Word Crimes

Weird Al Yankovic’s “Word Crimes” is my favorite YouTube video this week. He has been reading my mind. As a former English teacher turned writer, I can attest that everything he sings about in this much improved version of “Blurred Lines” is a pet peeve of mine. One disclaimer: It is NEVER okay to leave out the Oxford comma. Yes, I will make drama about that.

I’m a music enrichment specialist, and my elementary school children are working on a play called Grammar Rocks. I’m teaching them the music, and the drama/creative movement teacher is handling everything else. The songs are fun, but they teach the children about punctuation, contractions, adverbs, verbs, and troublesome words. Each song uses a different musical genre. The “Troublesome Words Blues” is my favorite. GrammarRocks

I teach at a charter school which emphasizes the multiple intelligences and encourages creativity. The children learn to think “outside the box.” Geeks and nerds are valued, not labeled. These students are capable of learning the songs and applying the content to their writing skills.

The English teacher in me loves explaining what the songs mean as we learn the words and music. The children loved it when I pointed out that correct comma usage was the difference between “I ate, Grandma,” and “I ate Grandma.”

I may have a budding, best-selling author or two in the group. The third graders actually published a book last year. How wonderful is that?


4 thoughts on “Word Crimes

    1. Robin Helm Post author

      I’ve seen many sentences lose their entire meaning because of the omission of the Oxford comma. When I have to read a sentence twice, something’s wrong with it.


  1. Robin Helm Post author

    It’s going to be great. I may not be able to post it because we’re supposed to avoid putting their faces on social media. Maybe one of my parents will post it, and I can share.



Why yes, we DO want a piece of your mind. ;-)

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