A repost from when I was in India last year:
If a class is being gnarly, put them immediately on a worksheet program. I did so recently because a lot of my diplomat kids are going back to countries next year where it is all grammar. Their parents, knowing this, have expressed “concern” that their kids are not being properly prepared for high school. Fine. I’m happy to oblige.
Once they have been on the grammar program for a few days, spring a free write on them. Make sure that on this day, after the grammar classes, you show them how to set up their bar graphs if that hasn’t been done already. I have them tape those large note cards into the back inside cover of their composition books and on it write the date and the number of words (exactly 10′) inside the bar.
After they have counted the words and entered the information, casually ask them what they think would happen if they did worksheets the rest of the year: “Class, when we have parent conferences in the spring, do you think your bar graphs will show improvement in your ability to write if we keep doing the grammar? Would your bar graphs go up in geometric fashion?”
Since they have just done two days of grammar or more, it dawns on any thinking child that it is the stories that allow them to write new stories in the form of free writes. Then they ask if they can get back to stories again, since the glow of “something new” in the form of grammar has waned anyway.
I say no. More grammar. I don’t give away gold.
Important related post: