There are hard ways to learn things. And there are easy ways to learn things. Teaching is in my blood. Love for students runs deep within me.
Those two things combined make me want to ALWAYS teach students the easy way to learn things.
Life is hard already. Let’s make grammar as easy as we possibly can. And for sure, let’s teach things that students actually need and use in real writing.
“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!)
And those little ditties are really needed when it comes to commas! Commas are a mystery to many people–and rightly so! They are extremely subjective at times across the board. And then, different handbooks and authorities stress different rules for them, making them even more elusive.
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/
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.
Flintstone Vitamins’ cuteness, novelty, and nostalgia aside….
(Go ahead, try not to sing along with…..
“Flintstones. Meet the Flintstones.
They’re the modern stone age family.
From the town of Bedrock,
They’re a page right out of history.
When you’re with the Flintstones
Have a yabba dabba doo time.
A dabba doo time.
We’ll have a gay old time.”)
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.
It’s winter! That means snuggling under a fleece, matching sweatsuits on, and reading all day. (Okay, you don’t have to do the matching sweatsuits…but trust me, your kids will remember that when they are adults….um…..I’ve been told!)
I have a lot of material at the blog about reading aloud to your kids—unit studies, morning read aloud, Bible time, story time, family read aloud, and more. We did them all…nearly every day for twenty-five years….and I wouldn’t trade those hours for anything!
But there are logistics…especially if you are trying to do this with a large family…multiple ages and interests, etc.
Welcome to another product launch! We will be launching eight to ten new Book-Movie-Book writing books in the coming weeks, and I am super excited about them! They are darling (no pun intended….they are about the Darling family!); easy to use; and fun for students! We had such a great time testing these books last year—as evidenced by the amazing samples that are included in the books by our wonderful students!