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Another favorite Thanksgiving book! While we listen to and read audios about the first Thanksgiving (an Odyssey one is playing right now as I write this!), I am one who loves whimsical, funny, clever stories, including Thanksgiving ones. That is why I love the book described below. It is incredibly creative and clever—and catches kids (and adults) off guard when Mrs. Moose simply wants to invite Turkey to lunch—not eat him for lunch!
I know Thanksgiving is a full month away, but in order to get all of my holiday book reviews in before Christmas, I thought I should get started. (Plus, I like to have my students start writing their holiday stories and essays early!) And…I want to help you help your students do some holiday writing as well. (Hint: Free downloads and ideas below!)
One of my favorite Thanksgiving picture books is a simple little paperback book called Liberty B. Mouse Goes to a Party. It is one of a few about Liberty B. Mouse. Young children love this re-telling of the first Thanksgiving—since it’s through the eyes of a mischievous mouse!
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…)
The Checklist Challenge (CC), a challenging checklist of editing tasks, is included in ninety percent of the assignments in all one hundred of my books. It is taught extensively in the first couple lessons in each first semester Meaningful Composition book for grades 4 through 9 (and books 2 and 3 have lessons scattered throughout them). There are even downloads teaching nothing but how to complete this amazing editing tool (I really love the CC!).
“Conjunction Junction—what’s your function?”
Did you start to sing along? Can you picture the images?
How old are you????? Lol
Most kids today are not raised on “School House Rock,” which is such a shame! Because you really can’t forget the songs, jingles, rhymes—and dare I say—rules learned from those little ditties. (You can still find them on YouTube!)
By Zac Kieser and Donna Reish
Two of my least favorite things to teach: direct/indirect objects (and predicate nominatives) AND degrees of comparison. (Okay, maybe that is like my four least favorite things to teach!) The first ones (direct/indirect/pn) are just soooo complicated (and they can’t just be skipped or I end up with students who write She gave Sara, Joe, and he a letter….agghh…..). And the latter—degrees of comparison—soooo subjective and vague! Poor students!
Whenever I start out with new students in a class (Character Quality Language Arts or Meaningful Composition), I always spend the a little time each week for the first few class sessions learning how to complete my Checklist Challenge (CC). Over ninety percent of the papers in all of my books utilize this editing tool, so I spend a great deal of time teaching it and helping students learn how to complete the CC tasks. It is worth it to really dig in and teach students the fundamentals of the CC—including strong verbs and describers, sentence structure and rhythm, word choice, and much more.
I thought you might enjoy another peek into my Live Online Writing class to see what week three of the CC instruction looks like—and I don’t like for people to watch the video without the document in front of them, so you can print that below also!