of my teaching philosophy or at the heart of how I write with my little authors. I didn't mean to jump on my soapbox. . .this has been bothering me all summer in how to tactfully and professionally approach this. Thank you for listening.

I feel that your questions are on to something. Hope others will share, too!
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Old 07-13-2008, 03:36 PM
 
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The teaching of grammar in general has little carryover unless the students are able to put it into their own writings. I do use DOL in my classroom, but not every day. I don't use "drill" type grammar of any kind.

I focus on teaching grammar in mini-lesson format using the students' own writings. I use the grammar book for samples. We never "work" from the book.

I teach middle school.


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Old 07-13-2008, 03:41 PM
 
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Wouldn't it be possible to provide grammar instruction using correctly written sentences? I've used this approach for the past six years with students in grades 4-8 with promising results.

After each "rule" for using commas, semi-colons, hyphens, dashes, quotation marks, end punctuation, and capitalization is reviewed, it is added to a chart. Each morning we orally review a correctly-written sentence by referring to the chart. Student volunteers come to the board, grab the pointer, identify a part of the sentence to analyze, and give justification from the chart as to why a punctuation mark, etc. was used.

For weekly mini-assessments of this part of grammar, students analyze on paper correctly-written sentences by applying the rule number that gives the reason a particular punctuation mark or capital letter was used.

This format makes much more sense to me because it TEACHES by using nothing but CORRECT examples. (You will note that English grammar is the ONLY subject that we consistently try to teach through incorrect example. I've never seen a math book that offers page after page of non-examples of how to compute.) Why are we surprised when high school seniors still fail to begin sentences with capital letters?
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Old 07-13-2008, 03:43 PM
 
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For grades 4-8, the book "Mechanically Inclined" is an excellent resource that espouses teaching mechanics through writing and through finding quality examples in already written text. It is an excellent resource.
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Old 07-13-2008, 04:05 PM
 
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Ditto on what a PP said about DOL being more effective if the teacher makes connections during real writing experiences. After all, isn't DOL basically teaching how to proofread, which is part of the writing process?
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Old 07-14-2008, 03:33 AM
 
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I love your view. That makes so much sense!
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Daily Oral Language
Old 07-14-2008, 03:42 AM
 
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I agree with what you say about limited transfer to actual writing. However, I'm curious about the source of the "39 times" research?

To paraphrase someone wise (was it Donald Graves?), why would students be so egregiously influenced by one exposure to incorrect spelling/grammar, but not equally influenced by the hundreds of times they've seen the same thing spelled correctly?


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Litprof, I'm with you
Old 07-14-2008, 07:20 AM
 
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DOL, IMO, is not good use of instructional time. The research really has been clear on this now for a long, long time: grammar and mechanics in isolation just doesn't transfer, folks. No matter what little creative twist you put on it, if it's in isolation, you're not getting as much bang for your buck as you would if you conferenced with kids in writer's workshop. The problem with DOL is that it assumes that all the kids in your class need, say, subject/verb agreement work. Teachers know very well that it's not the case that the whole class needs the same lesson. That's the trouble with kill and drill or lessons in isolation! We need to give each kid what THEY need, not what the kid next to them needs.

Really, I think teachers should DUMP their DOL books and put that time back into WW, conferencing meaningfully with writers. That's 5-15 minutes a day that could be used for actual instruction. But when we do lessons like this, we're not really teaching. We're teaching the way we were taught (and we were warned not to do that in college). We're finding our comfort zone.
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reverse dol
Old 07-14-2008, 07:39 AM
 
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I started doing the reverse dol last year and I really liked it. I would choose a great sentence from a story we were reading that week and we would analyze why it was a great sentence. Then we would write a similar sentence together and then they would write one on their own. In this way, we are copying/modeling great sentence structure and grammar. I felt it was a really positive way to do the same thing.
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yes
Old 07-14-2008, 07:47 AM
 
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and it's not in isolation, either. It's from a story you're reading. That's a little different from DOL, which typically comes in a book, one lesson for each day, bearing no relationship, or a merely accidental one, to what's actually going on in class.
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DOL to learn a skill vs. editing practice
Old 07-14-2008, 12:33 PM
 
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I don't have any source for this, but I remember hearing somewhere that if you are using items with errors in it to teach a new skill, kids will have a hard time with seeing it wrong. However, if the skill has already been taught (maybe mastered???) then fixing errors can be a good review/editing practice.

If this is true, then fixing capitalization errors in 5th grade shouldn't be a big deal. However, if you've got ELLs in your class, then DOL could be trouble since lower level ELLs don't have a good grasp of correct language to begin with.

I'd forgotten about this and even though I haven't done DOL in the past, I'd thought about doing it this year. But this post is really making me rethink that. Thanks!
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Love the DOL Question!
Old 07-14-2008, 03:03 PM
 
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That is a great question about the effectiveness of DOL! I have taught writing only to 4th graders for nearly 17 years and this year I am moving to middle school--6th grade. I always started the year doing DOL and following it up w/the various mini lessons to teach the skills. After about 6 weeks, I randomly call on 2 students to teach the skills. They enjoy teaching and writing on the projector in front of the rest of the class. I was unable to find DOL for 6th graders but I am going to use Daily Paragraph Editing for 6th graders instead. I hope to use it the same way as I have in the past w/the younger kids. During my writing conferences if I see a mistake that has been previously covered during a mini lesson then usually when I begin to state the rule then they interrupt me by finishing the rule or say " I know, I know.." and then they fix it quickly before I can finish. I have heard both pros and cons for DOL but I really like it. Our time is so limited to do formal lessons always so the mini lessons help out. When I do my modeling of stories I continue to do the mini lessons that DOL has covered. Again, my students can do the teaching from what they have heard during DOL time.
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Daily Paragraph Editing
Old 07-14-2008, 06:15 PM
 
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Does anyone use Daily Paragraph Editing instead of DOL? If so, do you think this is an effective use of instructional time?
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Daily paragraph
Old 07-15-2008, 06:34 AM
 
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Last year our fourth grade team used daily paragraph editing. The students edited paragraphs Monday - Thursday. Then on Friday they wrote a paragraph based on the the paragraphs they edited. My student did this for homework. On Monday morning they come in, do Monday's paragraph and we go over it. On Monday night, they do Tuesday, Tuesday night Wednesday, and Wednesday night Thursday. We go over the paragraphs each morning. Then on Thursday night they write the paragraph. I saw an improvement in my students' writing, but if that had to do with the editing or with the weekly paragraph writing I don't know. We also do a lot of conferencing during writier's workshop. I really like mary.lu's idea about reverse DOL.
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Old 07-15-2008, 09:48 AM
 
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I don't use the DOL books... I have my own DOL that addresses one or two issues a week. I don't use it in isolation either; we practice it in our everyday writing. Perhaps that's why I've found success with it.
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Survey Results
Old 07-15-2008, 09:33 PM
 
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...seem to say that most respondents use some form of D.O.L. and that it "works". Another question comes to mind: What is your measurement for "working"? Are you observing your students using conventions correctly AND consistently in their "real" writing? Or is success measured in the percentage of students who pass the end-of-year "achievement" test?

My contention remains that success marked (in any way) by pointing to successful passing rates on any achievement test are false markers. I've seen too many students over too many years at too many upper grade levels who have not mastered (as seen in their "real" writing) the simplest concepts: begin every sentence with a capital letter, the pronoun I is capitalized. This is NOT rocket science. These students can manipulate abstract mathematical concepts, sing (and understand) rap, explain complex science ideas, set up LANs, break dance without breaking their neck! As I stated in my first post, what they learn well seems to be taught without an instructor using artificially generated incorrect examples (which English teachers do DAILY).

Consider how you measure your students' success. Is D.O.L. teaching (which means to me students learn and consistently APPLY a concept) or is it our crutch for getting students to pass a test?
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not a crutch
Old 07-16-2008, 04:15 AM
 
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I teach third grade and I do not have to prepare my third graders for a writing test. So, for me, no the success I have had with my "reverse" dol is measured by the transfer I see in their writing during writer's workshop and not how they've performed on a test. For example, I will see students using quotation marks correctly even though I don't teach that formally as it's not in our 3rd grade curriculum.
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Old 07-16-2008, 08:54 AM
 
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While I agree that DOL is not the answer and I do not use it myself, I'm not sure that your measurement that students come to your class without the grammar skills is an effective measurement either. Do you really believe that your students do not have basic grammar skills?

It has been my observation that many students will do minimal work and not reread the work they produce. They learned caps at the beginning of a sentence in first grade. They know that the letter "I" is capitalized. Many students will chose to write quickly and not review work. Mistakes will be made under these circumstances. If the consequence is missing a few points on an paper it does not matter to them, so they will continue to do sloppy work unless they are held accountable.
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60 years of research
Old 07-16-2008, 09:19 AM
 
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I have been following this post at the same time I've been 'reorganizing' my reading and writing workshop files and came across something I had printed from "Teaching That Makes Sense" by Steve Peha. It basically says that (1)DOL is not very effective at improving student understanding of conventions, (2) Sixty years of research prove conclusively that conventions are best taught one type of error at a time, (3) none of the best writing teachers in the world recommend it--the author names Graves, Atwell and Calkins, and (4) the author says that the DOL publishers admitted to him that DOL is a poor use of classroom time and is generally ineffective at imporoving student use of writing conventions.
For those who are interested, I have pasted the link to this document: Hopefully it works.
http://www.ttms.org/PDFs/05%20Writer...1%20(Full).pdf
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Agree with Donald Graves, Nancy Atwell, et al
Old 07-16-2008, 03:43 PM
 
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that D.O.L., the practice of having students "practice" grammar skills by repeated viewing of incorrect examples, is a poor use of class time. I am taking this a step further, DOL is counterproductive to retention and application of knowledge.

I also agree with mary.lu's post about using "reverse" DOL in mini lessons to highlight great writing (style, elaboration, conventions, etc.). If we insist on "teaching" skills in isolation, at least approach it using perfectly awesome examples. To me, her method is the complete opposite of DOL.

My big concern is that there IS a much better way for students to experience the joys (and conventions) of writing. Teaching skills to individual students during writing conferences (Graves, Atwell, Harwayne, ...) is so much more effective and FUN for ALL. Save the whole group "exercises" for creative word play, modeling good writing, etc.

I'd really like to challenge and encourage all who are participating in (and who might come across) this thread to take ten giant steps away from their DOL resources. I promise that if we all do this, many of the bad, "lazy" writing habits of students will begin to
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Old 07-16-2008, 03:57 PM
 
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My measurement of success is through my students' everyday writing. I see that mistakes they used to make regularly are made less frequently. I also, like I said previously, have my own version of DOL that focuses on one or two skills at a time (the whole week), and we immediately put it into practice. I don't find that my "tweaked" DOL is a waste of time at all because I *do* see positive results. But like I've said, I don't do DOL the book way either OR in isolation.
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Old 08-21-2008, 11:24 PM
 
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We don't see the carry over in the writing, but as I have said many times before, it carries over on the state test in the grammar/incorrect sentences section...they are able to find the incorrect verb tenses etc....all because of the DOL practice...which helps our scores, and at our school there is test pressure like you wouldn't believe...so for now that is what matters to us...we do good teaching, but we also make sure our kiddos can past the test.....and third grade at my site had the highest test scores in our whole district this year(18 schools)...and we are a PI school. I think that's why its called "Oral language" its more about being able to recognize the errors. I also tweak my DOL too...to include things we have been working on, such as putting in commas for a list of things.
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I'm sorry, BUT....
Old 08-22-2008, 03:49 AM
 
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where is the oral language in DOL? My students come to me with very poor oral language skills and I can't see how DOL would address this difficulty. I include daily activities to model, practise and correct oral language difficulties, but they look nothing like DOL (which to me looks a lot like editing - hmmmmm???)
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Hmmmmm..........
Old 08-24-2008, 08:09 AM
 
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"we do good teaching, but we also make sure our kiddos can past the test"

This is interesting to me. In fact, that sentence jumped out and hit me right between the eyes. These two ideas DO seem to be mutually exclusive, don't they? Which is more important to us, do you think? Which one should be?

Last edited by maryteach; 08-24-2008 at 08:26 AM..
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D.O.L. in high school
Old 08-31-2008, 08:19 AM
 
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Daily Oral Language or DOL is used throughout the school curriculum. Students continually misuse the simplest capitalizatoin and punctuation, in my estimation, because it is not stressed in every content area.

All subjects need to concentrate on grammar and mechanics. If just the language arts and English teachers concentrate on these areas then the student will only pay attention to his/her errors in the English/Language arts areas.

We, as teachers, need to stress correctness in all things. DOL teaches but unless stressed by ALL teachers then it is a mute point.
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Dol = Wot
Old 09-01-2008, 06:24 AM
 
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DOL is a Waste Of Time

The DOL often has too many errors to correct to make any impact on a student's own writing. As Jeff Anderson pointed out in Mechanically Inclined, we don't want students staring at something incorrect for 15 minutes. Those who really need the instruction aren't benefiting from what is often a haphazard attempt at teaching mechanics and conventions.

...and I think you mean "moot" point.
from dictionary.com:
1. open to discussion or debate; debatable; doubtful: a moot point.
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We all know
Old 09-01-2008, 07:29 AM
 
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what the research says and has ALWAYS said about DOL--it's a big waste of time, and does not do a thing to improve student's writing.

Yet--

Tomorrow morning, teachers will be slapping a DOL transparency onto overheads all across this great nation of ours and within two weeks, someone will start another DOL thread on here and we'll all be arguing about it again--and there will be teachers on that thread too, defending DOL. I must say, I have never seen teachers defend garbage till they're purple like they do on PT.
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Dol
Old 09-01-2008, 07:46 AM
 
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Thank you for starting this thread. I love the reverse DOL method and will be using it this year. I did DOL in first grade and never saw results, there was just no "buy in" from the kids. At the end of the year, we did daily writing prompts with mini lessons. The students created a checklist of things they needed to include in their writing and used the checklist as they edited their neighbors writing. The results and the conversations about punctuation were overwhelming. They learned and retained these lessons in such a natural way. BTW, my principal hates DOL and I am waiting for her to be more outspoken about it!
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