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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Found Sentences

I realize that there isn't a post to respond to, however I felt compared to share. With my Advanced Placement Language kiddies,we often have a "found" sentence discussion where students bring to class a sentence or short passage from a larger text we are reading and share. The sharing circulates around the context and personal significance of the sentence. I "found" a sentence I must share. "Speech is one of the most powerful cues by which humans most quickly and decisively decide who they approve of and who they don't." (Elbow 46) The application of such a theory could be endless. However, I often use it to justify why high school students should be required to take a speech class before graduating. Our words do not have a rewind or delete button when spoken. What is said is a permanent record of someones mind. Therefore, we must learn to carefully use them. Elbow references this idea at length early in the text. I love when I find unintended research to support my philosophy. Sorry, just had to share!


  1. I've been reading along everyday and have found I really look forward to Elbow's little Literacy Stories at the end of each chapter. I've always been fascinated with history, so getting bits of history about writing has been an extra bonus.
    In Amy's "I found a sentence to share" vein. Here is mine: ". . .I can virtually always understand their [students] freewriting, however messy and jumpy it might seem, whereas I often can't understand their carefully revised text" (Elbow 97). I wrote a large "Yes" in the margin next to this sentence. I always read student's freewrites right after class because they are fresh, clear, and entertaining, and also gives me a glimpse of their voice.

  2. I realized after I posted the prompt about sharing a quotation that both Amy and Pam had done just that before I injected it.
    Amy's quote about the permanence of speech reminded me of linguistic prejudices that spring up in me when speakers are vague, using language like "thing, stuff, whatever" because they are trying to capture too much in a short time. Speech should probably be also viewed as a rough draft, unless it is planned and formal.
    And Pam's comments about freewriting remind me that transparency is a cardinal virtue of writing. Elegance sometimes confounds whatever you're trying to say.


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