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Inviting Adolescent Writers into Language

Inviting Adolescent Writers into Language

Patterns of Power: Inviting Adolescent Writers into the Conventions of Language Grades 6 – 8
By Jeff Anderson with Travis Leech and Melinda Clark
(Stenhouse Publishers, 2021 – Learn more)

Reviewed by Anne Anderson

Patterns of Power: Inviting Adolescent Writers into the Conventions of Language Grades 6-8 will change your outlook on teaching grammar. You may have grown up on grammar worksheets.

You may have taught with grammar worksheets. These author educators share a more palatable approach for teaching grammar and writing with today’s students.

Don’t miss this powerful sentence from the Introduction:

“Instead of hammering adolescents with which mistakes they should avoid, we argue for playing with the patterns of language that mold meaning and have powerful effects on readers, and for creating an environment in which writers study and appreciate the beauty and meaning of grammar and conventions rather than fear and avoid mistakes.” (p. 3)

Throughout the book, the authors demonstrate how they nourish writers with the Patterns of Power philosophy or invitation process. Students, who are naturally curious, are invited to notice and then talk about the “good stuff” they see in writing.

With the invitation process, students are surrounded with beautiful sentences from an assortment of literature. “Instead of rules, we call the conventions Patterns of Power because this term better represents them.” (p. 3)

Part 1  Getting Started with the Patterns of Power Process

Chapter 1  Into Planning: What Do You Need to Do Before Teaching the Invitation?
Chapter 2  Into the Classroom: How Do You Teach Conventions with the Invitation Process?
Chapter 3  Into Application: How Do You Nudge Writers to Apply Conventions

Here in Part 1 readers receive an overview of the invitation process, while learning about intentional planning, instructions, and application. Some readers may recognize the invitation process from Anderson’s Everyday Editing (2007) and Patterns of Power (2017) for grades 1-5. This section will be extremely helpful for anyone about to embark on this exciting adventure.

Here is an overview of the Invitational Process (p. 10). Students move through this process in ten-minute increments over a series of days. This process is explained in detail in Chapter 2.

Part 2  Patterns of Power Lessons

Chapter 4  How do Writers and readers use SENTENCES?
Chapter 5  Why Do Writers and Readers Need COMPOUND SENTENCES?
Chapter 6  How Do Writers and Readers Use COMPLEX SENTENCES?
Chapter 7  How Do Writers and Readers Use PHRASES and CLAUSES?
Chapter 8  What Does the MOOD of a VERB Do for Writers and Readers?
Chapter 9  How Do Writers and Readers Use VERBALS?
Chapter 10  What Does PUNCTUATION Do for Writers and Readers?
Chapter 11  What Do PRONOUNS Do for Writers and Readers?
Chapter 12  How Do Writers and Readers Continue Using CAPITALIZATION?
Chapter 13  What Other Amazing Things Can Writers and Readers Do?

These ready-made annotated lessons are grouped by writers’ craft and purpose with an easy to follow format. The standard for each lesson was selected from grade-level, state, and national standards and reworded for ease of use. The focus phrase (learning topic) is a student-friendly phrase that students will repeat often in the lesson. Here’s an example from Lesson 7.3 Double the Comma Fun: Interrupters (p.201)

Standard: Use commas to set off nonessential/parenthetical phrases and clauses.
Focus Phrase: “I enclose interrupters in commas.”

Throughout a lesson, you will find Power Notes and Tip Boxes that provide additional support and clarification. That’s where the authors provide the what, why, and how of a particular strategy or activity. Each of the 55 lessons includes the six invitations.

The Invitation to Celebrate will be a big hit with middle school students. It is during this time that students deepen their understanding of conventions. Now they hear, and see, what their classmates created in the Invitation to Imitate. Don’t skip the celebrations. The full Patterns of Power soundtrack is found in Appendix A.

How Patterns of Power works for you

Patterns of Power: Inviting Adolescent Writers into the Conventions of Language Grades 6 – 8 is a teacher-friendly resource. It’s easy to navigate. It’s colorful. It’s filled with ideas. At the conclusion of each chapter readers will find all the necessary printables. It’s a great resource in a world where teaching grammar is more challenging that ever!

Anne Anderson always knew she wanted to be a teacher. She graduated from East Texas Baptist University with an English major and History minor and did graduate work at Louisiana State University and Louisiana Tech University. After teaching 8th graders for 24 years, Anne served as a content coach. Since retiring in 2011, Anne has worked as an educational consultant, presenting at national conferences and onsite trainings for public and private schools.

Calendar Celebrations: December, January, February is part of Anne Anderson’s trilogy on resources for months of the school year. (For MiddleWeb she wrote about selected winter celebrations here, about fall here, and about spring here.) Anne has also published articles in IDEAS Plus and Voices from the Middle, publications of the National Council of Teachers of English. She is a frequent reviewer of professional books for MiddleWeb.com.