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Mechanically Inclined: Building Grammar, Usage, and Style into Writer's Workshop
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Mechanically Inclined: Building Grammar, Usage, and Style into Writer's Workshop

4.29  ·  Rating Details ·  1,209 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
Mechanically Inclined is the culmination of years of experimentation that merges the best of writer's workshop elements with relevant theory about how and why skills should be taught. It connects theory about using grammar in context with practical instructional strategies, explains why kids often don't understand or apply grammar and mechanics correctly, focuses on attend ...more
Kindle Edition, 216 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2005)
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Feb 17, 2013 Elie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The actual rating is kind of pending. This is one of those books that I'm not sure how useful it'll be until I actually try to implement some ideas in the classroom.

Maybe it's because I'm a new teacher, but the first few, short chapters changed the way I see myself teaching grammar. Yes, the mini lessons that take up a majority of the pages seem great, and I'm planning to use some of them, but it was the foundational idea of how and when to teach grammar that stood out to me. Students should be
Sarah Voigt
Feb 06, 2017 Sarah Voigt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an extremely helpful book for teachers who want to, as the title states, build instruction of grammar into a writing-centric classroom. I really appreciated how the grammar instruction was instantly applicable to the students' writing, giving them the opportunity to see certain structures in the context of a short mentor text and then have them turn around and use the structures in their own writing. Most of all, I appreciated Anderson's appreciation of the students' abilities and knowle ...more
Feb 18, 2013 Michelle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have to say that this is not one of my favorite professional development books. I was thrilled when I read the title, drawn in by the notion of connecting grammar, usage and style lessons into my classroom without boring my students to death. I believe that all grammar lessons should be connected and rooted in student writing and their reading. I have to say that this book has let me down. It did not thrill me with any new or innovative ways of teaching grammar.

That being said, I do think thi
Jul 13, 2012 Gayle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teaching-books
Awesome, awesome, AWESOME! (Don't let the "writer's workshop" part of the title scare you!) First, it's a grammar book that is engaging to read. Second, it is designed in a very user-friendly way with 3 parts: method/philosophy, individual lessons (based on the most common student errors in grammar/mechanics-- and the lessons are clear, fast, and FUN!), and an appendix with forms for the lessons. So, you could skip the method/philosophy part and go right to whatever individual lessons you needed ...more
Michelle Mayfield
Feb 05, 2017 Michelle Mayfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book to show teachers how to teach grammar in context. We are told that is the best way to do it, then we are given reading series that give worksheets and teach out out of context. I am excited to go to school and try some of his ideas in my class tomorrow.
Apr 08, 2016 Kristin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, I don't think I've been as captivated by a professional book since 2009's Readicide by Kelly Gallagher! I was reading this book every free moment I had visualizing how Anderson's techniques would look in the classroom. I love his authentic and active engagement of mentor texts to support students' writing in a workshop model. I plan to share this with my 6th grade team who will be implementing Writer's Workshop next school year. I hope they find it as motivating and inspiring as I did.
Christine Engelbrecht
This is a nice handbook for every writing teacher's shelf, focusing on each element of grammar or often made grammatical error and how to address it in a writing context.
I especially appreciate the mentor texts included in the book for each grammatical errors tat students commonly make. I also think the appendices, the handouts and exercises, are quite helpful. I found it interesting that they included Cloze assessments, which are traditionally used to gage a students comprehension.
Jan 08, 2013 Todd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is brilliant, very useful. Most education literature is limited in how useful it is, but this one, is a gold mine of useful and practical tools. In addition I've learned how to improve my own writing from it!
Mrs. Augustin
May 31, 2017 Mrs. Augustin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teacher-books
One of the only books I still go back to. I credit him and Jon Ostenson for making me confidently love teaching grammar.
Mar 18, 2017 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I revisited this book recently, and found inspiration (again) to teach grammar the way it's supposed to be -- as a tool for the writer to release a perfect message to a reader! WHY do we have punctuation? WHY do we write like we do? My students and I have been playing with "sentence stalking" and discovering our own styles in class, and we encourage anyone to join us in the fun! Grammar is NOT boring in this book!
Feb 20, 2017 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an incredibly quick read. The organization makes different sections easy to navigate, and I can already envision using different lessons in my own classroom. Anderson focuses on using authentic texts, both published and student-written, which makes the concepts more meaningful and more likely to actually be applied to student writing.
Sep 11, 2007 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: English teachers
Shelves: teaching
I have yet to figure out how to teach grammar and mechanics without turning English into the most hated, most boring subject there is; therefore, I teach very little of it. This book makes the case for why grammar and mechanics are so important to teach and offers a lot of practical ideas for how to do it. First, I like his approach -- there is a reason that students make the mistakes they make. To teach mechanics, you have to start with the reasoning behind the mistake students are making. In o ...more
Taylor Troncin
Jan 11, 2014 Taylor Troncin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pre-2016-read
This book focuses on Jeff Anderson’s first hand experiences with teaching editing (and grammar). He found that students generally hate these skills due to how they have been taught in the past. Part 1 focuses on the background information and his reasoning behind what he discusses in part 2. Part 2 is not on this tip sheet, but provides a great deal of advice how to approach some common grammatical errors (I couldn’t just pick one or two – I would have had to copy the entire section of the book! ...more
Aug 13, 2011 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Full of great examples from mentor texts and real-life classroom dialog, this is a great how-to book for ELA teachers who are using (or thinking of using) writer's workshop in their classroom and who want to teach GUMS in a more authentic way. It contains explanations, both of the techniques and of the conventions (and in case you never knew, didn't understand, or have forgotten them, Jeff doesn't make you feel like a fraud--he even admits he's the last person who ever would have thought he'd wr ...more
Sep 07, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love the ideas for incorporating grammar instruction with student writing in this book. Anderson's ideas for the Writer's Notebook are solid and realistically able to be implemented in a classroom. He offers great lessons for teaching different grammatical concepts to students, and these lessons nicely complement those presented in Harry Noden's Image Grammar and align with Constance Weaver's Teaching Grammar in Context.

I recommend this book to any classroom teacher faced with teaching gramma
Technically I've been reading this for a few weeks, but it counts for my teaching book for last week. I liked this book a lot, although I feel like it's definitely geared more toward middle school. I really like the general ideas in this book though, particularly editor's checklists as evolving posters, visual posters for understanding grammar, the use of mentor texts, and sentence stalking. All of these ideas are ones I'd use in my class. I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to incorpor ...more
Despite the fact that it took me almost SIX MONTHS to actually finish this book (there was a few months that it didn't get picked up at all) there were some REALLY valuable things to learn from Jeff Anderson's treatise on how to better incorporate grammar into the writing workshop. To me, what made this book worthwhile is that the grammar was actually RELEVANT and not just random textbook drills that teach kids nothing other than how to hate the English language. Jeff Anderson's approach allows ...more
Jun 29, 2015 Jazmyne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, ed-ref
Very helpful book for English educators, both current and pre-service. A lot of great ideas for making instruction of grammar and mechanics fun. It's nice the Anderson writes in a way that is incredibly accessible. Many handbooks have very academic language, and trying to get down to the nitty-gritty of those books can be unbearable. This does it in a way that's engaging and fun, as well as informative.

The one thing that detract from this book is that some of his examples have errors in them, or
Sep 23, 2007 Melinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: english teachers
I was fortunate enough to spent a day with Anderson a few weeks ago when he was in town to offer training for middle school language arts teachers. His approach to teaching grammar and mechanics using the context of mentor texts is easily applied and totally ingenious. Attending the training and reading the book have reminded me why I wanted to be an English teacher in the first place -- I love language and the power of words. The strategies in this book can help me more effectively communicate ...more
Oct 24, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teaching
I'm a glutton for books on education, and I can comfortably say that this is hands-down the most practical, entertaining, and useful book I read in 2008. While I was still reading the book I was able to implement some of Anderson's ideas in my own classroom. He's a middle school teacher but I adapted many of his lesson ideas for my third grade class. He answered every question and eased my discomfort about teaching structure in a fluidly structured environment like writer's workshop. Well done i ...more
Jul 05, 2010 Renee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I believe that Jeff Anderson has it right by teaching grammar using real literature and then having the kids immediately use the info. they've learned about grammar in their own writing journals. His book is incredibly helpful in that he actually gives you books to use and the pages in that book where you can find great examples of whatever grammar rule he is teaching. The only problem I'm having is that I never have had the time to run a real writer's workshop. I'm wondering if this would work ...more
Jan 02, 2009 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book, for middle/high school English teachers, is one of the most useful content-specific books I've read. Anderson, trained by NJWPT, has great strategies for teaching grammar and mechanics in the context of real writing, even in writing workshop. Almost everything he writes rings true with what I've learned in my 6 years of teaching, AND he gives page after page of useful handouts with quick references for the most egregious errors.
Tiffany Neal
This guy is a genius. Simply stated. I read and applied Everyday Editing to my class last year and decided that I needed more for my classroom for this year.

The stuff is so easy and basic, but mind blowingly brilliant. Use literature to teach kids grammar. I will never teach grammar a different way again.

This book has more ready to go lessons to use in the classroom, that I will definitely be using.
Jamie Vollrath
Jan 22, 2016 Jamie Vollrath rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teaching
I have not often felt good about how I approach grammar in the classroom. I've toyed with various methods and philosophies, but I've not found one that sticks yet. Anderson knows where I'm coming from. Clearly written by someone who works in a classroom, this approach to teaching grammar is logical in every way. He doesn't guarantee success, and he doesn't lay out an entire scope and sequence, but the philosophy is golden.
Jun 08, 2014 Renee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a must-have for any new or current English teachers. Jeff is funny, practical, and honest in his approach to writing instruction, particularly grammar instruction. Make learning grammar authentic and meaningful, thus developing better student writers! The second half of the book are quick lessons and resources that you can take directly into your classroom (teachers are oooing and ahhing right now!). I loved this and can't wait to put it to good use this year.
Leslie Cook
Aug 12, 2012 Leslie Cook rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I used this for a Teaching Grammar in Middle Grades course I taught during a summer session. Pre-service teachers were able to do several of the activities in class. Anderson's philosophies fit well with the descriptive, transformational approach I use in the applied grammar course I teach during Fall and Spring. Using the book allowed the teachers to feel less self-conscious about their own grammar skills and to play with language more.
Mar 29, 2011 Dray rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mid-level English teachers/future teachers
Recommended to Dray by: random barnes and noble purchase
Greatness. The first half of this book is made up of Anderson's ideas for teaching grammar and mechanics effectively. It's filled with inspired ideas; my highlighter was going nuts. And the second half is...THE LESSON PLANS that he has found most beneficial. I am very enthusiastic about this book.
Shannon Clark
May 11, 2013 Shannon Clark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pd, not-reviewed-yet
A great read for anyone who's wanting to embed grammar instruction into writing. One section has lessons for the punctuation and TROUBLESOME grammar skills that kids need to know in order to become more effective writers.

The first section of the book also gives some ideas on how to set up a writer's notebook.
Meghan Searcy
Oct 26, 2009 Meghan Searcy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome lessons that make teaching grammar fun! Anderson's method for setting up the writer's notebook requires too much management for my sixth graders. The lessons/activities for sentence parts and types are especially good. Tomorrow I am we are having a SENTENCE SMACK DOWN!!! Some old Jock Jams tunes will play during transitions. YES!
Jun 13, 2008 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writing teachers, ideal for mini-lessons
Recommended to Anna by: my school
I used this book to come up with mini-lesson for teaching middle grades writing and plan to use it this fall. There are some really helpful lessons in here and at the same time there are some ideas in here that I would never use. It's one of those books where you just have to pick and choose what works for you rather than relying on it like it's the Bible.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Write Like This
  • Write Beside Them: Risk, Voice, and Clarity in High School Writing
  • Notebook Know-How: Strategies for the Writer's Notebook
  • Lessons That Change Writers [with Binder]
  • Reading Ladders: Leading Students from Where They Are to Where We'd Like Them to Be
  • Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide from the Authors of Craft Lessons
  • The English Teacher's Companion: A Complete Guide to Classroom, Curriculum, and the Profession
  • I Read It, but I Don't Get It: Comprehension Strategies for Adolescent Readers
  • Adolescent Literacy: Turning Promise Into Practice
  • Yellow Brick Roads: Shared and Guided Paths to Independent Reading 4-12
  • Study Driven: A Framework for Planning Units of Study in the Writing Workshop
  • Holding on to Good Ideas in a Time of Bad Ones: Six Literacy Principles Worth Fighting for
  • Guiding Readers and Writers (Grades 3-6): Teaching, Comprehension, Genre, and Content Literacy

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“..English teachers often take a right-wrong stance. I'd rather my students take a thinking stance.” 4 likes
“Grammar includes all the principles that guide the structure of sentences and paragraphs: syntax-the flow of language; usage-how we use words in different situations; and rules-predetermined boundaries and patterns that govern language in a particular society. Mechanics, on the other hand, are ways we punctuate whatever we are trying to say in our writing: punctuation, capitalization, paragraphing, formatting.” 0 likes
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