Friday, May 18, 2012

Grammar Boxes - Word Order


What about the order of the compartments? It really does not matter. Some people seek to have them "in order that we speak our language" - but look at these two sentences: 

the brown dog ate his bone. 
the brown dog ate his bone in the large yard. 
the dog that is brown ate his bone in the yard that is large. 

The first sentence has 2 nouns. So where should the nouns section go in the box? Towards the beginning or towards the end? 
The second sentence has three nouns - and three adjectives (brown, his, large) - so where shall we place the adjective? In front of the noun? Ok, that makes sense, but the children are still going to be going back and forth for the nouns, since there are articles throughout the second sentence; prepositions that could be at the beginning or middle; etc.
As the sentences add parts of speech, there is more and more complexity with word order. See the third sentence. The adjectives are coming after the nouns they describe. Hm. 

The boxes are a storage and display - an organizer, but NOT for the order in which we speak.  

We want the children to explore language - their own language which has already been given as a gift to them in infancy and toddlerhood; that they have striven to learn, to perfect, to master and to share. Even if we *could* hand them the boxes in order, should we? It would be less of a puzzle, less of a game, and more of a mindless matching activity. Indeed that has been the experience of many teachers when doing the noun/adjective/article box with the box in English order: article, adjective, noun. It became mindless. The children didn't have to *think*.

Now, at this age, we are not really looking to just hand them their language - they already have it! Now we are looking to examine it, to explore it, to play with it. So we hand it to them "messed up" - with colors that don't match the symbols they've learned; with transposing and making silly sentences; learning all sorts of play on words (the push cart, push the cart); developing poetical skills as they mix up the sentences and find what still makes sense, what makes sense but with a different meaning and what is entirely non-sensical. 

We are also training their ears to truly *hear*. 

It is impossible to create the boxes "in the order that we speak" - so don't try! Just play along with the language games and enjoy the company :) 


No comments:

Post a Comment