Short Story Character With Limited Senses – Video & Free Download!

 

In my experience, students either love story writing or hate it. They either have ideas floating around in their heads, waiting for the next story writing unit–or they feel that they have no ideas and hope for a stomach bug that week! This is one reason I use the Directed Writing Approach in my books–so that each step of each type of paper is laid out incrementally.

 

One common problem that students have when story writing is telling “first this happened; then this happened; after this, that happened; later on, this happened” by students. What could be an exciting, action-packed story becomes a narrative/retelling–or worse yet, an essay. Have you ever wondered how to help students from the start with this rambling problem?

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BIG Research Paper Introduction (Video and Download!)

 

I have the privilege of doing something this semester that I only get to do every once in a while–teach a private or small group of students who have taken many classes with us before how to write a BIG research paper. Most students who start out with us in elementary school of taking CQLA (Character Quality Language Arts) classes follow a protocol similar to this:

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3 Verb Types & Tricks to Teach Them! (Song Included!)

 

One of the first things that we teach students who are learning to write sentences is that every sentence must have two things: a subject and a verb. (Technically, I teach that a sentence must have FIVE things—CAVES: Capital, All Makes Sense, Verb, End Mark, Subject.) Verbs are important! Action verbs are the forward motion of sentences. They persuade in persuasive writing; inform in research-based writing; and entertain in story writing. They do all of this in spite of one man, Michel Thaler, writing a 233-page French novel in 2004 that did not contain a single verb. (And I would say it also did not contain a single sentence! 😉 ).

 

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Slideshow: 5 Tips for Being, Helping, and Linking Verbs From Language Lady

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Slideshow: 5 Tips for Being, Helping, and Linking Verbs From Language Lady

#1

 

Being, Helping, and Linking Verbs Can Be Learned All Together Because They Act Like Each Other. 

Many grammar handbooks say that there are 8 true being verbs (is, are, am was, were, etc). Then the same handbook will say that there are 23 helping verbs ( the being verbs are on that list as well). Finally, it will say that linking verbs are the “sense” verbs plus the being verbs. That is a lot of confusion for students and teachers alike. 

I like to teach parts of speech from the perspective of usage. That is, I like to teach them according to how a student will use them in writing. In that way, I group being, helping, and linking verbs together for students to learn. They all do the same things (link or help). The ones that are “helpers” are not going to be confused with the ones that are linking only. (A student will not try to use REMAIN in place of WAS in the verb phrase WAS GOING!) Being and linking verbs all ACT the same: (1) They link the subject with the predicate; (2) They do not have adverbs with them; (3) They can have adjectives with them; (4) They can have predicate adjectives or predicate nominatives with them when they are the sole verb (I feel happy. I am a teacher.)  Since they all act alike, they can be learned together. (I call these Be, a Helper, Link! {BHL} verbs!)

#2

 

BHL Verbs Can Be Used as Helping Verbs to Tell WHEN Something Happened.

When a BHL verb comes before another verb (another BHL verb or an action verb), it is acting as a HELPING verb–helping the base verb by telling when something happened. This is one of the major uses for BHL verbs and one of the reasons it is important to learn how to use them with other base verbs (the verbs that follow the helper). 

When a base verb follows has, had, or have (and oftentimes was and were), it should be in its past participle tense. This is a very tricky concept that should be taught slowly and incrementally. 

a. has written
b. had gone
c. have done
d. had lain
e. has risen
f. have come

#3

 

BHL Verbs That Are Used Alone In Your Writing Can Be Located Easily and Changed to Strong Verbs So That Your Writing Is Not Passive.

In my writing books, we have a task in which students circle all of their verbs in their writing then change at least one per paragraph to a stronger verb. (This is in my Checklist Challenge.) This is an amazing exercise in itself as it teaches students to be aware of their verb choices. 

In my story writing books, I take this one step further and have students find their solo BHL verbs and remove them, making the sentence an action-driven sentence rather than a passive sentence. For example, in the sentence “The water was on the wall,” they take out was and change the sentence to “The water trickled down the rough cave wall.” Simply understanding and finding solo BHL verbs can have a huge impact on story writing. 

#4

 

Sometimes BHL Verbs Can Be Used as Action Verbs.

There are exceptions in all of English! (Poor students!) Not all LY words are adverbs (lovely); not all double negatives are wrong (in compound sentences); and BHL verbs are sometimes action verbs! There are two rules of thumb to tell when this is happening: (1)  BHL verbs usually have adjectives following them (if they have describers): He is TALL. When you really need an adverb, not an adjective, you’ll know that your BHL verb is really acting like an action verb.

The second rule of thumb is as follows: (2) When you do the task physically, the BHL verb might be an action verb: I DID the job well. (There’s that adverb again too!) I FEEL the snake on my foot in the water! (Feel it physically.) It is important to be able to tell when a BHL is being a BHL and when it is being an action verb because everything changes–the adverb vs. adjective; a direct object vs. a predicate nominative, etc. 

#5

 

Being, Helping, and Linking Verbs Can Be Learned All Together Easily and Quickly. 

Songs, jingles, rhymes, and mnemonics together comprise one of the three legs I use to teach grammar. (The other two are learning them in a way that tells the parts of speech’s use {Check Sentences} and applying them to writing through my Checklist Challenge.) I use my BHL Verb Song (Be a Helper, Link Verbs) to teach the 32 BHL Verbs. It is sung to the tune of “ABC” or “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

            ABCDEFG

            Be, a Helper, Link verbs,

            HIJKLMNOP

           Is, Are, Am, Was, & Were.

            QRSTUV

            Be, & Being, Been, Become,

            WXYZ

            Has, & Had, & Have are ones.

            Now I said my ABC’s

            Can, Could, Shall, Should—they are fun.

            Next time won’t you sing with me?
 

            Will, Would, Do, Did, Does, & Done.

            ABCDEFG

           May, Might, Must—they are some as well,

            HIJKLMNOP

            Appear, Look, Seem, Remain, Taste, Feel, & Smell.

Thanks for Joining Donna to Learn About Grammar and Writing!

Check Out Other “5 Tips From Language Lady” slideshows!

5 Places to Find Language Lady/Donna Reish Teaching Grammar and Writing

Learn More About Topics in This Slideshow

Be, a Helper, Link Verbs – Tricky Trick Download for Students!

 

I love mnemonics–tricks, songs, jingles, rhymes….anything that helps students learn! I love them even more when they have something to do with the purpose for learning that topic or the topic itself. Like in the case of prepositions–songs can help you learn about three dozen of the over 200 prepositions–but Check Sentences can help you learn 150 or more because Check Sentence have to do with the function of prepositions. (Learn more here)

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5 Tips for Using Its and It’s From Language Lady

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5 Tips for Using Its and It’s

#1

 

Its Is a Pronoun That Shows Possession.

Possessive pronouns are pronouns that show ownership of something: The dog lost its collar. (Pronouns are FOR-nouns…IT is used FOR (in place of) a noun….noun is dog; pronoun is it).

There are many pronouns that show possession. We call these possessive pronouns. Some of these include hers, his, ours, theirs, its.

#2

 

Pronouns Do Not Use Apostrophes to Show Possession.

Generally speaking, we do not show possession to pronouns with apostrophes. We do not write her’s or our’s–and we do not write it’s when we want to say its.

If we remember this first rule of thumb, it will help us in showing possession to pronouns. Nouns DO use apostrophes to show possession (dog—dog’s). Pronouns do NOT use apostrophes to show possession (it—its).

#3

 

When We Use an Apostrophe With a Pronoun, We Nearly Always Create a Contraction.

A contraction is two words squeezed together with a letter or letters squeezed completely out (and the apostrophe put in place of the “squeezed out” letters). She’s says she is or she was. He’s says he is or he was. It’s says it is or it was.

The best rule of thumb for not using its when you want it’s or it’s when you want its is to always say a contraction uncontracted (silently or aloud) when the confusing word comes up. When you write it’s, say IT IS and ask yourself if that is what you really want in that sentence. This rule of thumb works for ALL contractions all the time!

#4

 

It’s Is a Contraction That Means It Is.

Using the “say it uncontracted” rule of thumb, we will always know that it’s stands for it is. It is a pronoun. Is happens to be a being verb. We use it’s when we want to say it is.

When we are writing, we can say the contraction aloud to see if that is the word or words we want: The dog lost ITS collar. (Yes!) The dog lost IT IS collar (it’s–NO!).

#5

 

It’s Can Also Mean It Has in Informal Settings.

Some people use it’s for it has. This still consists of the pronoun it with the being verb has.

The same rule of thumb applies: Say contractions “uncontracted” as you write them to be sure you have the correct word.

Thanks for Joining Donna to Learn About Grammar and Writing!

Check Out Other “5 Tips From Language Lady” slideshows!

5 Places to Find Language Lady/Donna Reish Teaching Grammar and Writing

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