I have had a wonderful time this semester teaching my first official Live Online Class! We just wrapped up our first Research Report–and I thought I would share parts of those two class sessions with my readers. I hope it gives you some insights into how to teach the difficult task of research report writing! I am including the whole two-week lesson for free in a download AND two partial video classes (one live and one recorded since it is a holiday week). Work through this project with your upper level junior high students or high schoolers. I’ll think you’ll be amazed how simple report writing can be with my Overview Source Method and Color-Coded Research Method! And you will love their final product for sure!
By Zac Kieser & Donna Reish
Compound possessives! They are incredibly tricky! Zac does a great job teaching them in this week’s Punctuation Puzzle, but I am going to give you three “Tricky Tricks to Help It Stick” right up front about possessives (a little cheat sheet before the test!):
1) When two nouns possess the same thing, only the noun closest to the “possessed” object needs to show possession.
2) When a noun and pronoun both possess something, use a possessive pronoun and show possession to the noun (both).
But the most important tricky trick of all is one that is taught incorrectly in many sources and handbooks.
The placement of an apostrophe to show possession is based on whether the word ends in S or not—not whether the word is plural!
We had an interesting conversation in my high school creative writing class this week. One of the students started a sentence with and, and, of course, the more grammarly types thought that he should not.
Being the kind of teacher who does not like to let any potential lesson pass, I delved in. That is what I would like to “teach” here today–but first let’s go back to those earlier lessons on compound sentences and comma use–and, of course, what a coordinating conjunction is to begin with.
I was fortunate to teach my senior high school class of young high school boys how to write an Expository Essay. Since a couple of the boys were sick, I did a Facebook live so that those students could watch it at home and go through their book as I taught. So… I thought I would share it on here and give you some essay teaching tips for young high school students.
By Zac Kieser and Donna Reish
Oh, proper nouns and quotations. Where do I start to explain the myriad of difficulties that students (and adults!) have with these. Am I starting to sound more like Lamenting Lady than Language Lady in the openings to these Punctuation Puzzles? If so, I am sorry! When you have taught fifty to one hundred students (in second through twelfth grades) English/language arts every semester for nearly twenty years (and you write books and products for them literally every year for nearly two decades as well), you just start to really feel sorry for these precious people who have to navigate the grammar waters with all of its exceptions and varying rules. (Sympathetic, she is!?)
The semicolon gets a bad rap. Either people despise it—saying that it is not needed in writing at all. (George Orwell was once quoted as saying “I had decided about this time that the semicolon is an unnecessary stop and that I would write my next book without one.”) OR….possibly even worse, people use it incorrectly over and over and over and over and over (you get the idea!). The worst misuse (in my humble opinion) is when people use it as a comma—joining two parts of a sentence, rather than two complete sentence. Just random semicolon insertion here and there—whenever they believe that one of the sentence parts is too lengthy to use a comma there. (Sigh…)