Merry Christmas from Language Lady and Character Ink Press! It is the time of good cheer, festivities, magical moments with children, celebrating the Nativity–AND grammar errors galore! Usage errors are to be expected since many of the things we are writing this time of year are things we only write once a year. It’s hard to remember grammar and usage protocols that we use daily, much less ones that we only use yearly. I hope this post will clear many of your Christmas grammar issues up!
1. Use three key words to introduce sentence types. Sometimes just shortening longer words to their base can make them easier for students to grasp. I like to use the punctuation marks as part of the key word teaching in phrases like these:
a) Declarative–You DECLARE something. Just stating something.
b) Interrogative—Are you a suspect in an INTERROGATION room getting questioned?
c) Exclamatory—You EXCLAIM something in loud words with an exclamation point!
Most second graders learn about three types of sentences—the declarative, interrogative, and exclamatory. Children do not have a lot of trouble with the three types of sentences—it is relatively easy to discover the difference between a statement (or declarative sentence) and a question (or interrogative sentence), etc.
Again, the problem most writers (of all ages) have is not determining what the ending punctuation should be for a sentence or determining if a sentence should begin with a capital letter or not. The real difficulty lies in determining whether a group of words is a sentence or not a sentence. We will examine that more closely as the next month progresses.
Sentence openers. Non-essential information. Dress up openers. Introductory material. Or my personal definition: “A word or group of words that is put at the beginning of a REAL (complete sentence) to add more detail, different sentence rhythm, interest, and variety.”
Regardless of what you call them, they can be tricky to teach for sure. And the biggest obstacle I have seen to teaching them is the simple problem of students not knowing whether a sentence is a real sentence to begin with. Students will never get a good handle on sentence openers (also called introductory material or non-essential information at the beginning of a sentence) UNTIL they have a handle on what a sentence contains.
1. They use my Directed Writing Approach!
In my Directed Writing Approach, every detail of every project is laid out for your student. None of my writing projects are “writing ideas” or “writing prompts.” Every writing assignment contains step-by-step instructions with much hand-holding along the way. The student is “directed” in how to write and what to write at all times—from brainstorming to research to outlining to rough draft and finally to revising.
Welcome, English Teachers!
I won’t tell you how many weeks it is til school starts for our “Half-Day Homeschool” or our “Cottage Classes, but we all know how fast summer goes by! I hope you are enjoying your summer break–and getting some good school planning in here and there. To help with the latter, I would like to gift you my Think Fast Grammar Quiz book with detailed answer keys!