English 4510/5510 Modern English Grammar and Usage

Fall 2003
Eng 4510/551
MWF 11:20-12:10                                                    


Instructor:      Dr. Maria A. Clayton
                        PH 329 (MTSU Box 70), mail slot on door
                        898-2585 (office); 849-8369 (home; no calls after 10:00 p.m., please)

You may leave a message on my voice mail or answering machine, but you must try to catch me at another time to insure I receive the information. E-mail address: mclayton@frank.mtsu.edu; as rule, I do not respond to student email over the weekend. 

I invite you to access the About the Instructor segment at http://www.mtsu.edu/~mclayton

Office Hours:   MWF 9:00-11:00 a.m.; MW 12:30-3:30 p.m.; other times by appointment Be sure to let me know you need to see me so your trip is not wasted.

Please Note: Students with disabilities that may require assistance or who have questions related to any accommodations for testing, note takers, readers, etc., must inform the instructor and provide certification from the Office of Disabled Student Services (898-2783), so arrangements can be made as soon as possible to accommodate their difficulties.

Required Texts and Materials:

ü       Haussamen, Brock. Revising the Rules: Traditional Grammar and Modern Linguistics. 2nd rev. ed. Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt Pub. Co. 2000.

ü       Weaver, Constance. Teaching Grammar in Context. Portsmouth: Boynton/Cook Pub., 1996.

ü       Glenn, Cheryl, et al., eds. Hodge's Harbrace Handbook. 15th ed. Boston: Thomson/Heinle, 2004. 

ü       Filing accordion or comparable filing system

ü       Two 3-1/2” formatted disks—to turn in to instructor and use for student’s copy of annotated bibliography

ü       Email account and Internet access—we will use our D2L website's email for our course communication; this will allow you access to your instructor and classmates as well as keep your academic and personal email separate. Internet access is required for utilizing our course website through D2L. We will have a D2L orientation class day set up in our schedule. You will want to make a habit of checking the course's announcements on a regular basis, three to four times a week, particularly when you are absent or when your group is in the process of conducting a discussion.

Recommended Text:

Hunter, Susan, and Ray Wallace, eds. The Place of Grammar in Writing Instruction: Past, Present, Future. Portsmouth: Boynton/Cook Pub., 1995.


Students should have all necessary materials for each class period.


Course Description and Objectives:

The course focuses on traditional English grammar and the principles upon which grammatical analysis is based. It is designed for and required of all English majors seeking teacher licensure, whether elementary or secondary. It is aimed at developing students’ understanding of how the language system of grammar works and to increase their awareness of the conventions of American English usage so that they can provide formal English grammar instruction confidently and effectively. Students will immerse themselves in grammatical theory and its historical origins as well as compile the basis for a grammar and mechanics “pool of resources’ to use in the classroom.

Course Requirements:

The course consists of  a reading, writing, and oral presentation components. The graded activities are varied: 

Mini-lesson Presentation

During our first week of class, we will compile a list of grammar and mechanics topics to be covered in the Mini-lessons (approximately 13), and each of you will  pair up with a partner and sign up for one of your choice (first come first choice). You will collaborate and be responsible for developing a lesson plan, an instructional handout, an exercise sheet and/or quiz, and then, you will present the lesson on your topic to the class (20-25 minutes). Practice your presentation to insure its effectiveness and clarity. You will also want to insure it meets the time limit. The rest of the class will participate in the Mini-lesson and offer feedback at the end. You  will provide copies of all materials for the instructor and for classmates to be included in their Mini-lesson File. You will be graded on the correctness, clarity, and effectiveness of the materials and the oral presentation (50% each). You will want to share a rough draft of your Mini-lesson with me no later than the class date before you are scheduled to present (a sample is provided in the Assignment area of the website).

Annotated Bibliography

In order to familiarize yourself with grammatical theory and its historical origins, you are asked to read scholarship in the field and annotate five items—one of them will be developed into your formal essay; Eng 5510 students are asked to read and annotate ten items. Annotations are to be 150-250 words and written from the third person perspective; they should clearly identify the topic discussed and the grade-level targeted, state the piece’s thesis clearly, offer a succinct summary, and some comment on its usefulness for an audience of prospective teachers (samples will be provided).  Use scholarly articles written in the past ten years. To avoid duplications (not very useful for our purposes), you will enter your selections as soon as possible on the website; specific instructions will be made available & introduced during the course's D2L orientation. You will save your annotations on Word on a formatted disc from which they will be compiled into a master disc to be copied and distributed to all class members at the end of the semester. Refer to the detailed handout for more detailed information and to the schedule in this syllabus for the due dates for drafts and final copy (two samples are provided in the Assignments area of the website).

Formal Essay and Presentation

You will write a 1000-1200 Summary and Response essay on one of the five scholarly pieces you select to annotate for the bibliography and present your findings to your classmates in an oral presentation (10 minute time limit). You will adhere to MLA format and provide copies for your classmates. You will want to organize your material so that your classmates can take notes on the paper's content for discussion and examination purposes. Practice your presentation to insure its effectiveness and clarity. You will also want to insure it meets the time limit.  It is always a good idea to get feedback on a rough draft before final submission (a sample is provided in the Assignments area of the website).


You will participate in Mid-term and Final examinations which are comprised of practical exercises and take-home essay questions over material from your reading and class presentations. Tentative topics for the take-home essays are available on the website from day one to help you guide your reading; topics will be "finalized" at least two weeks before the exam. Check announcements/emails.


You will receive homework credit for a variety of class related issues, for example, having your Mini-lesson file up to date on the days assigned in the schedule, turning in rough drafts of annotations at the assigned intervals. Additionally, you will be grouped with 3-4 of your classmates in small groups that will be responsible for leading our class discussions on assigned chapters from our course readings. Small group discussion areas will be set up in the website to facilitate your dialogue & preparation; members must contribute key points from their portion to the Small Group DB for compilation into a handout for the class. We also have three days set aside for a comparison of grammar handbooks, and in preparation for your group’s presentation of your findings, you will also dialogue via the discussion board in addition to face-to-face time with each other during class time—introduced during the D2L orientation. All homework assignments are intended to establish a community of prospective educators, and you earn points for credible participation.


I maintain an open door policy so students can come to discuss their progress in the course or issues brought up in class. Let me know if you plan to come so I can be sure to be in the office.

Course Policies

Attendance--Class attendance is extremely important to you and your classmates' success in English 4510/5510 because unlike the lecture course where your class absence affects no one but yourself, English 4510/5510 is structured around your participation in class.  Your presentations—Mini-lessons and Formal Papers—are  our subject matter. Since there is no way to make up participating in a classmate’s presentation, class attendance is a must.

Therefore, you are expected to attend all classes.  I will take roll daily, and if you (1) miss more than three of the required classes or (2) do not present on your assigned days without giving advance notice for schedule adjustment, you will fail the course.  Only university sponsored functions (for instance, trips relating to sports, chorus events, livestock judging) are excused.  In such cases you are responsible for notifying me of the absence well in advance, and you are responsible for getting your work in early--before you have to be absent.  Absences due to illness, death in the family, and the like must be covered by the three allowable absences.  Exceptions will be made to this policy only under extraordinary circumstances, and then, only when students notify me immediately and arrange to satisfy requirements. It is your responsibility  to keep up with all assigned work, either reading or writing.  Being prepared for class is expected, even after any absence.  For backup, look around the room, select two or three reliable looking classmates and exchange phone numbers to use as  support in keeping informed; you can also stay in touch with your classmates via email.

Tardiness--Two late arrivals or early departures will equal an absence.  If you arrive after I call roll, it is your responsibility to alert me to your attendance. 

Late Work--It is vital that you submit your work on time, particularly since your work is the subject matter for the date assigned. Refer to our course schedule. All late writing assignments must be completed within one week of due date and will suffer late penalties—one letter grade per day late. Work not completed within one week results in course failure.


To be eligible to pass the course, you must (1) prepare your lesson for the assigned date and present with handouts for all class members, (2) prepare your formal paper and present on the assigned date with copies for all class members, (3) compile your five item (ten item for 5510 students) annotated bibliography and submit in hard copy (preliminary draft check and final draft) and on a formatted disc by the due date for compilation with other class members’, (4) compile your Mini-lessons File, (5) participate in the Midterm and Final exams, (6) meet attendance requirements. Then your course grade is based on the 10 point scale (A=90-100, B=80-89, etc.) and will be determined as follows:

Mini-lessons on assigned topics






Five item annotated bibliography—ten items for Eng 5510


Formal Essay—Summary & Response


 Oral presentation



Mid-term and Final Exams


Homework—class participation, feedback on presentations, lesson file


I do not use the + or – system on the final course grades.

Plagiarism--You know that using another's work as your own is wrong.  The most flagrant instances of plagiarism are submitting an essay that is copied from another's writing or having someone dictate what is written (such as having a typist rewrite a paper, substituting his/her language for the student's).  You should be careful to insure your reader can distinguish between your ideas and those of your source by using clear attributions and citations. If you have questions about how to do this properly, ask for assistance from the instructor.

University Writing Center

The University offers tutoring through the University Writing Center to all students.  If I find that you have writing problems that can be best addressed in tutoring sessions, I will recommend that you take advantage of this service. Students must sign up for tutoring in Peck Hall 326 and present a sample of their writing at the first tutoring session.  Students may get tutoring on their own, without recommendations from teachers.  However, you must sign up for the service.  Tutors do not take walk-in clients; neither do they provide proofreading services.


Keep this syllabus and refer to it often during the semester!!! In essence, this a contract between us which establishes the guidelines for your successful completion of the course.