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5 Tips for Teaching & Learning Nouns From Language Lady

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5 Tips for Teaching & Learning Nouns From Language Lady

#1

 

Nouns Are Not the “Simplest” Parts of Speech

Kids from second grade on can often tell you that a noun is a “person, place, thing, or idea.” We tend to think that nouns are “easy.”  However, that simply isn’t true. Nouns are one of the most difficult parts of speech to spot because nouns act like other parts of speech all the time.

Look at these “nouns” that are acting, either directly or with suffixes added, like other parts of speech:

Noun                                  Verb                                   Describer
Taking a walk…         I walk down the road.            Walking stick
Set the table.            Let’s table that for later.        Table tennis
She is a beauty.       Beautify our yard.                 Beauty pageant

#2

 

Nouns Are Often Preceded by Noun Markers (Articles)

Because of the difficulty in recognizing nouns, I focus my noun teaching on helping students recognize words that tell them that a noun is coming. One category of words that tells us that a noun is coming is the noun marker or article. (I like to call them noun markers because the name tells what they do—they mark nouns, or tell you that a noun is coming.) While a noun marker doesn’t necessarily mean that a noun is the next word up, it does mean that one is coming soon.

Thus, learning to recognize these three little words is super helpful. You can use my rhyme if you’d like. (Oh, and notice the order….when you have a and an together, and you have the word and between them, students think AND is a noun marker.)

              An, the, a….three little words…

            Tell you that a noun is about to be heard.

#3

 

A Preposition Tells You That a Noun Might Be Coming Soon

The next category of words that indicates that a noun might be coming soon is the preposition. The preposition is the first word of a phrase (group of words that is not a sentence) known as a prepositional phrase. A prepositional phrase begins with a preposition and ends with the object of the preposition. That is where nouns come in: The object of a preposition is usually a noun (to the STORE) or pronoun (to HIM).

Thus, a preposition tells us that a noun might be coming soon. Since my students (my personal ones and those using my books) learn prepositions early and often, it is a natural step to teach that when you see a preposition, a word or two or three over will either be a noun or pronoun: INTO the river; OVER the rickety, dangerous bridge.

#4

 

An Adjective Tells You That a Noun Might Be Coming

An adjective is a describer that tells you something about a noun or pronoun. It describes a noun when it comes before a noun (the KIND lady). It describes a pronoun when it is a predicate adjective—an adjective in the predicate part of the sentence (the second half of the sentence) that describes something in the first part of the sentence. Predicate adjectives can describe nouns (The boy is STUDIOUS—studious describes boy) and pronouns (He is STUDIOUS—studious describes he).

Some handbooks consider possessives, articles, and clarifying words to be adjectives. Regardless of whether you learned it this way or not, descriptive adjectives should be taught as signaling words for nouns. Students can learn quickly that when they see a descriptive adjective, a noun will usually be following. An adjective tells us that a noun is coming right away (pretty DAY) or that a noun is coming in a little bit (in the case of two or more adjectives in a row—the noun isn’t necessarily right after the first adjective): pretty, warm, sunny DAY).

#5

 

A Possessive Tells You That a Noun Might Be Coming

As mentioned previously, some protocols teach that a possessive noun (Donna’s) or possessive pronoun (her, its, our) is an adjective. Regardless of how you classify possessives, they tell you that a noun could be coming next (or soon, if there is a describer between the possessive and the noun. Thus, I teach my students that possessives OWN (or possess) something (often a noun). This could happen right away: It is HER bike. Or it could happen after a possessive and some describers: That is Donna’s pretty, smooth pen.

It might seem laborious to teach all of these types of “signals” for nouns. However, they are parts of speech that students learn in grammar and writing all of the time. So let’s teach all of the uses for them at that time and make finding nouns then matching nouns with their correct case of describers and even correct number of noun markers, etc., much easier. After testing my books with one hundred students a year for nearly twenty years, I am all about making concepts as easy as possible for our amazing students!

Thanks for Joining Donna to Learn About Grammar and Writing!

Check Out Other “5 Tips From Language Lady” slideshows!

5 Places to Find Language Lady/Donna Reish Teaching Grammar and Writing

Preposition Practice Pal for Learning Prepositions! (Tricky Trick Download for Young Students Included!)

 

We’ve been studying prepositions a lot here at Character Ink Blog! I’m excited to teach parents and teachers how to teach prepositions in a way that allows students to be able to come up with 100 prepositions fairly quickly!

 

Prepositions must be reviewed over and over. They should be taught in a way that teaches their FUNCTION (not just in rhyme or song). Then we must practice them over and over and over again IN REAL SENTENCES. Below are three simple steps I follow….but before you read the steps, here are some other preposition helps for you!

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Slideshow: 5 MORE Preposition Tips From Language Lady

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5 MORE Preposition Tips From Language Lady

#1

 

Use Two Preposition Check Sentences to Introduce Prepositional Phrases

I talked about these in last week’s slideshow for Teaching Beginning Prepositions, but they work wonderfully for teaching prepositional phrases as well as lists of prepositions. The first Preposition Check Sentence that I teach is one that is focused on spatial relationships: The plane flew XXXX the clouds (under the clouds, through the clouds, over the clouds, in the clouds, between the clouds, atop the clouds, etc.). The second one that I teach is focused on time: The boys played XXXX the break (during the break, after the break, , before the break, etc.). These Check Sentences are amazingly efficient for helping students memorize long lists of prepositions while focusing on the PURPOSE of prepositions (showing spatial or time relationships).

Besides being invaluable for memorizing prepositions, these Check Sentences also teach students indirectly what a prepositional phrase is. The Check Sentences themselves contain prepositional phrases, so as students memorize prepositions, they are actually using prepositional phrases (under the clouds, through the clouds, over the clouds, in the clouds, between the clouds, during the break, after the break, , before the break, etc.). It is a natural progression to show students that in the Check Sentences, the object that the plane is underoverthrough, etc., is the object of the prepositional phrase.

#2

 

Isolate Prepositional Phrases With Parentheses

After using these Preposition Check Sentences with students, they are able to start finding prepositional phrases easily. They can HEAR the object because the Check Sentences have taught them the purpose of prepositions (not just a list of them). I use a Teach-Practice-Apply method in my books and classes, so as we go through practice sentences finding prepositional phrases together, we start out by highlighting all of the prepositions that they can find. Then I tell them which words they should have highlighted as prepositions, and on each one, I ask them PREPOSITION WHAT? or PREPOSITION WHOM? So when I come to by, I ask them “by WHAT?” I do this with every preposition they have highlighted: “to WHOM?” “for WHAT?” “over WHAT?” “from WHOM?” “under WHAT?”

THEN, we are ready to learn to isolate prepositional phrases with parentheses. This is an important step in the next point–we place parentheses around all prepositional phrases with the beginning parenthesis before the preposition and the closing parenthesis after the object of the preposition: (For example,) (in a given sentence), we place parentheses (around words) (like this). We do this after they have highlighted all of the words that they think are prepositions. This might sound laborious, but it becomes second nature very quickly–and is crucial for the REASONS for learning prepositional phrases: (1) To ignore them so you can match subjects and verbs; (2) To use as sentence openers (and punctuate them properly).

#3

 

Teach the Reasons for Learning Prepositional Phrases

The first reason that I teach students for learning prepositional phrases is the easier one (and one that they are familiar with because of my Checklist Challenge for their reports, stories, and essays) is to use them as sentence openers. Sentence openers are also called introductory material or non-essential information. Prepositional phrases make great sentence openers, and students need to learn how to locate them easily and punctuate them correctly. Therefore, once they can spot prepositional phrases quickly, they can use them in their writing–and place commas in the correct spots.

The second reason that I teach students for learning prepositional phrases is more difficult–but super important. They isolate all of their prepositional phrases with parentheses at first and then mentally later because the sentence’s main subject (and usually ANY subject) and main verb (and usually ANY verb) are not found within a prepositional phrase. This is crucial for subject verb agreement. Consider the isolation and main subjects and main verbs in the sentences below and the difference it makes when you don’t have the option of considering the prepositional phrase’s object in subject verb agreement:

  1. Thegirls (along with the one boy) WERE happy today.
  2. Thebaby (with the other kids) WAS cranky.

#4

 Teach That the Word TO Can Be a Preposition or the Beginning of an Infinitive (Special Verb)

There are many prepositions that are also other parts of speech. One of those is the word TO. The word TO is a preposition when it has an object following it (to the storeto Mom, etc.). The word TO is not a preposition when it has a verb with it (TO run, TO jumpTO be). Obviously, all “exceptions” and “special circumstances”  in grammar and usage can be confusing, but this one is especially challenging because TO is a high utility word, and prepositional phrases need to be located so that students are not tripped up in the aforementioned subject-verb agreement scenarios. 

I teach that TO + a verb is a special verb very early (second grade during our beginning preposition practice). It’s okay if they don’t know if it is called an infinitive. Once they know their BHL verbs (Be, a Helper, Link verbs) and have their Preposition Practice Pal, they are ready to NOT highlight TO as a preposition when it has a verb following it. At first, this is low key: “To run….can you do that? Then it’s not a prep!” Lessons, of just finding infinitives (to+verb) for a while then lessons telling when TO is used as a prep and when it is used as a special verb called an infinitive quickly follow that. This might sound difficult for second and third graders, but interacting with sentences is something we do every day in my classes and books (and applying these to their writing is something they do every week in the Checklist Challenge), so it becomes a natural response for them and something that we have many discussions about. 

#5

 

Teach That Some Prepositions Are Also Adverbs and Some Are Also Subordinators

As previously mentioned, all usage exceptions are complicated to teach. However, the ones that students encounter early and often must be given special priority. Such is the case for prepositions that are used as other parts of speech different times. In addition to the to+verb=infinitive situation, some prepositions are also adverbs, and some are also subordinators.  I talk them through these: “Up is a preposition. But remember that in order for a preposition to be a preposition, it must have an object following it. So in the sentence He woke up, UP tells how he woke and is an adverb. However, in the sentence The squirrel ran up the tree, UP is a preposition and the PP is UP the tree.” Prepositions that are also used as adverbs are those that sometimes follow a verb but do not have objects of the preposition with them: He woke UP; She slid DOWN; He shouted OUT; They fell DOWN.

Prepositions are also sometimes subordinators. As a matter of fact, there are so many prepositions that are also subordinators that I teach an entire group of them as students learn preps and subs (in my books and in the Think Fast Grammar Quiz downloadable packet). A subordinator is a word that is found at the beginning of a subordinate clause. We teachers and parents often learned this group of words as a dependent clause. I use that word sometimes as well, but I try to teach with a content-based focus, so I call them subordinate clauses because they contain subordinators at the beginning of them, and they are subordinate to the rest of the sentence (i.e. lesser). Subordinators that are also prepositions usually have to do with time relationships, such as during, after, as, before, etc. These are used as prepositions when they have objects (during the break, after the break, before the break, etc.). They are used as subordinators when they have subjects and verbs following them (and create subordinate clauses): After we left class; Before she resigned; As he bought groceries.

Thanks for Joining Donna to Learn About Grammar and Writing!

Check Out Other “5 Tips From Language Lady” slideshows!

5 Places to Find Language Lady/Donna Reish Teaching Grammar and Writing

Punctuation Puzzle – Prepositional Phrases and Commas With Dumbo

By Donna Reish & Zac Kieser

 

Comma rules are super subjective. As a matter of fact, I tell my upper high schoolers that commas following sentence openers will generally not be the errors in SAT/ACT/PSAT testing sentences. These rules are that subjective! I hear and recognize all of the commas in Zac’s examples in this week’s Punctuation Puzzle. So even though these rules are subjective, we have to have some guidelines to follow, or students will not learn to put commas in anywhere!

 

I follow an important sequence in teaching prepositions to students (one that anyone can use whether you use my materials or not):

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Major Works and Minor Works – Tricky Tricks Download for Students!

 

So I did a Major Works and Minor Works Slideshow. I did a lesson in a video class about them. I gave parents and teachers a quiz! I’m going to end this subject with a Tricky Trick Download for students!

 

I’ve been putting together Tricky Trick Downloads for a few months now, and I love how they take complicated information and make that info succinct and understandable. Print them off and put them on your bulletin board–or in your student’s language arts binder. They will come in handy regardless of the curriculum you are using!

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Slideshow: 5 Beginning Preposition Tips

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5 Tips for Beginning Prepositions

#1

Start With Object Lessons

I start up my preposition teaching with young children by using objects to teach relationships. They learned that prepositions show position for recitation. Then I use an object such as a little Preposition Practice Pal. It’s a little toy,  like an army man, Polly pocket, or a character from a movie. They use this little character with a bathroom tissue  tube to show the position of the character to the tube.
A young student can learn up to one hundred prepositions with this method. For example as they manipulate their little character and a bathroom tissue tube, we say aloud,  “Birdie is UNDER the tube”; “Birdie is IN the tube”; “Birdie is AROUND the tube”; “Birdie is BETWEEN the tube”; “Birdie is AWAY from the tube”; “Birdie is THROUGH the tube.”

#2

 Use Rhymes and Mnemonics to Teach the Basics of Prepositions

I start all of my students out with the rhyme/recitation: “Prepositions Show Position.” One of the most important things that prepositions do is show a spatial relationship between one thing and another thing. We recite this rhyme weekly for several weeks and then do our practice with our objects.
Through the objects, as well as the rhyme, “Prepositions show position,” I am reinforcing the fact that a preposition has to have an object. I don’t even tell the students at this point that a preposition is the beginning of a prepositional phrase and that it has an object. They intuitively know that a preposition has an object that it is spatially related to. This makes it much easier later on to explain prepositional phrases. All of their positions with their toy and their tissue tube result in prepositional phrases naturally.

#3

Use Preposition Check Sentences to Teach the Spatial Relationship and the Time Relationship of Prepositions

Once students have learned the rhyme “Prepositions show position” and have practiced extensively with their objects to learn at least 20 to 50 prepositions, I move into the two Preposition Check Sentences that I use for all  levels from fifth grade and above. A Check Sentence continues to reinforce the spatial relationship: “The plane flew XXXX the clouds.” We have also used the sentence “The angel flew XXX the clouds” in our religious books. This first Check Sentence re-emphasizes what they have been doing with their little Preposition Practice Pals, except they start to do it in their heads rather than with physical objects. Most students can get up to 100 propositions memorized quickly with this check sentence alone.

The second check sentence that I use is one that shows the relationship of prepositions to time. While there is a small list of prepositions that have to do with time, there are enough to warrant their own check sentence. This Preposition Check Sentence  reads like this: “The boy played XXXX the break.” This check sentence accommodates the propositions that have to do with time: during, after, before, in the middle of, etc. 

#4

 

Don’t Rely on Songs or Rhymes Alone for Teaching Prepositions

Many students, myself included, have learned prepositions with songs or rhymes that have 30 or 40 prepositions in them. These lists are oftentimes  in alphabetical order, which helps with those many many propositions that begin with the letter A. However, since there are well over 200 preposition possibilities if you consider two or more words prepositions, compound prepositions, and prepositions that are used as other parts of speech at times, learning only thirty of them in a rhyme or song is not useful enough.
The other problem with learning them in only song or rhyme is that the song or rhyme has nothing to do with the usage of the propositions. While I use all types of songs, rhymes, mnemonic, jingles, and more to teach parts of speech, it is important that we use a mechanism that actually teaches students that use of that part of speech. Check sentence (for prepositions and for subordinators) teach students not only these lists of words, but they teach them these lists of words in the context of how they are used. In other words, they don’t just learn a list of prepositions, but they learn them in a spatial relationship sentence, which teaches them HOW they are used AND gives them a lengthy list of them in their repertoire. 

#5

 

Teach Students the Reason They Are Learning Prepositions As Early As Possible

As soon as students have an ample list of prepositions memorized, I teach them the reason that they are learning prepositions. The transition from learning a list of prepositions to finding prepositional phrases is a fairly easy one for students who have learned prepositions with a Preposition Practice Pal and Preposition Check Sentences. Just like in the Check Sentence when I asked the student “The plane flew in WHAT?” or “The plane flew around WHAT?” I do the same thing to teach prepositional phrases. First, students highlight prepositions in a paragraph, then we go through and put parentheses around prepositional phrases. We do this by my asking the question “Preposition WHOM?”  or “Preposition WHAT?” For example “By what?” (by the store) or “To who?” (to Joe). 

Once students can spot prepositional phrases easily, they learn that prepositional phrases are needed for two specific reasons. First, they are used as sentence openers. They learn that a prepositional phrase opener is often followed by a comma. They also learn prepositional phrases with in sentences are not followed by commas. Secondly, they learn to isolate prepositional phrases all throughout their sentences so that they can ignore the words in a prepositional phrases and match their subjects and verbs easily. For example, The girls (in the class) have straight A’s (not class HAS but girls HAVE). 

Thanks for Joining Donna to Learn About Grammar and Writing!

Check Out Other “5 Tips From Language Lady” slideshows!

5 Places to Find Language Lady/Donna Reish Teaching Grammar and Writing

Resources for This Slideshow:

1) Start With Object Lessons: http://characterinkblog.com/teaching-prepositions-with-facebook-live-teaching-video/#more-5345
2) Use Rhymes and Mnemonics to Teach the Basics of Prepositions:http://characterinkstore.com/product/beauty-beast-preposition-packet/
3. Use Preposition Check Sentences to Teach the Spatial Relationship and the Time Relationship of Prepositions: http://characterinkblog.com/preposition-practice-packet-product-intro-video/
4. Don’t Rely on Songs or Rhymes Alone for Teaching Prepositions:http://characterinkblog.com/beauty-and-beast-preposition-practice-new-digital-product/
5. Teach Students the Reason They Are Learning Prepositions As Early As Possible:http://characterinkblog.com/learn-teach-prepositions/

Major and Minor Works Quiz and Answer Key (for Teachers and Parents!)

 

I’ve been teaching Major and Minor Works in every class and every private writing student meeting for two weeks now–and I feel like a broken record!

 

(Since I was teaching so much about it, I have provided teaching for my blog readers too—did you see these:

1) Color Essay Video Teaching (lots of detailed instruction on Major and Minor Works in the video AND the free lesson)

2) 5 Tips for Major and Minor Works From Language Lady (Yes, I got carried away and made a slideshow about it too!)

3) Tricky Tricks Download–print these off for your students!)

 

 

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High School Color Essay–Major Works and Minor Works, Color Words and Phrases, and More! (Teaching Video & Free Lesson!)

 

 

Ever wonder how to teach students to write from a source you give them? Do you get confused teaching students about Major Works and Minor Works (when to cap what and how to distinguish majors from minors)? And did you know that color can be an integral part of story writing? If you want to know more about any of those things, watch the video below and follow along with the free lesson I am including! I think you’ll enjoy it. (I loved teaching it!)

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Eight Week Grocery Fast – Weeks 5 and 6

 

The grocery fast is going strong! Weeks 5 and 6 found me spending more money than I wanted to–but my food stores are going down! I even had room in my deep freeze for two gallons of my daughter’s breast milk in dozens of 4 ounce bags! I was so excited to say that I had extra room!

 

Financially, it definitely got harder in weeks 5 and 6 than the first four weeks! I finally decided that the grandbabies’ food, diapers, and wipes that I get here for when I keep them each Wednesday would not be included in my grocery fast budget. When I needed to purchase these, they came up to an entire week’s budget, so I didn’t include them in my totals. (I am including all of our food, toiletries, and cleaning supplies, but not eating out, which we aren’t doing as much as I would like to for empty nesters because we have so much food to use here!)

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