Once I talked on the Language Lady Facebook page about how many times I had said “A paragraph is a unit of thought” in three days of teaching. (Too many to count!) And promised a post about designing paragraphs, paragraph breaks, and general paragraph help. Here you go!
Dividing paragraphs is one of the most challenging aspects of writing for young writers and adults alike (along with many other challenging aspects!). That is why when people who do not write a lot write a full page with no paragraph breaks. That is also why middle school writers start writing and have no idea when to indent–so they randomly pick a spot (“Hmmm….looks like I’ve written enough to change paragraphs now…”) and indent.
Heading towards retirement and with a job change in his immediate future, Ray is leaning towards fulfilling a long-time request of us by homeschooling families: Starting a “school” in our home (as an extension of your homeschool) that takes 3.5 hours a day to do all academic teaching and instruction.
Please read on if you….
Did you know that there is a group of pronouns called reflexive pronouns? I know, right? Not mentioned that often. I hardly remember studying them in school at all. And yet, we use them all the time—and even eloquent people use them wrong quite often. (How many interviews or speeches have you heard someone say, “Then my friend and myself….” or “He began talking to my friend and myself…” WRONG!
Thirty years ago, Ray’s mentor said, “Sit down with Donna every week and ask her, ‘What change do you think we need to make? What do you need for me to do?'”
He continued, “After you do this for a long time, it will give Donna peace, and she will feel secure that you really care about your family and how to improve it.
He said, “Then one day, you will ask her ‘What do you need for me to do for you?’ and she will say ‘Nothing at all. What can I do for you?'”
So now that you are convinced that “delighting in the dailies” will help you accomplish your goals, how do you get them started (and keep them going) during the initial stages—when there isn’t a lot of fruit to show for your efforts, and you are convinced some day that you should just forget making dinner and go play solitaire or buy some sort of farm equipment (on the computer…lol)?
Here are some tips for learning to truly “delight in the dailies” and make those dailies a long-term reality in your home:
Conjunctive Adverbs (CA’s) are one of the most confusing parts of speech to teach because they are not used that often. However, we need to teach students what they are and how to write with them because they carry so much meaning! They are amazing for transitions–and they show so many relationships between words and between parts of a sentence. (Check out the Tricky Trick student download in this post for the four places to use Conjunctive Adverbs in a Sentence!) They also have several punctuation options (depending on whether the CA is in between two sentences, at the beginning of a sentence, at the end of a sentence, or splitting on complete sentence).