Category Archives: Language Lady

Dividing Paragraphs

I remember writing reports in middle school. I remember enjoying the writing process—but I also remember turning in papers that were two pages long—but all one paragraph. Anybody else out there remember that?

Dividing Paragraphs

I also remember the teacher giving my paper back to me and telling me to divide it into paragraphs. What I don’t remember is any lessons on paragraphs. I think those would have come in handy! 🙂

When new students come to my writing classes, the first “writing” problem they encounter is that of paragraph breaks. And I would expect no less. Paragraph breaking is difficult. We tell them that when they change topics, they should change paragraphs—but the entire paper is about the same topic! We tell them that each paragraph should be a unit of thought—but the whole paper feels like a unit of thought to them!

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Having Fun Teaching Rhyme Scheme

Teaching poetry can be a challenge. It is easy to get caught up in the mechanics of poetry when teaching about rhyme scheme. It is easy to get lost in imagery when teaching about meaning and depth of poetry.

Poetry Rap

Having Fun Teaching Rhyme Scheme

Sometimes you just need a little fun when you’re teaching rhyme scheme—like in the Facebook Live videos that my students made of me teaching the about the importance of syllabication in rhyme scheme development—using funny rhymes and even a little rapping.

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Don’t Scratch Your Itch!

Don't Scratch Your Itch!

Okay, Reish boys–and anybody else in my virtual world who has non-virtual poison ivy right now!

1. Itch

a. A noun that indicates a place on the body that is irritated, such as a spot of poison ivy that is bothersome

b. A verb that happens to a part of the body: my poison ivy itches (meaning it feels like it needs scratched)

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A Writing Tip for Sixth Grade

A Writing Tip for Every Year: Sixth Grade

Sixth Grade: Use good writing models for your student to write from.


Using good writing models for students is an outstanding teaching tool—as long as you do not use given source writing only. Students need to use a model to write from, then write that same type of writing themselves. This week’s tip focuses on how I do that with my students….


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“When The Chimps Ate Mike” {Language Lady: Sub Clause Openers}

When the Chimps Ate Mike - Subclause Openers


I had one of those real “Let’s eat, Grandma” vs “Let’s eat Grandma” instances in writing class this week–and it was so much fun!

The student’s sentence read something like this “When the chimps ate Mike began banging the cans together.”

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This Week’s Character Ink! Newsletter {July 16, 2015}


Character Ink Newsletter no. 19


Have you subscribed to our weekly newsletters yet?!  Here’s a peek at what you’ve missed! You can get weekly newsletters delivered to your inbox by signing up here 🙂

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CAVES: Parts of a Sentence

It has been said that when a banker or a counterfeit money “agent” learns about counterfeit money, he or she begins by learning what the real thing looks like.


I use this same approach to teach about sentences, clauses, and phrases in my language arts and writing books (Character Quality Language Arts and Meaningful Composition): teach the students what a real sentence looks like—and then teach what are not real sentences.

I teach what a sentence contains using a simple acronym: CAVES



CAVES - How to Spot a Sentence



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