“Who is that man?”
My students were asking about the framed photo of Mr. Aymar that has been sitting on my desk at work for the past month. Ever curious, they’ve asked me about him several times since I first displayed the picture.
It’s hard for me to explain him to them because “He was my middle school English teacher” and “He was my favorite teacher” both sound far too casual and don’t fully express the impact Mr. Aymar had on my life. So every time they ask now, I just respond with “remember when we learned about…?” and wait until they nod with recognition.
Mr. Aymar’s lessons focused primarily on teaching proper grammar in a fun and engaging way. At my school, we teach grammar through context and don’t have a class dedicated to grammar alone. So I teach the most important skills as short mini-lessons, most of which are inspired by the strategies Mr. Aymar used when teaching us the same concepts many years ago.
A couple weeks ago, I taught my sixth graders about the role of a direct object, the noun that receives the action in a sentence. In the sentence “I ate a banana,” the word “banana” is the direct object because it is receiving the action of the word “ate.” The tricky part that some students struggle with, though, is the fact that some action verbs don’t need an object.
That’s when I introduced the idea of NASHDO. The acronym, coined by Mr. Aymar himself, stands for “not all sentences have direct objects.” Some sentences include action verbs that are intransitive and therefore don’t act upon an object. For example, the verbs in the sentences “I slept” and “I danced” don’t need an object to receive the actions.
The students looked at me blankly for a few moments after I explained this, and I thought that maybe the idea of NASHDO wasn’t going to stick with them. But then the next morning while I was passing out homeroom breakfast, one student refused it and said, “Oh, I already ate.”
“Really? What did you eat?” I asked him, wondering about his vague answer.
“Don’t worry, Ms. P,” he said with a sly grin on his face. “NASHDO. That sentence doesn’t need a direct object.”
|Michael Aymar Foundation||