Wednesday, May 03, 2006

C if u rel8

Janet, over The Art of Getting By has written a fantastic post concerned for the deterioration of spelling, grammar, and all things retro. I have written about this disturbing trend as well. But, Janet, I have to admit that I recently gave in; I caved.
Because my ninth grade students continually sprinkle their essays with 'cuz, ppl., i, and b4, I put together a two day lesson plan on text speak based off of this BBC lesson plan. I put togther a whole powerpoint that was written in all text speak--very few vowels, numbers replacing sounds, etc.
My ninth graders' eyes lit up when I introduced it all. There on the screen for all to see, an abomination to all English teachers and professors, "2txt or not 2txt, tht is da qstn" Shakespeare, Thoreau, Hemingway, Frost, and Orwell, please forgive me.
After tossing around some text messaging lingo, I explained the purpose behind the lesson. I explained that when we as individuals are with our friends, we are able to speak and act with a casualness that fits the situation. But, if I were to approach a job interview or parent conference with the same whimsical attitude, I would not be taken seriously. Certain situations require different approaches. The prom is a formal dance, your attire ought to be formal as well. The same goes for writing. When you IM, Myspace, text message, or write notes to your friends, the text-speak is acceptable. It works. But for assignments and formal writing situations, you ought to use proper English.
I then handed them a short paragraph in normal prose. They had to translate it to text-speak. A much more difficult (well, relatively speaking) task than they thought. Today, in class, they translated a paragraph, that I had put into text-speak, back to normal prose. And tonight, for homework, they must write their own explanatory paragraph, in normal prose, and translate it into text-speak.
Wll they get n e thing out of ths? Prbly nt. But, at least they had sum fun ths wk. BTW n e 1 can txt evn old ppl lke us! C U l8r.


At 6:00 AM , Blogger Keith said...

Great post, and it sounds like an excellent and very practical lesson for your students. I hope it has the desired effect...

At 9:39 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

VBG :-)

At 3:39 PM , Blogger CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

Great idea--thanks! I'm going to try this in my class too.

At 1:06 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You keep amazing me, much to my delight. My only hope is that my own children will have such quality teachers. Keep up the labor of love and god bless.

At 1:52 PM , Blogger graycie said...

Nicely done! I allow texting language in their drafts -- as long as final written pieces are in standard English. It seems to work as a compromise. I use the same arguments for proper language usage and grammar in their speech. It seems to have some impact.

At 8:16 PM , Blogger Mr. McNamar said...

Anonymous, thank you. There is not greater compliment to give a teacher.

At 9:50 PM , Blogger Megan said...

This is one of the most truly creative lessons I've seen in ages. Brilliant.

At 4:56 PM , Blogger r said...

Fabulous! What a great way to tap into their knowledge, their expertise, and use it for a learning tool.

I'm definitely going to swipe this idea... oh, I mean borrow.

Thanks Mr McNair.

At 4:59 PM , Blogger r said...

Oh, of course.

I'm going to have to do it at home, because the stupid district won't let me on to the linked site.

Somebody is blocking every site heard of recently.

But, thanks again!


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