You are here

Good Grammar [Grades 6-12]

Good Grammar [Grades 6-12]
Joyful and Affirming Language Lessons That Work for More Students

September 2024 | 224 pages | Corwin

Modernize grammar instruction with language lessons that inspire and engage students!

Grammar and language instruction has long been, in the words of Brock Haussamen in Grammar Alive!, “the skunk at the garden party of the language arts" that turns many eager learners into disengaged participants. This type of disengagement, and resulting student struggles, have long been the norm, not the exception, when it comes to grammar and language lessons. But why? Why does grammar—something so relevant and essential that we use it in the creation of every syllable we say, write, or think—often end up as one of the dullest and most disconnected parts of the ELA classroom?

Good Grammar: Joyful and Affirming Language Lessons That Work for More Students seeks to answer that question and to offer practical, on-the-ground solutions for making grammar and language instruction more accessible, practical, and connected to students’ reading, writing, and most importantly, the deep well of language knowledge they bring with them already.

At the core of the book are six key practices for creating language instruction that comes across clearer, sticks better, transfers easier, and ultimately instills a love of language, all while teaching major grammatical concepts. Written by a practicing classroom teacher, this book offers

  • Ready-to-go lessons and a recommended sequence
  • Explanation of essential grammar and language concepts for teachers who need to refresh their own understanding of grammar and language topics and concepts
  • Over a hundred modern, engaging, wide-ranging, and diverse mentor text examples
  • Suggestions on how to introduce important linguistic concepts into secondary classes, including lessons about how language develops; how to define, examine, and celebrate dialects/familects/idiolects; and protocols for discussing concepts like code-meshing and “correctness”
  • Examination of broader trends concerning what works and what doesn’t work in regards to grammar and language instruction, with a goal of giving teachers the tools they need to create their own grammar and language curriculum that engages, inspires, and transfers more easily into student writing and life beyond the classroom walls.

The title—Good Grammar—seeks to remind us that grammar doesn’t have to be boring or feel punitive. Instead, it can be a force for good for more students, affirming who they are, honoring the language expertise they bring with them, and helping them to bring their unique voices to the page.

Chapter 1: Learning to Love Grammar and Language Instruction
Chapter 2: The Emphasizers
Chapter 3: Cadence
Chapter 4: Conventions
Chapter 5: Style Points

First, there were the rules. Then, there was a reckoning. And now, this: Resonance. This is the book that I needed as a young writing teacher. It's a gift to me now, many decades later. Good Grammar affirms and invites us to express our identities. It helps us find our place, our people, and our purpose in this world. Matt Johnson is offering such healing and hopeful ideas here.

Angela Stockman
Faculty, Department of Education, Daemen University

In Good Grammar, Matt Johnson once again proves that he knows what writing teachers need: a boots-on-the-ground, practical guide to teaching what matters in language instruction in a way that matters to students. This book makes grammar warm, welcoming, and do-able for teachers and students alike.

Rebekah O'Dell
Teacher and Author of A Teacher's Guide to Mentor Texts, 6-12

In Good Grammar, Matt Johnson pulls off a small miracle: he shows teachers how to incorporate grammar and language study in meaningful and effective ways while connecting the lessons to the larger issues of culture and craft through the use of diverse and compelling mentor texts and methods. This is the book on grammar, language, and great teaching that teachers have all been looking for – and can use as an essential guide for our students and ourselves. 

Jim Burke
Author of Teaching Better Day by Day (Corwin), Uncharted Territory: A Reader and Guide (W. W. Norton) and The English Teacher’s Companion (Heinemann)

Turns out, writing and grammar are fun! Good Grammar demonstrates again and again that joy is found in the composition of words. This book is jam-packed with playful yet important grammar lessons, inviting students to explore the writer within while honoring the language they use every day.

Andy Schoenborn
High school ELA teacher and co-author of Creating Confident Writers: For High School, College, and Life

Every ELA teacher under the sun, if they are honest with themselves, wants to get better at teaching grammar. Specifically, we want to teach grammar in ways that stick permanently in our students’ brains. We also want our students to know the “why” behind grammar rules, and even to feel empowered by this knowledge. My friend Matt Johnson has written a book that does all this and more. Good Grammar gets right down to business. It is packed with practical lessons, examples of student writing, and plenty of Matt’s thoughtful commentary and reflections. It is a valued addition to my professional library, one that is already dog-eared, highlighted, and overall well-used.

Matthew Kay
High school ELA teacher and author of Not Light, But Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom

The lessons in this book had my mind crackling with ideas to use in my classroom! It blends what we know about joy and motivation with what we know about language and how to teach it in ways that are fresh, well-researched, and practical. Good Grammar is the book we've been waiting for to transform the most frustrating part of English class into something that truly helps our students to grow.

Brett Vogelsinger
High school ELA teacher and author of Poetry Pauses: Teaching With Poems to Elevate Student Writing in All Genres

Good Grammar is the grammar, language, and style course we all need.  Matt Johnson delivers a thoughtful and joyful exploration of language education, emphasizing empowerment and inclusivity. Through step-by-step lessons that invite play and experimentation, students are encouraged to embrace their unique voices while gaining a deeper understanding and value of grammar.

Kayla Briseño
Middles school ELA teacher and co-author of Text Structures from Picture Books: Lessons to Ease Students Into Text Analysis, Reading Response, and Writing With Craft

Matt Johnson's ideas came to me at the perfect time. I was looking for ways to reinvigorate my writing unit just before our state exams, and I found his approach refreshing because he makes grammar instruction about opportunity rather than error. Good Grammar’s lessons are arranged in perfect sequential order, making them easy to implement and easy for my students to grasp.

Brian Sztabnik
High school English teacher, New York State Teacher of the Year Finalist

Not since Constance Weaver has there been such a thoughtful and comprehensive conversation about grammar.  Reading Matt Johnson’s book is like watching over the shoulder of a master teacher at work, demonstrating so many ways grammar knowledge improves a writer’s craft.

Gretchen Bernabei
Author of Grammar Keepers: Lessons That Tackle Students' Most Persistent Problems Once and for All

For instructors

Please select a format:

Select a Purchasing Option

ISBN: 9781071904176