This activity consists of:
-a handout that gives a detailed explanation of how syntax choices affect an audience’s understanding
-a follow-up assignment
-the passages needed for the follow-up assignment.
Students should have at least a beginning understanding of basic grammar terms. (For help in teaching these introductory concepts, please see my TpT store!)
After working through the exercises included in this activity, students will have a deeper understanding of syntax choices--how they help communicate the relationships among ideas and help to create pace, tone, mood, voice, and emphasis.
Even with a basic understanding of grammar, students will likely need assistance in understanding some of the terms and concepts in this handout, as it covers fairly advanced ideas about syntax and uses a large number of grammar terms. Planning time to read the handout as a class or to answer questions after students read silently will offer students the support that many will need.
For the assignment that follows the reading, if you have a small class, it may make the most sense to simply offer one passage to each pair of partners. For a larger class, the passages can be assigned so that two sets of partners are working on each excerpt.
It is useful to follow this assignment with a discussion of the conclusions that students came to and to offer a structure for this discussion that pushes students to think in the “thesis-evidence-warrant” format:
.What is your theory about tone? What evidence justifies your theory?How does your evidence prove what you say it proves?
.What is your theory about meaning? What evidence justifies your theory? How does your evidence prove what you say it proves?
Ask students who are listening to each group present to keep track of the argument being presented and to offer feedback about the argument. If you wish, this can be the basis for your evaluation of the assignment.