Are you ready for your quiz? Can you create compound sentences with the sentence pairs given below?
Use either of the following:
1. A semicolon (with a complete sentence on the left and a complete sentence on the right)
2. A comma-coordinating conjunction between two complete sentences (,for/,and/,nor/,but/,or/,yet/,so—FANBOYS)
My co-author and co-teacher (and amazing first born) just asked me a crucial grammar question: “How can any program not start out teaching how to find prepositional phrases and subordinate clauses?”
Of course, this led to a lengthy discussion about the two—how students can isolate these and then match up their subjects and verbs correctly; how they are crucial for sentence variety with sentence openers; and much more. (I love these discussions with my grown kids!!! 🙂 )
I touched on this in my previous blog post, “Why Teach Prepositions” that you can find here at the blog.
“Prepositions show position!”
That is where I start. The very basics. Catchy. Easy to recite. Simple to remember.
From there, we branch out to the explanation: Prepositions show position of one thing to something else.
Of course, prepositions show time, space, and direction (among other things) of one thing to another thing. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Writing ideas. Writing prompts. Writing suggestions.
These are the things that cause children who do not know *how* to write to hate writing.
And it is often what we do to kids in an effort to get the writing. But they do not work for these kinds of kids.
So what works?
My Meaningful Composition co-author (my oldest child Joshua) and I have been writing a novel for, um, four years now. Well, truth be told, he has been writing it for nearly twenty years as he started outlining it when he was eighteen years old. It is finished actually, but Joshua is a perfectionist (at teaching, instructional writing, lesson plan preparation, and novel writing), so it isn’t finished in his eyes. We recently got it back out, dusted it off, and dug in to find his perfect spot again (and add in more technology…do you know how much things change in our world in four years?).
I have written seventy-five books in the past fifteen years—averaging 800 pages a book. The first forty were completely new books, and the next thirty-five have been re-writes and new books taken out of the original forty (i.e. half of the MC lessons came out of Character Quality Language Arts, for instance). But it has been a long journey nonetheless.
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?
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!