How to Write a Good Thesis Statement

The Common Core State Standards Writing Strand includes the argumentative essay (W.1) and the informational/explanatory essay (W.2). Each genre requires a different form for its thesis statement. Common Core

Of course, the thesis statement is dictated by the demands of the writing prompt. The writing prompt tells you what to write about and how to do so. A good thesis statement directly responds to the writing prompt. For an argumentative essay, the thesis statement states the claim(s) of the essay. For an informational/explanatory essay, the thesis statement states the specific purpose of the essay.

How to Write a Good (2) Thesis Statement

To make sure that you directly respond to the writing prompt, include the writing topic and key words of that writing prompt in your (2) Thesis Statement. Usually place the (2) Thesis Statement at the end of the introductory paragraph. The (2) Thesis Statement should be as specific as possible, but general enough to permit more than one (3) Topic Sentence to support the purpose or point of view.

Mistakes to Avoid in a (2) Thesis Statement

The (2) Thesis Statement does not state your specific purpose for informational/explanatory essay.

The (2) Thesis Statement does not state your specific point of view for an argumentative essay.

(2) Thesis Statement introduces evidence (4) or (5).

(2) Thesis Statement refers to only part of the task of the writing prompt.

(2) Thesis Statement refers to the essay and to the writer.

(2) Thesis Statement includes a split (divided) focus which either argues against itself or introduces more than one focus of the essay.

(2) Thesis Statement confuses the writing genre. For example, the writer states a point of view for an informational/explanatory writing prompt.

(2) Thesis Statement is too specific and does not allow the writer to address the broader demands of the writing prompt.

Practice #1

Directions: Carefully read the Writing Direction Word and Writing Prompt. Study the Bad (2) Thesis Statement and the Explanation. Then revise into a Good (2) Thesis Statement.

Writing Direction Word: Analyze means to break apart the subject and explain each part.

Writing Prompt: Service to one’s country is true patriotism. President John F. Kennedy challenged Americans to “…ask not what your country can do for you−ask what you can do for your country.” Analyze what President Kennedy meant by this statement in his Inaugural Address from January 20, 1961 to share during class discussion.

Bad (2): President Kennedy meant Americans should not view their country as existing for their benefit when he said “…ask not what your country can do for you…”

Explanation: This (2) Thesis Statement refers to only part of the task of the writing prompt.

Good (2): _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Practice #2

Directions: Carefully read the Writing Direction Word and Writing Prompt. Study the Bad (2) Thesis Statement (Claim) and the Explanation. Then revise into a Good (2) Thesis Statement.

Writing Direction Word: Persuade means to convince the reader of your argument or claim.

Writing Prompt: The editorial from the Reno Times includes research studies and statistical data to demonstrate the benefits of regular exercise. The editor claims that elementary school students do not get enough exercise. Write a letter to the editor to persuade the editor and readers that elementary schools need more money to buy playground equipment.

Bad (2): Every elementary school must have a jungle gym, ten swings, and four seesaws.

Explanation: This (2) Thesis Statement is too specific does not address the broader demands of the writing prompt.

Good (2): _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

For more thesis statement and essay practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets TEScorresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” remedial writing lessons, writing posters, and editing resources to differentiate essay writing instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum.

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Reading Intervention Whys, Whats, and Hows

As reading intervention and special education teachers already know, a cookie-cutter approach to remedial reading instruction will quickly prove ineffective. Struggling readers are snowflakes. Each is different and has a different set of reasons as to why reading is so challenging.

Assessment and Instruction: The Problem of Whys, Whats, and Hows

Learning the unique characteristics for each snowflake requires comprehensive assessment. All too often, assessment is limited to establishing the whys. The whys can certainly serve as placement criteria and will indicate general problem areas, such as decoding, or a learning disability, such as auditory processing challenges. The Wechler, Stanford-Binet, DAS, Peabody, Woodcock-Johnson, etc. do serve a purpose. However, these assessments just do not indicate specific reading deficits (the whats), nor do they inform instruction (the hows).

Students deserve specific and comprehensive assessment to accurately determine the whats. Assessment based upon samples, such as the San Diego Quick Assessment®, Slosson Oral Reading Test®, the Names Test®, the Basic Phonics Skills Test®, and the Qualitative Spelling Inventory® fail to pinpoint specific deficits. Plus, because of their sampling, these tests leave out sight words or sound-spelling patterns. The teacher diagnostician is forced to make generalizations and use informed guessing to determine the content for reading remediation.

If teachers do not know the whats for each of their students, they will be forced to use an inefficient scatter gun approach to instruction. The hows become a teach-everything-to-everyone approach to cover bases. All too often teachers will resort to a reading program with lockstep procedures. Students learn over and over again what they already know and/or fail to adequately practice what they actually need to improve.

The Assessment-based Instructional Alternative

Teachers need comprehensive assessments to accurately pinpoint each what of instruction in these areas of reading instruction: phonemic awareness, vowel sound phonics, consonant sound phonics, spelling patterns, outlaw (non-phonetic) words, rimes, sight syllables (the high frequency syllable components), and fluency. Get these assessments and recording matrices in one location here. Every reading intervention teacher needs these comprehensive reading and spelling assessments.

Once teachers know the specific reading deficits, teachers can formulate individual reading plans for each child. Each reading plan requires the right resources (the hows) for assessment-based instruction.

Resources which provide teachers the instructional tools and flexibility to match the hows to the whats (instruction to assessment) will allow the teacher to truly individualize instruction in a Tier I or Tier II reading intervention program.

Mark Pennington, MA Reading Specialist, is the author of the comprehensive reading intervention curriculum, Teaching Reading Strategies. Designed to significantly increase the reading abilities of students ages eight through adult within one year, the curriculum is decidedly un-canned, is adaptable to various instructional settings, and is simple to use—a perfect choice for Response to Intervention tiered instructional levels. Get multiple choice diagnostic reading assessments , formative assessments, blending and syllabication activitiesphonemic awareness, and phonics workshops, comprehension worksheets, multi-level fluency passages recorded at three different reading speeds and accessed on YouTube, 390 flashcards, posters, activities, and games.

Also get the accompanying Sam and Friends Phonics Books. These eight-page decodable take-home books include sight words, word fluency practice, and phonics instruction aligned to the instructional sequence found in Teaching Reading Strategies. Each book is illustrated by master cartoonist, David Rickert. The cartoons, characters, and plots are designed to be appreciated by both older remedial readers and younger beginning readers. The teenage characters are multi-ethnic and the stories reinforce positive values and character development. Your students (and parents) will love these fun, heart-warming, and comical stories about the adventures of Sam and his friends: Tom, Kit, and Deb. Oh, and also that crazy dog, Pug.

Everything teachers need to teach a diagnostically-based reading intervention program for struggling readers at all reading levels is found in this comprehensive curriculum. Ideal for students reading two or more grade levels below current grade level, English-language learners, and Special Education students. Simple directions and well-crafted activities truly make this an almost no-prep curriculum. Works well as a half-year intensive program or full-year program, with or without paraprofessional assistance.

Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , , ,



Common Core Vocabulary: 12 Program Assessment Questions

Although much of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects affirm what elementary and secondary ELA/reading teachers have always been doing, the breadth, complexity, and depth of instruction in vocabulary may be a noteworthy exception.

The writers of the Common Core State Standards include vocabulary development among a variety of instructional Strands across the curriculum and grade levels. Additionally, the appendices add significant discussion on vocabulary acquisition. Perhaps a brief self-assessment of 12 basic questions may be in order.

Common Core Vocabulary: 12 Program Assessment Questions
  1. Outside of independent reading, would you say that the bulk of your vocabulary instruction is planned and purposeful or incidental and “as the need arises?”
  2. Do you teach vocabulary across the curriculum? Using the same strategies?
  3. How do you teach Tier II and Tier III academic language words? Which words do you teach and how were they determined?
  4. Do you and your colleagues teach a purposeful scope and sequence of vocabulary instruction across the grade levels?
  5. Do you teach the connection between vocabulary and spelling/syllabication?
  6. Do you teach grade level multiple meaning words? How were these words chosen? Which words do your colleagues teach?
  7. Do you teach specific context clues strategies?
  8. Do you teach Greek and Latin word parts? Which do you teach? Which do your colleagues teach?
  9. Do you teach dictionary and thesaurus research skills?
  10. Do you teach word figures of speech? How were these words chosen? Which words do your colleagues teach?
  11. Do you teach word relationships? How were these words chosen? Which words do your colleagues teach?
  12. Do you teach word connotations?

In a nutshell the Common Core Vocabulary Standards do establish the instructional expectations included in the above questions:

The Reading Strand in both Literature and Informational Text includes the same Standard (8.4): Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.

and

The Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, & Technical Subjects Standards include Vocabulary Standard RST 8.4: Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6–8 texts and topics.

and

The Language Strand devotes three separate Standards: L.4, 5, 6 to vocabulary acquisition.

  • Multiple Meaning Words and Context Clues (L.4.a.)tls-thumb
  • Greek and Latin Word Parts (L.4.a.)
  • Language Resources (L.4.c.d.)
  • Figures of Speech (L.5.a.)
  • Word Relationships (L.5.b.)
  • Connotations (L.5.c.)
  • Academic Language Words (L.6.0)

The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Teaching the Language Strand Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons. (Check out a seventh grade teacher teaching the direct instruction and practice components of these lessons on YouTube.) The complete lessons also include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out PREVIEW THE TEACHER’S GUIDE AND STUDENT WORKBOOK  to see samples of these comprehensive instructional components.

The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Teaching the Language Strand “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and the non-grade-leveled Teaching Grammar and Mechanics with engaging grammar cartoons (available in print and digital formats).

Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , , , ,



Selective Implementation of the Common Core

In a related article I focused on the “cherry picking” of certain Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects Standards by district curriculum specialists and teachers. I said that cherry picking can mean picking the easiest fruit on the tree, picking the best fruit on the tree, or picking just the fruit on the tree that we want and ignoring the rest. Straight off wikipedia, so you know that it’s the truth.Cherries

I suggested that the latter use of “cherry picking” would seem to apply to many districts and teachers as they have begun implementing the Common Core ELA/Reading Standards. Of course we all tend to teach what we know, but we also teach what we want to believe. The former I could classify as unconscious cherry picking. The latter is conscious cherry picking and has a hidden agenda.

We Tend to Teach What We Know: Unconscious Cherry Picking

Elementary and middle-high school English-language Arts teachers are generally well-trained and/or interested in teaching reading and writing—less so in grammar, usage, mechanics, spelling, vocabulary acquisition, listening, and speaking content and skills. After all, how many grammar classes are required for teachers earning their elementary or secondary English credentials? 0. Thus, when districts and teachers began implementing the Common Core State Standards in 2011 and 2012, district curriculum specialists and teachers initially gravitated toward the known and put the unknown on the backburner. In my school district we’ve had plenty of Common Core reading and writing trainings, but not one moment of training dedicated to the Language, Speaking, or Listening Standards. Conscious cherry picking—but perhaps a reasonable approach, given the paramount importance of reading and writing to literacy.

However, having acclimated themselves and their students to the Common Core Reading: Literature, Reading: Informational Text, and Writing Strands over the last four years, many teachers are now ready to teach the well-balanced approach intended by the Common Core writers—including all of the Strands.

Indeed, these other Strands are trending. As an educational publisher I use my blog to promote my books. I have to keep track of search results and key search terms to drive traffic to my blog. My blog drives traffic to my website and sells my books. As states “raced to the top” to adopt the Common Core State Standards in 2011, googling “Common Core Reading Standards” and “Common Core Writing Standards” got the most search results in the field of English-language Arts/Reading. Googling “Common Core Language Standards” and “Common Core Speaking and Listening Standards” got negligible amounts of search results.

I just googled the same search terms and found 42,500,000 search results for “Common Core Reading Standards” and 27,200,00 for “Common Core Writing Standards.” However, I was shocked to see the increase in search results for “Common Core Language Standards.” 40,600,000 results! Teachers may have initially gravitated toward what they know, but now they are shifting focus to what they want to know.

So why aren’t district trainings responding to this need? Why aren’t many district curricular specialists and university professors promoting the Language, Speaking, and Listening Strands? Why aren’t budgetary allocations being funneled into all of the Common Core ELA/Reading Strands?

We Also Teach What We Want to Believe: Conscious Cherry Picking

Many state, county, and district curriculum specialists, as well as university professors don’t want teachers to implement all of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects.

Specifically, many of these “movers and shakers” were inculcated in the 1980s whole language philosophy of implicit whole to part learning. Age is a factor in educational decision-making. The educational “movers and shakers” are now in their 50s or 60s. And all of us, to a certain extent, are products of our times. These educational decision-makers were taught that explicit part to whole language instruction was useless or even counter-productive. Educational research studies which confirmed this philosophy were trumpeted; studies which pointed in the other direction were brushed aside. Unlike the unconscious cherry picking, this was conscious cherry picking.

Choosing to make selective choices among competing evidence, so as to emphasize those results that support a given position, while ignoring or dismissing any findings that do not support it, is a practice known as “cherry picking” and is a hallmark of poor science or pseudo-science.

— Richard Somerville, Testimony before the US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, March 8, 2011.

In terms of instructional approaches to literacy, this meant that explicit part to whole phonics, spelling patterns and rules, structured approaches to writing, explicit vocabulary strategies, grammar, usage, and mechanics practice were disparaged and even forbidden in some states.

At the height of the whole language movement fanaticism in California, principals were even instructed to confiscate spelling workbooks from their teachers.

By the late 1990s most school districts and teachers had abandoned the whole language philosophy in reading. Failing test scores demanded the switch to explicit phonics and spelling instruction. However, because standardized tests emphasized reading and math, the whole language philosophy maintained its influence on grammar, usage, mechanics, spelling, vocabulary acquisition, speaking, and listening content and skill development.

For many educational “movers and shakers,” this hidden agenda remains.

Many district curriculum specialists are simply not providing training and budget allocations for the other Language Strand and Speaking and Listening Strand precisely because they don’t want to emphasize the explicit part to whole instruction called for in the Common Core State ELA/Reading Standards. To fail to choose is a choice.

Additionally, neither the PARCC and Smarter Balanced Common Core assessments focus on grammar, usage, mechanics, spelling, vocabulary, speaking, or listening Standards. So even for the less philosophically-driven and more pragmatic teach-to-the-test district decision-makers, it’s reading and writing that remains the focus.

However, younger teachers are beginning to experience some instructional cognitive dissonance. Although still force-fed much of the whole language philosophy at district level trainings and in university coursework, they see things differently in their classrooms. They don’t believe that their students will “catch on” to grammar or spelling by just writing a lot or through the editing process or via simplistic mini lessons or via writing “warm ups” such as Daily Oral Language. They don’t believe that students will acquire necessary academic vocabulary solely through reading. In other words, younger teachers tend to believe in explicit, not implicit, instruction. What is “taught” works better than what is “caught.” And retired teachers who gutted out the whole language movement of the 1980s and kept passing out their phonics, grammar, spelling, and mechanics “drill and kill” worksheets are smiling. And so are many of their former students.

The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Teaching the Language Strand Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons. (Check out a seventh grade teacher teaching the direct instruction and practice components of these lessons on YouTube.) The complete lessons also include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out PREVIEW THE TEACHER’S GUIDE AND STUDENT WORKBOOK  to see samples of these comprehensive instructional components.

The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Teaching the Language Strand “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and the non-grade-leveled Teaching Grammar and Mechanics with engaging grammar cartoons (available in print and digital formats).

Grammar/Mechanics, Spelling/Vocabulary , , ,



Cherry Picking the Common Core

Cherries

www.xda-developers.com

One of our more flexible idiomatic expressions in English is “cherry picking.” Cherry picking can mean picking the easiest fruit on the tree, picking the best fruit on the tree, or picking just the fruit on the tree that we want and ignoring the rest.

The latter use of “cherry picking” would seem to apply to many districts and teachers as they have begun implementing the Common Core Standards. To get a bit technical, many have bought into the fallacy of selective attention, known as confirmation bias.

As elementary and middle-high school English-language Arts teachers began unraveling the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects in 2011, they tended to gravitate to the Reading: Literature, Reading: Informational Text, and Writing Strands. Common CoreAlthough some decried the “loss” of literature with the new focus on expository reading text, most began interpreting the Standards as “basically teaching what they already teach” with a few added tweaks. In my school district the mantra at all district Common Core trainings has been “Common Core-ize it!” In other words, keep on doing what we have been doing, but add on a few close reading strategies and some expository text and “You’re good to go!”

It’s human nature. We interpret new sensory input in light of previously acquired sensory input. Cherry picking.

Now, some of this Standards-cherry-picking does make sense. Now let me mix my food metaphors a bit. Obviously, reading (the meat) and writing (the potatoes) remain the cornerstones of literacy and should be instructional priorities. Additionally, there is some practical rationale to not introducing everything at once, so stair-stepping in the Standards would seem to be a prudent approach. However, we are in year four of implementation of the Common Core State Standards. The full dinner includes more than just meat and potatoes.

The cherries many have been avoiding would include the Language Strand and Speaking and Listening Strand. Scant attention has been paid to either of these Strands. I’ve asked countless district curriculum specialists and teachers whether they have read either of the Strands, and if they have, could they name one of the Standards in that Strand, and if they can, have they implemented any of the Standards in their district trainings or in their classrooms. You know their answers.

It’s time to set the table with a well-balanced meal.

Teachers are ready. Teachers can chew gum and walk at the same time. Teachers can implement the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects as they are designed–each part working to better the whole. I just googled “Common Core Reading Standards” and got 42,500,000 (not surprising) search results. “Common Core Writing Standards” got 27,200,00 (not surprising) search results. But these search results did surprise me: “Common Core Language Standards” got 40,600,000 results. Obviously there is significant interest in moving beyond the implementation of just the reading and writing Standards.

Now of course I am biased as well. As an educational publisher, I’m selling curriculum to address these up to this point ignored Standards. So, you would expect my own cherry picking. But I also feel that our students deserve a well-balanced diet. They need the full meal–not just the meat and potatoes. My take is that a diet of meat and potatoes can only take our students so far. Students also need the grammar, usage, mechanics, spelling, vocabulary, speaking, and listening knowledge and skills to inform and equip them in their reading and writing.

And how about cherries jubilee for dessert?

The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Teaching the Language Strand Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons. (Check out a seventh grade teacher teaching the direct instruction and practice components of these lessons on YouTube.) The complete lessons also include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out PREVIEW THE TEACHER’S GUIDE AND STUDENT WORKBOOK  to see samples of these comprehensive instructional components.

The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Teaching the Language Strand “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and the non-grade-leveled Teaching Grammar and Mechanics with engaging grammar cartoons (available in print and digital formats).

Grammar/Mechanics, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , ,



Progressive Skills Review

Although English-Language Arts teachers have rightly focused on the Reading Standards for Literature, the Reading Standards for Informational Text, and the Writing Standards Strands of the Common Core State Standards, other Strands now deserve our focus as well.Common Core

The Language Strand has been one of the more controversial components of the COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS & LITERACY IN HISTORY/SOCIAL STUDIES, SCIENCE, AND TECHNICAL SUBJECTS. The Language Strand includes the following Standards for each grade level: Conventions of Standard English (Standards 1 & 2), Knowledge and Use (Standard 3), and Vocabulary Acquisition and Use (Standards 4, 5, & 6).

Whole language (whole to part) writing and literature-based devotees have been chagrined at the inclusion of Language as a separate Common Core Strand. Anticipating this reaction, the Common Core writers went out of their way to placate the purists who believe that grammar, usage, and conventions (mechanics and spelling) taught in isolation from writing instruction and vocabulary taught in isolation from reading instruction are mortal sins.

“The inclusion of Language standards in their own strand should not be taken as an indication that skills related to conventions, effective language use, and vocabulary are unimportant to reading, writing, speaking, and listening; indeed, they are inseparable from such contexts (51).” http://www.corestandards.org/assets/CCSSI_ELA%20Standards.pdf

Less controversial, but still noteworthy, has been the inclusion of specific grammar, usage, and mechanics skills that need to be reinforced throughout the Grades 3‒12 Standards. These Language Progressive Skills found at the end of both the K-5 and 6-12 Language Standards include this subheading: “The following skills, marked with an asterisk (*) in Language standards 1–3, are particularly likely to require continued attention in higher grades as they are applied to increasingly sophisticated writing and speaking.”

The tacit admission that some skills-based instruction in language conventions is, indeed, desirable, and is, in fact, necessary to acquiring advanced literacy has been a tough pill for some purists to swallow. National Writing Project, Writers Workshop, and Writing Process fellows have been loath to accept this distinction between skills and craft.

However, most teachers have welcomed the emphases of these language skills across the grade levels. In fact, the repetition of the skills in the Common Core document validates what teachers have long been saying: Language acquisition and mastery is a cyclical and developmental process and not the introduction-reinforcement-mastery model that direct instruction gurus have long advocated. In other words, “No wonder we have to teach the same stuff year-to-year and over and over again before it starts to sink in. Maybe last year’s teacher really did teach this stuff after all.”

Let’s take a quick look at these 18 Language Progressive Skills:

CCSS Language Progressive Skills Standards

…..

  1. 3.1f. Ensure subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement.
  2. 3.a. Choose words and phrases for effect.
  3. 3.3a. Produce complete sentences, recognizing and correcting inappropriate fragments and run-ons.
  4. 4.1g. Correctly use frequently confused words (e.g., to/too/two; there/their).
  5. 4.3a. Choose words and phrases to convey ideas precisely.
  6. 4.3b. Choose punctuation for effect.
  7. 5.1d. Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in verb tense.
  8. 5.2a. Use punctuation to separate items in a series.†
  9. 6.1c. Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in pronoun number and person.
  10. 6.1d. Recognize and correct vague pronouns (i.e., ones with unclear or ambiguous antecedents).
  11. 6.1e. Recognize variations from standard English in their own and others’ writing and speaking, and identify and use strategies to improve expression in conventional language.
  12. 6.2a. Use punctuation (commas, parentheses, dashes) to set off nonrestrictive/parenthetical elements.
  13. 6.3a. Vary sentence patterns for meaning, reader/listener interest, and style.‡
  14. 6.3b. Maintain consistency in style and tone.
  15. 7.1c. Place phrases and clauses within a sentence, recognizing and correcting misplaced and dangling modifiers.
  16. 7.3a. Choose language that expresses ideas precisely and concisely, recognizing and eliminating wordiness and redundancy.
  17. 8.1d. Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in verb voice and mood.
  18. 910.1a. Use parallel structure.

Of course these Language Progressive Skills Standards beg these two fundamental instructional questions: How do we teach these skills? How do students best learn these skills?

Increasingly, teachers are answering this question with assessment-based instruction. Check out the helpful free diagnostic assessments and progress monitoring matrices for grammar, usage, and mechanics in the upper right dropdown menu of the author’s website.TeachGuide-7th

The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Teaching the Language Strand Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons. (Check out a seventh grade teacher teaching the direct instruction and practice components of these lessons on YouTube.) The complete lessons also include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out PREVIEW THE TEACHER’S GUIDE AND STUDENT WORKBOOK  to see samples of these comprehensive instructional components.

The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Teaching the Language Strand “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and the non-grade-leveled Teaching Grammar and Mechanics with engaging grammar cartoons (available in print and digital formats).

Grammar/Mechanics, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , , ,



Expository Fluency Practice for Reading Intervention

Much of the reading wars dust has settled in the last decade. By now we have some consensus about what makes a good reader and some levels of understanding about what limitations or deficits a struggling reader does face. One of these areas of consensus involves reading fluency. Reading fluency includes rate, accuracy, and prosody (the music of oral language; the expression of voice; the attention to syntax and punctuation). The reading research conclusion that improving reading fluency is highly correlated with higher reading comprehension (Benson, 2008; Flood, Lapp, & Fisher, 2005; Klauda & Guthrie, 2008; M. R. Kuhn et al., 2006; Rasinski et al., 2009) is now largely uncontested.

Several reading strategies have been found to be effective in improving reading fluency in the past decade. Modeled and repeated readings have proven helpful for many primary and intermediate readers—especially when these strategies have been coupled with systematic and explicit instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, and spelling. But these same strategies seem to have fallen short for older remedial readers. Still, only one in six remedial readers reading two or more grade levels below their age ever catch up to grade level reading.

Why is reading so difficult to remediate in older, struggling readers?

“One of the consistent findings in our remedial research for children who begin the intervention with moderate or serious impairments in word reading ability is that the interventions have not been sufficient to close the gap in reading fluency. Although the students increase in fluency in an absolute sense (they become more fluent within passages of the same level of difficulty), the interventions do not bring the students to average levels of fluency for students their age, nor are students’ percentile or standard scores for fluency nearly as high as they are for accuracy.”

So the rich get richer and the poor get richer, but at nowhere near the same relative rates or levels.

“…Thus, it is not easy for these students to become “fluent readers” if the standard of
reading fluency is based on the ability to fluently identify almost all of the words in text
appropriate for their age.”

from Joseph K. Torgesen and Roxanne F. Hudson, Florida Center for Reading Research at
Florida State University http://learningovations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Fluency_chapter-TorgesenHudson.pdf

So, Torgesen and Hudson are arguing that increasing reading fluency remains a key to reading remediation, but only when coupled with the ability to access complex text.

When we talk about more difficult text, we are not only talking about lexile reading levels. We are also talking about types of text and levels of text complexity. Most would agree that expository text is qualitatively more difficult to read than narrative (with the possible exception of our favorite Russian authors).

The Shift from Narrative to Expository Text

In the introductory pages of the Common Core State Standards, the authors cite the Distribution of Literary and Informational Passages by Grade in the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress NAEP framework to set the following distributions of text: 50% literary/50% information (4th grade); 45% literary/55% information (8th grade); 30% literary/70% information (12th grade).Common Core

With the shift from narrative to expository reading in the Common Core State Standards, it would certainly seem to make sense that we abandon past reading intervention practice of using primarily narrative passages to help students practice reading fluency. This would especially be true for upper elementary, middle, and high school remedial readers. It would also make sense that practice with expository passages would particularly benefit these students as they read social studies and science texts while concurrently taking a remedial reading course or English class with an RtI tiered intervention model.

The problem has been finding short expository passages that will help students push through their current reading levels to higher reading levels. Too often with leveled reading passages, students are assigned texts at their lexile levels and continue to practice at these levels. This does makes sense if our purpose is to help students independently access content at that level of text complexity; however, if our goal is to improve reading ability, then reading exclusively at the same diagnostic level will not produce growth in reading fluency, nor the ability to comprehend more complex text.

It’s a bit like getting into shape. If you pay your dues to join the local fitness club with the expectation that you will improve both cardiovascular ability (reading fluency) and strength (academic language and more complex syntactical structures), your personal trainer will probably suggest a weightlifting component to your personal fitness plan.

The trainer may diagnostically assess your ability to complete a certain number of reps on 20 pound free weights in a minute and determine that you can complete 15 curls.

If the trainer establishes a personal goal for you to improve to 20 reps per minute on the same 20 pound weights after a month of practice and you meet your goal, you will have achieved some cardiovascular benefit. However, you will not have measurably increased your strength.

To increase strength, your trainer would need to increase the weight, to say 25 pound free weights, then 30 pound weights, etc. If you just increased weight without increasing reps per minute you would not improve cardiovascular ability.

Of course, you need both increased reps plus progressively heavier free weights to accomplish both of your personal fitness goals. Likewise, struggling remedial readers need both practice in reading fluency and practice in reading increasingly difficult text. Older readers need to both “catch up” and “keep up” with grade level text.

Expository Fluency Practice for Reading Intervention

*****

The author’s Teaching Reading Strategies is a comprehensive reading intervention program designed for ages 8‒adult. One component of this program includes 43 expository reading passages which will improve both reps and strength (reading fluency, academic language and more complex syntactical structures) for your struggling readers.

Each high-interest passage is an expository article on an animal-its habitat, description, role in the food cycle, family characteristics, and endangered species status. Passages are leveled in a unique pyramid design: the first two paragraphs are at the third grade reading level, followed by two paragraphs at the fifth grade reading level, and concluding with two paragraphs at the seventh grade reading level. This organization helps readers begin each passage with confidence and full comprehension, then “push through” to higher reading levels of more difficult academic language and sentence length. This design helps students “push through” the limiting barriers of “one reading level fits all” fluency passages.

Plus, each of the 43 animal fluency passages has recorded modeled readings. Each passage is read at 95‒115 (Level A), 115‒135 (Level B), and 135‒150 (Level C) words per minute and is accessed on YouTube. Why not try them out? Subscribe on YouTube to Expository Reading Fluencies and get all 129 modeled fluency passages absolutely free of charge. Of course, each fluency has a commercial at the end to promote the author’s reading intervention program, Teaching Reading Strategies. I suggest assigning fluency practice slightly above, say 10‒15%, the diagnostic fluency rate of each student. Here’s the Diagnostic Reading Fluency I use. It’s a two-minute assessment on an expository passage. The passage (like those on my videos) begins with two paragraphs at the third grade level, followed by two paragraphs at the fifth grade level, and ending with two paragraphs at the seventh grade level. My sense is that this multi-level assessment provides much more accurate diagnostic data than reading at any single reading level.TRS

The Teaching Reading Strategies program includes the 129 commercial-free fluencies plus timing charts for each of these passages based upon two-minute fluency timings, rather than the usual one-minute timings to more accurately assess student progress. Each of the 43 fluency passages also has corresponding comprehension worksheets with the SCRIP comprehension strategy questions and vocabulary development.

Teaching Reading Strategies is designed to significantly increase the reading abilities of students ages eight through adult within one year, the curriculum is decidedly un-canned, is adaptable to various instructional settings, and is simple to use—a perfect choice for Response to Intervention tiered instructional levels. Get multiple choice diagnostic reading assessments , formative assessments, blending and syllabication activitiesphonemic awareness, and phonics workshops, comprehension worksheets, multi-level fluency passages recorded at three different reading speeds and accessed on YouTube, 390 flashcards, posters, activities, and games.

Also get the accompanying Sam and Friends Phonics Books. These eight-page decodable take-home books include sight words, word fluency practice, and phonics instruction aligned to the instructional sequence found in Teaching Reading Strategies. Each book is illustrated by master cartoonist, David Rickert. The cartoons, characters, and plots are designed to be appreciated by both older remedial readers and younger beginning readers. The teenage characters are multi-ethnic and the stories reinforce positive values and character development. Your students (and parents) will love these fun, heart-warming, and comical stories about the adventures of Sam and his friends: Tom, Kit, and Deb. Oh, and also that crazy dog, Pug.

Everything teachers need to teach a diagnostically-based reading intervention program for struggling readers at all reading levels is found in this comprehensive curriculum. Ideal for students reading two or more grade levels below current grade level, English-language learners, and Special Education students. Simple directions and well-crafted activities truly make this an almost no-prep curriculum. Works well as a half-year intensive program or full-year program, with or without paraprofessional assistance.

 

Reading , , ,



Decodable Take Home Books for Older Readers

Let’s face it. We just have not figured out how to “fix” every kid. The research confirms this sad state of affairs. So few of our students who fall behind are ever able to “catch up” to grade level. Especially in reading. Only one in six students reading two or more grade levels behind by sixth grade ever catches up to reading at grade level.

Yes, we teachers aren’t the only ones to blame. However, we do have the tools to fix reading deficits for most of our older children, teenagers, and adults. Yes, reading is a complicated process, but it’s not rocket science. So why aren’t we doing a better job of reading remediation?

Much of what we do is based upon what we think we can do.

I teach a seventh grade reading intervention class. My principal calls it ELA Support; however, we all know why students are in this class: they just don’t read or read well. Our district continues to promote a myriad of tracked classes and pull-out programs. At our site we have eight different ELA classes with fancy labels. Needless to say, we have not exactly bought in to the Response to Intervention model. Believe me, I’ve tried, but our district and site have not yet adopted my Reading Manifesto.

Last night at Back to School Night, a parent who has a child in this class, lingered after my presentation to express concerns about his child.

Having completed an initial round of diagnostic assessments just to determine whether or not my students should remain in this remedial class, I assured the parent that I knew some of his child’s reading issues and that we would make significant progress this year.

The parent checked my response with his previous experience.

“In fifth grade, his teacher told me that he would never be able to read well. He was tested for special education and qualified for the program. The resource teacher confirmed his fifth grade teacher’s diagnosis and tagged him with auditory and visual processing disorders. The resource teacher said that we should concentrate on developing ‘reading survival skills.’”

As my blood began to boil, I assured the parent that we were not going to band-aid his child. We would go in for surgery and fix the reading issues. I told him I believe in student-centered, assessment-based instruction and that I would individualize instruction for his son. The parent was admittedly skeptical but held onto a glimmer of hope.

He responded, “Well, we’ve tried for so many years. My son just does not believe he will ever be ‘normal’ and read like his peers. His self-concept is at an all-time low, especially after two years of using reading materials that make him feel like an idiot. But, to be fair, he is reading at that level. It’s just that he’s big for his age. I guess he and I just have to be realistic.”

So to summarize: The child, parent, and teachers all have set limits as to what they think the child can do. The child’s educational experience has set those expectations in stone.

I refuse to buy-in to this thinking. I want to make a difference for this student. I want to be an informed realist. It’s going to take work, and it’s going to take the right materials to make it work.

One of the parent’s comments stood out to me: “His self-concept is at an all-time low, especially after two years of using reading materials that make him feel like an idiot.”

That we can fix. According to my initial assessments, this child has severe decoding issues. I’ve developed a series of 44 decodable texts, along with my illustrator, David Rickert. These take home books are decidedly not juvenile. Think the old “Archie and Friends” comic books. Stories about teenagers. Stories with humor. Stories with some depth. But much more…

Here’s a description of these take home books. If you teach non-primary remedial reading, you’ve got to get these 44 economical blackline master take home books for your students. For less than a buck a book, you can provide targeted practice in what your students need without treating them like “idiots.”

Decodable Take Home Books for Older Readers kids

*****

The 44 Sam and Friends Take Home Phonics Books have been designed to supplement a systematic and explicit phonics program for remedial readers. Each illustrated eight-page book focuses on one sound with the most common sound-spelling patterns and two high-utility sight words. The sound-spellings are the same as those used in the Open Court reading program. Pennington Publishing’s remedial reading curriculum, Teaching Reading Strategies uses the same research-based instructional scope and sequence.

The books are illustrated by master cartoonist, David Rickert. The cartoons are designed to be appreciated by older remedial readers. The teenage characters are multi-ethnic and the stories reinforce positive values and character development. Your students (and parents) will love these fun, heart-warming, and comical stories about the adventures of Sam and his friends: Tom, Kit, and Deb. Oh, and also that crazy dog, Pug.

Additionally, each take home book includes five SCRIP comprehension questions (Summary, Connect, Re-think, Interpret, Predict) to promote internal monitoring of text. The comprehension questions are ideal for teacher and/or parent guided reading instruction, readers’ workshop, literacy centers, and literature circles.

Plus, each take home book includes a 30 second word fluency practice on the focus sound-spellings and sight words with a systematic review of previously introduced sound-spellings and sight words.

Teachers are licensed to copy and distribute all 44 of these economical blackline master take home books for their own students. Each book has eight pages in 5.5 x 8.5 inch booklet form. Books are formatted to be copied back to back on two separate 8.5 x 11 pages for easy copying and collation. Just one fold creates the take home books. No stapling is needed.

Design and Instructional Components

* The Sam and Friends Take Home Phonics Books have been organized into five collections:

Collection A: Short Vowels and Consonants Books 1-8
Collection B: Consonant Blends and Digraphs (Part 1) Books 9-16
Collection C: Consonant Blends and Digraphs (Part 2) Books 17-24
Collection D: Long Vowels and Silent Final e Books 25-34
Collection E: r-controlled Vowels and Diphthongs Books 35-44

* The books are designed with highly decodable text to help readers learn, practice, and develop reliance upon the alphabetic code. Decodable means that a high percentage of words are phonetically regular. Perfect for Tier I and Tier II RtI, special education, ELD and SDAIE classes, and traditional reading intervention classes.

* The SCRIP comprehension strategies (Summary, Connect, Re-think, Interpret, Predict) are embedded within the text pages, not placed at the end of the book.

* The stories use non-predictable, non-repetitious, and non-patterned language to minimize over-reliance upon context clues and knowledge of text structure. The texts limit idiomatic expressions (ideal for English-language learners). Students will learn the alphabetic code with these books.

* The back page of each book introduces the focus sound-spellings and sight words and also includes a 30 second word fluency practice with phonics and sight words review.

* The books do not require a separate teacher’s guide. All instructional activities are included in the books themselves.

* These books are fun to read and fun to teach!

But wait… There’s more! As seen on T.V.

Your purchase of the Sam and Friends Take Home Phonics Books also includes these resources:

* Quick and Simple Instructions

* Color Animal Sound-Spelling Cards designed for your display projector to help your students master each of the sound-spelling patterns. Teachers are also licensed to copy on cardstock, cut, and laminate the cards for each of their students. The animal names of the Animal Sound-Spelling Cards clearly connect to each of the English phonemes (speech sounds) unlike those of other reading programs. The cards feature animal photographs, not illustrations, and are color coded according to their sound-spellings: consonants (black cards), short vowels (green cards), long vowels (red cards), and vowel teams (violet cards). The link also includes Consonant Blend Cards.

* Link to the Names, Sounds, and Spelling Rap to help students master the instructional components of the Animal Sound-Spelling Cards. Help your students develop automaticity in the sound-spellings. Turn it up! Your students will love to chant along.

* Link to the SCRIP Comprehension Strategies Bookmarks to download and print. The author’s Teaching Reading Strategies reading intervention proTRSgram includes both comprehension and fluency expository articles at Grades 3-7th reading levels.

Mark Pennington, MA Reading Specialist, is the author of the comprehensive reading intervention curriculum, Teaching Reading Strategies. Designed to significantly increase the reading abilities of students ages eight through adult within one year, the curriculum is decidedly un-canned, is adaptable to various instructional settings, and is simple to use—a perfect choice for Response to Intervention tiered instructional levels. Get multiple choice diagnostic reading assessments , formative assessments, blending and syllabication activitiesphonemic awareness, and phonics workshops, comprehension worksheets, multi-level fluency passages recorded at three different reading speeds and accessed on YouTube, 390 flashcards, posters, activities, and games.

Also get the accompanying Sam and Friends Phonics Books. These eight-page decodable take-home books include sight words, word fluency practice, and phonics instruction aligned to the instructional sequence found in Teaching Reading Strategies. Each book is illustrated by master cartoonist, David Rickert. The cartoons, characters, and plots are designed to be appreciated by both older remedial readers and younger beginning readers. The teenage characters are multi-ethnic and the stories reinforce positive values and character development. Your students (and parents) will love these fun, heart-warming, and comical stories about the adventures of Sam and his friends: Tom, Kit, and Deb. Oh, and also that crazy dog, Pug.

Everything teachers need to teach a diagnostically-based reading intervention program for struggling readers at all reading levels is found in this comprehensive curriculum. Ideal for students reading two or more grade levels below current grade level, English-language learners, and Special Education students. Simple directions and well-crafted activities truly make this an almost no-prep curriculum. Works well as a half-year intensive program or full-year program, with or without paraprofessional assistance.

Reading , , ,



112 Writing Openers

These 112 Writing Openers are from the Teaching the Language Strand (of the Common Core State Standards) Grades 4−8 Language Convention lessons. Completely aligned to the CommonCommon Core Core State Standards, these simple and quick writing openers are suitable for upper elementary and middle school. Following is an overview of the 56 grammar and usage lessons and the 56 mechanics lessons. Bookmark this site and click the links below to access each text-based lesson with editable PowerPoint attachments or subscribe to my YouTube Channel and get the same lessons in video format.

Each of the 112 Writing Openers follows the same instructional sequence:

  • The teacher reads a brief introduction to introduce the grammar and usage or mechanics lesson focus (the lessons alternate) and the Language Strand Standard. The introduction connects to prior learning and/or defines key terms.
  • The teacher and students read the targeted grammar and usage or mechanics lesson with examples. The teacher explains and clarifies, as needed, while the students summarize the key points in composition books or on binder paper.
  • Students copy the practice sentence(s) and apply the content and skills learned in the lesson to highlight or circle what is correct and revise what is wrong.
  • Students review the practice answers, self-correct, and self-edit their work.
  • The teacher reads the writing application task and students compose a sentence or two to apply the lesson content or skill.

What’s in the Teaching the Language Strand language conventions lessons that are not provided in these 112 Writing Openers?

  1. Teaching the Language Strand consists of five Grades 4−8 programs. Check out the comprehensive instructional scopes and sequences.
  2. Teaching the Language Strand includes completely scripted teacher’s guide with accompanying PDF files for interactive display.
  3. The accompanying student workbooks provide the full text of each lesson to highlight and annotate. Workbooks also have the practice sentences and simple sentence diagrams for each lesson.
  4. Each lesson has exemplary mentor texts which apply the focus of each grammar and usage lesson. Students apply the grammar and usage lesson to respond to these texts.
  5. Each lesson has a grammar/usage and a mechanics formative assessment to ensure mastery of the lesson components. Students self-correct these sentence dictations.
  6. Teaching the Language Strand has a comprehensive assessment plan including bi-weekly unit assessments in which students define, identify, and apply each grammar, usage, and mechanics lesson content or skill.

Plus, the grade-level Teaching the Language Strand programs also include the following instructional resources in both the teacher’s guide and student workbook to ensure that your students master each of the Common Core Language Standards:

  1. Diagnostic grammar, usage, and mechanics assessments with recording matrices and corresponding worksheets to remediate previous grade-level (L.1, 2) grammar, usage, and mechanics Standards. Each worksheet has definitions, examples, practice, and a formative assessment.  Students self-correct the practice sections and mini-conference with the teacher to review the formative assessments.
  2. A complete spelling patterns program with weekly word lists, spelling sorts, and syllable worksheets. Plus, a comprehensive diagnostic spelling patterns assessment with recording matrices and corresponding worksheets to remediate previous grade-level (L.2) spelling Standards. Students self-correct the practice sections and mini-conference with the teacher to review the formative assessments.
  3. Twice-per-week Language Application Openers to teach and practice the (L.3) Knowledge of Use Standards.
  4. A complete vocabulary program with weekly word lists based upon the grade-level Academic Word List, multiple meaning words, context clues practice, idioms, semantic spectrums, Greek and Latin word parts, dictionary and thesaurus skills with flashcards and bi-weekly unit tests.
  5. Answers to all worksheets and tests.
  6. Training videos. Check out the introductory training video.

In short, every resource you need to teach all of the grade-level Common Core Language Strand Standards and individualize remedial instruction is provided in the Teaching the Language Strand program.

112 Writing Openers

*****

Latin Abbreviations for Time: Mechanics Lesson 1TeachGuide-4th
Proper Nouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 1
Abbreviations and Acronyms: Mechanics Lesson 2
Common Nouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 2
Indirect Questions and Intentional Fragments: Mechanics Lesson 3
Types of Verbs: Grammar and Usage Lesson 3
Alphanumeric Outlines: Mechanics Lesson 4
Verb Tenses: Grammar and Usage Lesson 4
Semicolons with Phrases: Mechanics Lesson 5
Subject Case Pronouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 5
Apostrophes with Singular Possessives: Mechanics Lesson 6
Object Case Pronouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 6
Apostrophes with Plural Possessives: Mechanics Lesson 7
Possessive Pronouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 7
Apostrophes with Compound Subjects and Objects: Mechanics Lesson 8
Adjectives: Grammar and Usage Lesson 8
Apostrophes with Contractions: Mechanics Lesson 9
Verbs: Grammar and Usage Lesson 9
When Not to Use Commas: Mechanics Lesson 10
Adverbs: Grammar and Usage Lesson 10
Commas with Dates: Mechanics Lesson 11
Coordinating Conjunctions: Grammar and Usage Lesson 11
Commas in Letters: Mechanics Lesson 12TeachGuide-5th
Correlative Conjunctions: Grammar and Usage Lesson 12
Commas in Addresses: Mechanics Lesson 13
Subordinating Conjunctions: Grammar and Usage Lesson 13
Commas with Family Titles: Mechanics Lesson 14
Prepositional Phrases: Grammar and Usage Lesson 14
Commas with Place Names: Mechanics Lesson 15
Subjects and Predicates: Grammar and Usage Lesson 15
Commas with Tag Questions: Mechanics Lesson 16
Direct Objects: Grammar and Usage Lesson 16
Commas with Beginning Nouns of Direct Speech: Mechanics Lesson 17
Indirect Objects: Grammar and Usage Lesson 17  

Commas with Ending Nouns of Direct Speech: Mechanics Lesson 18
Phrases and Clauses: Grammar and Usage Lesson 18
Commas with Middle Nouns of Direct Speech: Mechanics Lesson 19
Complete Sentences, Fragments, and Run-ons: Grammar and Usage Lesson 19
Commas with Items in a List: Mechanics Lesson 20
Simple, Compound, and Complex Sentences: Grammar and Usage Lesson 20
Commas with Introductory Words: Mechanics Lesson 21
Compound-Complex Sentences: Grammar and Usage Lesson 21
Commas with Introductory Clauses: Mechanics Lesson 22TeachGuide-6th
Types of Sentences: Grammar and Usage Lesson 22
Commas with Interjections: Mechanics Lesson 23
Noun Phrases: Grammar and Usage Lesson 23
Commas in Quotation Marks and Speaker Tags in Dialogue: Mechanics Lesson 24
Noun Clauses: Grammar and Usage Lesson 24
Commas in Compound Sentences: Mechanics Lesson 25
Indefinite Pronouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 25
Commas with Phrases and Clauses: Mechanics Lesson 26
Interrogative Pronouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 26
Commas with Complex Sentences: Mechanics Lesson 27
Demonstrative Pronouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 27
Commas with Coordinate Adjectives: Mechanics Lesson 28
Reflexive Pronouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 28
Commas with Hierarchical Adjectives: Mechanics Lesson 29
Intensive Pronouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 29
Commas with Nonrestrictive Relative Clauses: Mechanics Lesson 30
Nonrestrictive Relative Clauses: Grammar and Usage Lesson 30
Restrictive Relative Clauses: Mechanics Lesson 31
Restrictive Clauses: Grammar and Usage Lesson 31
Direct Quotations: Mechanics Lesson 32
Reciprocal Pronouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 32TeachGuide-7th
Indirect Quotations: Mechanics Lesson 33
Pronoun Antecedents: Grammar and Usage Lesson 33
Quotations within Quotations: Mechanics Lesson 34
Pronoun Number and Person Shifts: Grammar and Usage Lesson 34
Movie and Television Titles: Mechanics Lesson 35
Vague Pronoun References: Grammar and Usage Lesson 35
Book, Website, Newspaper, and Magazine Titles: Mechanics Lesson 36
Adjectival Phrases: Grammar and Usage Lesson 36
Plays and Works of Art Titles: Mechanics Lesson 37
Predicate Adjectives: Grammar and Usage Lesson 37
Song and Poem Titles: Mechanics Lesson 38
Short Comparative Modifiers: Grammar and Usage Lesson 38
Book Chapter Titles: Mechanics Lesson 39
Long Comparative Modifiers: Grammar and Usage Lesson 39
Article Titles: Mechanics Lesson 40
Short Superlative Modifiers: Grammar and Usage Lesson 40
Short Story and Document Titles: Mechanics Lesson 41
Long Superlative Modifiers: Grammar and Usage Lesson 41
Capitalizing People and Character Names: Mechanics Lesson 42
Misplaced Modifiers: Grammar and Usage Lesson 42
Capitalizing Things and Products: Mechanics Lesson 43TeachGuide-8th
Dangling Modifiers: Grammar and Usage Lesson 43
Capitalizing Holidays and Dates: Mechanics Lesson 44
Verb Phrases: Grammar and Usage Lesson 44
Capitalizing Special Events and Historical Periods: Mechanics Lesson 45
Singular Subject-Verb Agreement: Grammar and Usage Lesson 45
Capitalizing Organizations and Businesses: Mechanics Lesson 46
Plural Subject-Verb Agreement: Grammar and Usage Lesson 46
Capitalizing Languages, Dialects, and People Groups: Mechanics Lesson 47
Shifts in Verb Tense: Grammar and Usage Lesson 47
Question Marks in Dialogue: Mechanics Lesson 48
Progressive Verb Tenses: Grammar and Usage Lesson 48
Exclamation Points: Mechanics Lesson 49
Perfect Verb Tenses: Grammar and Usage Lesson 49
Colons: Mechanics Lesson 50
Adverbial Clauses: Grammar and Usage Lesson 50
Parentheses: Mechanics Lesson 51
Adverb Order: Grammar and Usage Lesson 51
Dashes: Mechanics Lesson 52
Non-standard English Deletions: Grammar and Usage Lesson 52
Brackets: Mechanics Lesson 53
Non-standard English Additions: Grammar and Usage Lesson 53
Capitalizing: Mechanics Lesson 54
Non-standard English Substitutions: Grammar and Usage Lesson 54
Slashes: Mechanics Lesson 55
Common Misused Words: Grammar and Usage Lesson 55
Numbers within Text: Mechanics Lesson 56
Common Misused Words: Grammar and Usage Lesson 56

The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Teaching the Language Strand Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons. The complete lessons also include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out PREVIEW THE TEACHER’S GUIDE AND STUDENT WORKBOOK  to see samples of these comprehensive instructional components.

The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Teaching the Language Strand “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and the non-grade-leveled Teaching Grammar and Mechanics with engaging grammar cartoons (available in print and digital formats).

TeachGuide-6th

Grammar/Mechanics, Writing , , , ,



How to Teach Latin Abbreviations for Time

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 2
Latin Abbreviations for Time: Mechanics Lesson 1

How to Teach Latin Abbreviations for Time                                                        Common Core

We all know that a.m. and p.m. are used to show time. But what do these abbreviations stand for and why do we use them? Before we get to our lesson and answer the question, it’s helpful to understand a bit about how time works. Since the earth is a sphere, it has 360 degrees. In our 24 hour clock each hour would be 15 degrees. The math is simple: 360 divided by 24 = 15. The imaginary longitude lines that go from the North to the South pole are called meridians when we talk about time. Each meridian has 15 degrees, or 1 hour of the 24 hours. Since the earth spins on its axis, but the sun does not, time changes as we go from morning (before noon meridian) to evening (after noon meridian).

Today’s mechanics lesson is on using Latin abbreviations for time. Remember that periods end declarative statements, such as “That is my pen” and imperative commands, such as “Give me my pen.”Periods are also used to abbreviate words and phrases. Let’s read the mechanics lesson and study the examples. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

Now let’s read the mechanics lesson and study the examples.

Use periods to abbreviate the Latin expressions we use to indicate before noon and after noon. Antemeridian is the time from midnight until noon and is abbreviated as “a.m.” Postmeridian is the time from noon until midnight and is abbreviated as “p.m.” Examples: 7:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m.

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to mechanics lesson.

Practice: I woke up this morning at 7:30 AM. because I fell asleep last night at 10:00 p.m.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Mechanics Practice Answers: I woke up this morning at 7:30 a.m. because I fell asleep last night at 10:00 p.m.

Now let’s apply what we have learned.

Writing Application: Write a sentence or two, using both an antemeridian and a postmeridian time. 

Check out and bookmark the 112 Writing Openers and get the instructional scope and links to all 56 grammar and usage lessons and all 56 mechanics lessons.  Plus, subscribe to my YouTube Channel and get the same lessons in video format.

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Teaching the Language Strand (of the Common Core State Standards) Grades 4‒8 programs. Complete language conventions lessons feature the grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons plus simple sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and formative assessments. Additionally, the full-year Teaching the Language Strand curriculum provides a complete spelling patterns program, language application openers, and vocabulary worksheets. Bi-weekly unit tests measure definition, identification, and writing application. Each program includes a comprehensive teacher’s guide with scripted instructions and accompanying student workbooks with the complete lesson text, practice, and assessments. Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with remedial grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling pattern worksheets–all with short formative assessments. In short, every resource you need to teach all of the grade-level Common Core Language Strand Standards and individualize instruction is provided in the Teaching the Language Strand programs. Complete descriptions, instructional scopes and sequences, introductory video, previews, and two-week test drives of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available here.

Grammar/Mechanics, Writing , ,



How to Teach Proper Nouns

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 1
How to Teach Proper Nouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 1

How to Teach Proper Nouns                                                        Common Core

Everyone knows that a noun is a person, place, or thing. But, of course, there are different kinds of people, places, and things.

Today’s grammar and usage lesson is on proper nouns. Remember that there are two kinds of nouns: proper nouns and common nouns. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

Now let’s read the grammar and usage lesson and study the examples.

A proper noun is the name of a person, place, or thing and must be capitalized. A proper noun may be a single word, a group of words (with or without abbreviations), or a hyphenated word.

Examples: John, President of the U.S., African-American

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to grammar and usage lesson.

Practice: At the ceremony held in the State Rotunda, principal Taylor accepted the Blue Ribbon award on behalf of his students, parents, and teachers at Pinewood Middle School.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Grammar and Usage Practice Answers: At the ceremony held in the State Rotunda, Principal Taylor accepted the Blue Ribbon Award on behalf of his students, parents, and teachers at Pinewood Middle School.

Now let’s apply what we have learned.

Writing Application: Write your own sentence using both an abbreviated and hyphenated proper noun.

Check out and bookmark the 112 Writing Openers and get the instructional scope and links to all 56 grammar and usage lessons and all 56 mechanics lessons.  Plus, subscribe to my YouTube Channel and get the same lessons in video format.

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Teaching the Language Strand (of the Common Core State Standards) Grades 4‒8 programs. Complete language conventions lessons feature the grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons plus simple sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and formative assessments. Additionally, the full-year Teaching the Language Strand curriculum provides a complete spelling patterns program, language application openers, and vocabulary worksheets. Bi-weekly unit tests measure definition, identification, and writing application. Each program includes a comprehensive teacher’s guide with scripted instructions and accompanying student workbooks with the complete lesson text, practice, and assessments. Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with remedial grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling pattern worksheets–all with short formative assessments. In short, every resource you need to teach all of the grade-level Common Core Language Strand Standards and individualize instruction is provided in the Teaching the Language Strand programsComplete descriptions, instructional scopes and sequences, introductory video, previews, and two-week test drives of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available here.

Grammar/Mechanics, Writing , ,



How to Teach Abbreviations and Acronyms

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 2
How to Teach Abbreviations and Acronyms: Mechanics Lesson 2

How to Teach Abbreviations and Acronyms                                                      Common Core

Like many languages, English has many forms of written communication. English uses abbreviations and acronyms to shorten words. Actually, even with today’s instant messaging and texting, English and American writers used to use far more shortened forms of writing than today.

Today’s mechanics lesson is on when and when not to use periods in abbreviations and acronyms. Remember to use periods after abbreviated words and after beginning and ending titles of proper nouns, such as “Mr.” and “Sr.” Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

Now let’s read the mechanics lesson and study the examples.

Use periods following the first letter of each key word in an abbreviated title or expression, and pronounce each of these letters when saying the abbreviation. Examples: U.S.A., a.m., p.m.

But, don’t use periods or pronounce the letters in an acronym. Acronyms are special abbreviated titles or expressions that are pronounced as words. Most all acronyms are capitalized. Example: NATO

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to mechanics lesson.

Practice: David has worked outside of the U.S. in many foreign countries, but he now works for N.A.S.A.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Mechanics Practice Answers: David has worked outside of the U.S. in many foreign countries, but he now works for NASA.

Now let’s apply what we have learned.

Writing Application: Write your own sentence using an abbreviated title and an acronym.

Check out and bookmark the 112 Writing Openers and get the instructional scope and links to all 56 grammar and usage lessons and all 56 mechanics lessons.  Plus, subscribe to my YouTube Channel and get the same lessons in video format.

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Teaching the Language Strand (of the Common Core State Standards) Grades 4‒8 programs. Complete language conventions lessons feature the grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons plus simple sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and formative assessments. Additionally, the full-year Teaching the Language Strand curriculum provides a complete spelling patterns program, language application openers, and vocabulary worksheets. Bi-weekly unit tests measure definition, identification, and writing application. Each program includes a comprehensive teacher’s guide with scripted instructions and accompanying student workbooks with the complete lesson text, practice, and assessments. Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with remedial grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling pattern worksheets–all with short formative assessments. In short, every resource you need to teach all of the grade-level Common Core Language Strand Standards and individualize instruction is provided in the Teaching the Language Strand programsComplete descriptions, instructional scopes and sequences, introductory video, previews, and two-week test drives of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available here.

Grammar/Mechanics, Writing , , , , ,



How to Teach Common Nouns

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 1
How to Teach Common Nouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 2

How to Teach Common Nouns                                                      Common Core

Common nouns have two functions different than proper nouns: They are un-named and they include ideas. Because they are un-named, common nouns are more general than specific proper nouns. Common nouns include people, places, and things just like proper nouns, but they also add ideas. Think about it. Without common nouns we would have no freedom, liberty, justice, peace, or love. Maybe common nouns are the most important part of speech after all.

Today’s grammar and usage lesson is on common nouns. Remember that there are two kinds of nouns: proper nouns and common nouns. A proper noun names a person, place, or thing and is capitalized. A common noun is a bit different. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

Now let’s read the grammar and usage lesson and study the examples.

A common noun is an idea, person, place, or thing. It can act or be acted upon and is capitalized only at the start of a sentence. A common noun can be a single word, a group of words, or a hyphenated word. Use common nouns to generalize ideas, persons, places, or things.    Examples: liberty (idea), human (person), capital (place), eye-opener (thing)

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to grammar and usage lesson.

Practice: We Americans sometimes forget that peace has been achieved by brave men and women who left their Country to fight in distant Lands.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Grammar and Usage Practice Answers: We Americans sometimes forget that peace has been achieved by brave men and women who left their country to fight in distant lands.

Now let’s apply what we have learned. 

Writing Application: Write your own sentence using a common noun idea.

Check out and bookmark the 112 Writing Openers and get the instructional scope and links to all 56 grammar and usage lessons and all 56 mechanics lessons.  Plus, subscribe to my YouTube Channel and get the same lessons in video format.

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Teaching the Language Strand (of the Common Core State Standards) Grades 4‒8 programs. Complete language conventions lessons feature the grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons plus simple sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and formative assessments. Additionally, the full-year Teaching the Language Strand curriculum provides a complete spelling patterns program, language application openers, and vocabulary worksheets. Bi-weekly unit tests measure definition, identification, and writing application. Each program includes a comprehensive teacher’s guide with scripted instructions and accompanying student workbooks with the complete lesson text, practice, and assessments. Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with remedial grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling pattern worksheets–all with short formative assessments. In short, every resource you need to teach all of the grade-level Common Core Language Strand Standards and individualize instruction is provided in the Teaching the Language Strand programsComplete descriptions, instructional scopes and sequences, introductory video, previews, and two-week test drives of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available here.

Grammar/Mechanics, Writing , ,



How to Use the Spelling Pretest

The Monday spelling pretest: it’s as American as apple pie. Each of my three sons routinely scored 20/20 on the Monday spelling pretest. They were required to “study” and “practice” these words with an obligatory worksheet, crossword puzzle, or write-the-word-ten-times assignment. They were then tested on these same words on Friday. They learned zilch about spelling from this instructional practice.

The first task of an informed teacher is to determine what students already know and don’t know. The second task of an informed teacher is to make use of the diagnostic data to differentiate and individualize instruction. tls-thumbDSI-C

Here’s how to make sense of the spelling pretest and teach according to the results: Simply follow these five steps:

How to Use the Spelling Pretest

1. Prepare
Create Supplemental Spelling Lists for each student.
A. First, administer a comprehensive diagnostic spelling assessment to determine individual mastery and gaps. (Avoid qualitative inventories which do not clearly identify spelling patterns.) Grade the assessment and print grade-level resource words for each of the spelling pattern gaps.
B. Second, find and print these resources: For remedial spellers−Outlaw Words, Most Often Misspelled Words, Commonly Confused Words. And these: For grade level and accelerated spellers−Greek and Latinate spellings, Tier 2 words used in your current instructional unit. Of course, my curriculum referenced at the end of the article includes these resources.
C. Third, have your students set up spelling notebooks to record the spelling words which they, their parents, or you have corrected in their daily writing.
Now you’re ready to teach.

2. Pretest
Dictate the 15—20 words in the traditional word-sentence-word format to all of your students on Monday. Of course, the words do matter. Rather than selecting unrelated theme words such as colors, holidays, or the like, choose a spelling program which organizes instruction by specific spelling patterns. Here’s a nice  CCSS L.2 Grades 4-8 Spelling Scope and Sequence for spelling.

Have students self-correct from teacher dictation of letters in syllable chunks, marking dots below the correct letters, and marking an “X” through the numbers of any spelling errors. This is an instructional activity that can be performed by second graders. Don’t rob your students of this learning activity by correcting the pretest yourself.

3. Personalize
Students complete their own 15−20 word Personal Spelling List in the following order of priority:
• Pretest Errors: Have the students copy up to ten of their pretest spelling errors onto a Personal Spelling List. Ten words are certainly enough to practice the grade-level spelling pattern.
• Last Week’s Posttest Errors: Have students add up to three spelling errors from last week’s spelling posttest.
• Writing Errors: Have students add up to three student, parent, or teacher-corrected spelling errors found in student writing.
• Spelling Pattern Errors: Have students add on up to three words from one spelling pattern deficit as indicated by the comprehensive diagnostic spelling assessment. Of course, my curriculum referenced at the end of the article includes these resources: Spelling Pattern Worksheets with the spelling pattern/rule clearly explained, example words, spelling sorts, rhymes, word jumbles, writing application, and a short formative assessment.
• Supplemental Spelling Lists: Students select words from these resources to complete the list.

4. Practice
Have students practice their own Personal Spelling Words list.
A. Use direct instruction and example words to demonstrate the weekly spelling pattern.
B. Have students create their own spelling sorts from their Personal Spelling List.
C. Provide class time for paired practice. Spelling is primarily an auditory process.

5. Posttest
On Friday (or why not test every two weeks for older students?) tell students to take out a piece of binder paper and find a partner to exchange dictation of their Personal Spelling List words. Now, this makes instructional sense—actually using the posttest to measure what students have learned! But, you may be thinking…what if they cheat? For the few who cheat…It would be a shame to not differentiate instruction for the many to cater to a few. Truly, they are only cheating themselves.

The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Teaching the Language Strand Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons. (Check out a seventh grade teacher teaching the direct instruction and practice components of these lessons on YouTube.) The complete lessons also include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out PREVIEW THE TEACHER’S GUIDE AND STUDENT WORKBOOK  to see samples of these comprehensive instructional components.

The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Teaching the Language Strand “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and the non-grade-leveled Teaching Grammar and Mechanics with engaging grammar cartoons (available in print and digital formats).

Spelling/Vocabulary , , ,



Making Sense of Community College and Trade School Instruction

As an educational publisher, I receive many emails asking for assistance with products and/or instruction in a variety of settings. Although most of my business is in the K-12 market, I do get plenty of response from community college and trade school professors. Having taught three years (part time) in that setting, I do understand the challenges and rewards of working with adult learners. Those of us in the K-12 community who complain about how tough it is working with our diverse learners should walk two moons in the moccasins of our colleagues at the community colleges and trade schools before we cry “Woe is me.”

Here’s the email (used with the author’s permission).

Wondering what products you might suggest to me as an adult instructor of students 18 -70+ years old enrolled in a jobs training program.  My adult learners in general do well being highly motivated with strong self-initiative.  However, they have problems taking tests written for the specific class subject matter.  My feeling is that some of the lower achievers bring along a suitcase (even a trunk load) of bad study habits; unresolved conceptual learning issues; and other bad life experiences preventing their higher achievement.  Simple things like reading comprehension of test questions; basic math concepts and practical usage, etc. 

The program consists of technical classes such as 40-hour Hazwoper; Confined Space Entry; Stormwater Managment; Chemical Safety Awareness; Underground Storage Tanks; Mold Inspection & Remediation; Alternate Remediation Technologies.  These classes follow federal and state guidelines thus requiring success at 80% levels.

I work to help each student, but it is difficult to first analyze what is wrong (carrying the ones instead of tens in whole number addition) and then figuring out why they are doing what they are.  In the end we work to try to find solutions which they use to see better results on exams, exercises, etc.

Thank you for your help,

Chris Goodman Lead Instructor

 Making Sense of Community College and Trade School Instruction

 

Chris,

Your email is quite similar to many I’ve received, asking for targeted resources for adult learners. You have a tough, but rewarding job. I’ve been there and done that! I taught part time in a community college setting for three years with a student population quite similar to yours. Entering and re-entering the work force at any age can be difficult. I’ve decided to respond at length to your thoughtful email to both commiserate and offer some solutions to your challenging instructional needs based upon my own experience.

At the community college I taught lecture classes and also served in the Learning Resource Center. In this large complex, professors staffed the Reading Center, Writing Center, and Math Center from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily.

The instructional design of each of the Learning Resource Centers had some significant strengths:

  • Diagnostic reading, writing, and math exams were administered and scored in the Counseling Center. “Cut-off” scores were established and students who scored below were assigned to the relevant center for tutorial instruction while concurrently taking required classes in their selected instructional programs. Completion of the tutorial instruction served as prerequisites to certain core classes.
  • Learning was self-paced with the Learning Resource Center open twelve hours a day for student drop-in. So important for working adults.
  • Students completed  individualized learning plans and set their own learning goals.
  • Content professors “bought into” the instructional design and referred students for tutorial assistance.
  • We professors wrote, purchased, or “borrowed” curriculum catered to both student interest and need.
  • Credit was variable and flexible: Students worked on short-term specific learning modules in reading, writing, and math with check-in and review by the professors. Most modules were designed to be completed within 7.5 hours for the average student, and students earned .5 units. Some comprehensive modules were designed to be completed within 45 hours with students earning 3.0 units. Other modules ranged in between these extremes. Many of the learning modules permitted students to work together to complete the learning tasks. This “learning community” was nurtured by caring professors.
  • Much of the generic study skills curriculum was excellent and appropriate for most all students in each of the three centers.

The instructional design of each of the Learning Resource Centers had some significant weaknesses:

As you mentioned in your email, “… it is difficult to first analyze what is wrong.”

Despite the appropriate entry-level reading, writing, and math assessments, no further specific diagnostic assessments were given within the respective centers. Thus, professors knew that the student “had a problem” in reading, writing, or math; however, trial and error via student feedback and completed work was the only means of more refined assessment of student need. Highly inefficient. Plus many students failed in their first learning modules until their completed work was analyzed by a professor; others students completed work on content and skills already mastered.

With no specific diagnostic assessments, the curriculum did not match the diagnosed learning deficits of the individual student. Furthermore, few formative assessments were built into the instructional design of the individual modules. Although student did complete the modules, professors had no vehicle to assess whether the content or skills had been mastered as a whole and no item analysis to be able to refine and assign remedial learning tasks to help students achieve mastery.

In subsequent years I’ve written English-language arts curriculum to address these weaknesses. Some of the following resources I will recommend are direct instruction; however, most of the resources are individualized instruction. My credo has been “Help students catch up, while they keep up with age or grade-level instruction.” Resources include the specific diagnostic resources (simple, short, and comprehensive and administered “whole class,” … not individually) with self-paced curriculum designed to address each diagnostic need. Each targeted worksheet includes definitions, examples, practice, application, and a quick formative assessment. Supplementary resources provide additional practice with un-mastered content and skills. Recording matrices help teachers and students track individual progress. Each curriculum is offered in both print and digital formats*

For reading: Teaching Reading Strategies

Mark Pennington, MA Reading Specialist, is the author of the comprehensive reading intervention curriculum, Teaching Reading Strategies. Designed to significantly increase the reading abilities of students ages eight through adult within one year, the curriculum is decidedly un-canned, is adaptable to various instructional settings, and is simple to use—a perfect choice for Response to Intervention tiered instructional levels. Get multiple choice diagnostic reading assessments , formative assessments, blending and syllabication activitiesphonemic awareness, and phonics workshops, comprehension worksheets, multi-level fluency passages recorded at three different reading speeds and accessed on YouTube, 390 flashcards, posters, activities, and games.

Also get the accompanying Sam and Friends Phonics Books. These eight-page decodable take-home books include sight words, word fluency practice, and phonics instruction aligned to the instructional sequence found in Teaching Reading Strategies. Each book is illustrated by master cartoonist, David Rickert. The cartoons, characters, and plots are designed to be appreciated by both older remedial readers and younger beginning readers. The teenage characters are multi-ethnic and the stories reinforce positive values and character development. Your students (and parents) will love these fun, heart-warming, and comical stories about the adventures of Sam and his friends: Tom, Kit, and Deb. Oh, and also that crazy dog, Pug.

Everything teachers need to teach a diagnostically-based reading intervention program for struggling readers at all reading levels is found in this comprehensive curriculum. Ideal for students reading two or more grade levels below current grade level, English-language learners, and Special Education students. Simple directions and well-crafted activities truly make this an almost no-prep curriculum. Works well as a half-year intensive program or full-year program, with or without paraprofessional assistance.

For writing: Teaching Essay Strategies is a comprehensive essay curriculum designed to teach the essay strand of the Common Core State Standards. This step-by-step program provides all of the resources teachers to differentiate essay instruction with 8 writing process essays, 42 essay strategy lessons, over 150 interactive writing openers, and over 50 remedial and advanced mini-lessons with accompanying worksheets. Chris, the downloadable essay e-comments bank of 438 writing response comments will cut your essay response and grading time in half.

For grammar, usage, and mechanics: Teaching Grammar and Mechanics or the comprehensive Teaching the Language Strand Grades 4-8 These curricula are specifically aligned to the Common Core State Standards Language Strand (L.1, L.2). The user-friendly programs provide the full spectrum of basic to advanced skills to teach 4th-12th grade grammar, mechanics, and spelling standards in both reading and writing contexts. Get 64 interactive lessons, each with rules, examples, literary sentence modeling, error analysis, sentence manipulation, simple sentence diagramming, dictation practice, and engaging grammar cartoons. These scripted lessons are formatted for LCD/overhead projection and require no teacher prep or correction. Also get whole-class diagnostic assessments to differentiate instruction with 72 remedial worksheets. Chris, your students would certainly benefit from the targeted worksheets matched to their specific needs as indicated by the diagnostic assessments. A great resource for your English-language learners as well.

For study skills: Essential Study Skills is the study skill curriculum that teaches what students need to know to succeed and thrive in school. Often, the reason why students fail to achieve their academic potential is not because of laziness or lack of effort, but because they have never learned the basic study skills necessary for success. The forty lessons in Essential Study Skills will teach your students to “work smarter, not harder.” Students who master these skills will spend less time, and accomplish more during homework and study time. Their test study will be more productive and they will get better grades. Reading comprehension and vocabulary will improve. Their writing will make more sense and essays will be easier to plan and complete. They will memorize better and forget less. Their schoolwork will seem easier and will be much more enjoyable. Lastly, students will feel better about themselves as learners and will be more motivated to succeed. Essential Study Skills is the ideal curriculum for study skill, life skill, Advocacy/Advisory, Opportunity Program classes. The easy-to-follow lesson format of 1. Personal Assessment 2. Study Skill Tips and 3. Reflection is ideal for self-guided learning and practice. Teachers may post the program on class websites. The affordable site licenses are ideal for an instructional setting such as you describe.

Best of luck working on your instructional delivery model and I hope these products will benefit your students. Wish I had them when I was teaching in that setting.

Mark Pennington

 

Grammar/Mechanics, Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary, Study Skills, Writing



How to Teach Nonrestrictive Relative Clauses

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 1
How to Teach Nonrestrictive Relative Clauses: Grammar and Usage Lesson 30

How to Teach Nonrestrictive Relative Clauses                                                    Common Core

Sometimes the terms we use to label grammatical structures seem just crazy. However, the wording of grammatical terms is important. Using precise, or exact, academic language helps us compare, contrast, and categorize. These grammatical terms allow to say exactly what we mean and have meaningful conversations about how to improve our writing.

Today’s grammar and usage lesson is on nonrestrictive relative clauses. Remember to use commas to set off nonrestrictive relative clauses from the noun or pronoun before the clause. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

Now let’s read the grammar and usage lesson and study the examples.

Nonrestrictive relative clauses serve as adjectives to modify the preceding noun or pronoun, but they do not limit, restrict, or define the meaning of that noun or pronoun. The clause could be removed without changing the basic meaning of the sentence.

The relative pronouns who, whom, whose,and which, but not that, begin nonrestrictive relative clauses. The who refers to people and which refers to specific things. Example: The man, whose watch is gold, asked me for help.

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to grammar and usage lesson.

Practice: The woman which never told the truth claimed to have seen a spaceship, which no one else happened to see.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Grammar and Usage Practice Answers: The woman, who never told the truth, claimed to have seen a spaceship, which no one else happened to see.

Now let’s apply what we have learned. 

Writing Application: Write your own sentence using a nonrestrictive relative clause at the end of the sentence.

Check out and bookmark the 112 Writing Openers and get the instructional scope and links to all 56 grammar and usage lessons and all 56 mechanics lessons.  Plus, subscribe to my YouTube Channel and get the same lessons in video format.

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Teaching the Language Strand (of the Common Core State Standards) Grades 4‒8 programs. Complete language conventions lessons feature the grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons plus simple sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and formative assessments. Additionally, the full-year Teaching the Language Strand curriculum provides a complete spelling patterns program, language application openers, and vocabulary worksheets. Bi-weekly unit tests measure definition, identification, and writing application. Each program includes a comprehensive teacher’s guide with scripted instructions and accompanying student workbooks with the complete lesson text, practice, and assessments. Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with remedial grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling pattern worksheets–all with quick formative assessments. In short, every resource you need to teach all of the grade-level Common Core Language Strand Standards and individualize instruction is provided in the Teaching the Language Strand programsComplete descriptions, instructional scopes and sequences, introductory video, previews, and two-week test drives of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available here.

Grammar/Mechanics, Writing , ,



How to Teach Compound-Complex Sentences

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 1
How to Teach Compound-Complex Sentences: Grammar and Usage Lesson 21

How to Teach Compound-Complex Sentences                                                     Common Core

Good writers focus on their readers. Readers understand more of what is written when there is some sentence variety. If every sentence is a short, simple sentence, the reader will be bored quickly. The same is true if every sentence is long.

Today’s grammar and usage lesson is on compound-complex sentences. Remember that a simple sentence has one independent clause and no dependent clause. A compound sentence has two or more independent clauses, but no dependent clauses. A complex sentence has an independent clause and at least one dependent clause. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

Now let’s read the grammar and usage lesson and study the examples.

A compound-complex sentence has two or more independent clauses and a dependent clause. Example: I like him and he likes me, even if we don’t see each other very much.

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to grammar and usage lesson.

Practice: I let them talk since I had already spent time with her and I loaded the car.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Grammar and Usage Practice Answers: Since I had already spent time with her, I let them talk and I loaded the car.

Now let’s apply what we have learned.

Writing Application: Write your own sentence using a compound-complex sentence.

Check out and bookmark the 112 Writing Openers and get the instructional scope and links to all 56 grammar and usage lessons and all 56 mechanics lessons.  Plus, subscribe to my YouTube Channel and get the same lessons in video format.

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Teaching the Language Strand (of the Common Core State Standards) Grades 4‒8 programs. Complete language conventions lessons feature the grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons plus simple sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and formative assessments. Additionally, the full-year Teaching the Language Strand curriculum provides a complete spelling patterns program, language application openers, and vocabulary worksheets. Bi-weekly unit tests measure definition, identification, and writing application. Each program includes a comprehensive teacher’s guide with scripted instructions and accompanying student workbooks with the complete lesson text, practice, and assessments. Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with remedial grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling pattern worksheets–all with quick formative assessments. In short, every resource you need to teach all of the grade-level Common Core Language Strand Standards and individualize instruction is provided in the Teaching the Language Strand programsComplete descriptions, instructional scopes and sequences, introductory video, previews, and two-week test drives of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available here.

Grammar/Mechanics, Writing , ,



How to Teach Possessive Pronouns

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 1
How to Teach Possessive Pronouns: Grammar and Mechanics Lesson 7

How to Teach Possessive Pronouns                                                Common Core

To possess means to own or control something. We might say that you possess a smart phone or you possess the ability to learn. Both nouns and pronouns can be in the possessive case because they can own or control something.

Today’s grammar and usage lesson is on possessive pronouns. Remember that a pronoun takes the place of a noun. A pronoun may also modify a noun. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

Now let’s read the grammar and mechanics lesson and study the examples.

Possessive pronouns show ownership and may be used before a noun or without a noun.

Before a noun—my, your, his, her, its, our, your, their

When a possessive pronoun is used before a noun, it modifies the noun. The verb matches the noun, not the pronoun. Example: Our house seems small.

Without a noun—mine, yours, his, hers, ours, yours, theirs

When a possessive pronoun is used without a noun, the verb must match the noun which the pronoun represents. Example: Mary said that my jacket is nice, but hers is nicer.

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to grammar and mechanics lesson.

Practice: We took our donations to the shelter. Their clothes were brand new, but my were used.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Grammar and Mechanics Practice Answers: We took our donations to the shelter. Their clothes were brand new, but mine were used.

Now let’s apply what we have learned.

Writing Application: Write your own sentences using a possessive pronoun before a noun and a possessive pronoun without a noun.

Check out and bookmark the 112 Writing Openers and get the instructional scope and links to all 56 grammar and usage lessons and all 56 mechanics lessons.  Plus, subscribe to my YouTube Channel and get the same lessons in video format.

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Teaching the Language Strand (of the Common Core State Standards) Grades 4‒8 programs. Complete language conventions lessons feature the grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons plus simple sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and formative assessments. Additionally, the full-year Teaching the Language Strand curriculum provides a complete spelling patterns program, language application openers, and vocabulary worksheets. Bi-weekly unit tests measure definition, identification, and writing application. Each program includes a comprehensive teacher’s guide with scripted instructions and accompanying student workbooks with the complete lesson text, practice, and assessments. Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with remedial grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling pattern worksheets–all with quick formative assessments. In short, every resource you need to teach all of the grade-level Common Core Language Strand Standards and individualize instruction is provided in the Teaching the Language Strand programsComplete descriptions, instructional scopes and sequences, introductory video, previews, and two-week test drives of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available here.

Grammar/Mechanics, Writing , ,



How to Teach Subject Case Pronouns

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 1
How to Teach Subject Case Pronouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 5

How to Teach Subject Case Pronouns                                                        Common Core

Just like nouns, English has different types of pronouns for different purposes. To know when to use a “she,” “her,” and “hers” requires a bit of practice.

Today’s grammar and usage lesson is on subject case pronouns. Remember that a pronoun takes the place of a noun. Using subject case pronouns avoids repetitious nouns, especially in dialogue. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

Now let’s read the grammar and usage lesson and study the examples.

Writers use pronouns to take the place of nouns. One type of pronoun is called a subject case pronoun because it acts as the subject of a sentence. The subject is the “do-er” of the sentence.

These are the subject case pronouns:

Singular—I, you, he, she, it, who        Plural—we, you, they, who

Example: They brought a basket of flowers.

Also use subject case pronouns following “to be” verbs (is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been) to identify or refer to the subject as predicate nominatives. Example: It is I.

Place the first person singular pronoun (I) last in compound subjects. Example: Paul and I left. If unsure whether a pronoun should be in the subject case, rephrase the sentence with the pronoun at the start of the sentence. Example: The winner was me. Rephrase: I was the winner.

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to grammar and usage lesson.

Practice: Pedro and I just want to know if the burglar really was him or his friend.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Grammar and Usage Practice Answers: Pedro and I just want to know if the burglar really was he or his friend.

Now let’s apply what we have learned. 

Writing Application: Write your own sentence using singular and plural subject case pronouns.

Check out and bookmark the 112 Writing Openers and get the instructional scope and links to all 56 grammar and usage lessons and all 56 mechanics lessons.  Plus, subscribe to my YouTube Channel and get the same lessons in video format.

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Teaching the Language Strand (of the Common Core State Standards) Grades 4‒8 programs. Complete language conventions lessons feature the grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons plus simple sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and formative assessments. Additionally, the full-year Teaching the Language Strand curriculum provides a complete spelling patterns program, language application openers, and vocabulary worksheets. Bi-weekly unit tests measure definition, identification, and writing application. Each program includes a comprehensive teacher’s guide with scripted instructions and accompanying student workbooks with the complete lesson text, practice, and assessments. Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with remedial grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling pattern worksheets–all with quick formative assessments. In short, every resource you need to teach all of the grade-level Common Core Language Strand Standards and individualize instruction is provided in the Teaching the Language Strand programsComplete descriptions, instructional scopes and sequences, introductory video, previews, and two-week test drives of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available here.

Grammar/Mechanics, Writing , ,



How to Teach Alphanumeric Outlines

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 2
How to Teach Alphanumeric Outlines: Mechanics Lesson 4

How to Teach Alphanumeric Outlines                                                    Common Core

Learning how to take notes from reading and lectures is essential to your success as a student. Note are summaries of the key ideas and include main points, major details, and minor details. We often use symbols to represent these levels of organization.

Today’s mechanics lesson is on using periods in alphanumeric outlines to indicate levels of ideas. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

Now let’s read the mechanics lesson and study the examples.

Alphanumeric Outlines use numbers, letters, and periods to organize information. The first letter of the word, group of words, or sentence that follows each symbol is capitalized.

  • Main ideas are listed as Roman numerals on the left margin and are followed by periods. Examples: I. II. III. IV. V. VI. VII. VIII. IX. X.
  • Major details are listed as Arabic numerals and are indented on the lines below the main ideas. Major details modify the main ideas. Modify means to describe, change, or limit. The Arabic numerals are capitalized and are followed by periods. Examples: A., B., C.
  • The first minor detail modifies the major detail and is double indented on the next line. It begins with the Arabic numeral 1 followed by a period.
  • The second minor detail is double indented on the next line and listed as 2.

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to mechanics lesson.

Practice: The sixth main idea is IV; the fourth major detail is d; and the third minor detail is 3.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Mechanics Practice Answers: The sixth main idea is VI; the fourth major detail is D; and the third minor detail is 3.

Now let’s apply what we have learned. 

Writing Application: Write your own alphanumeric outline to describe your ideal birthday dinner.

Check out and bookmark the 112 Writing Openers and get the instructional scope and links to all 56 grammar and usage lessons and all 56 mechanics lessons.  Plus, subscribe to my YouTube Channel and get the same lessons in video format.

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Teaching the Language Strand (of the Common Core State Standards) Grades 4‒8 programs. Complete language conventions lessons feature the grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons plus simple sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and formative assessments. Additionally, the full-year Teaching the Language Strand curriculum provides a complete spelling patterns program, language application openers, and vocabulary worksheets. Bi-weekly unit tests measure definition, identification, and writing application. Each program includes a comprehensive teacher’s guide with scripted instructions and accompanying student workbooks with the complete lesson text, practice, and assessments. Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with remedial grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling pattern worksheets–all with quick formative assessments. In short, every resource you need to teach all of the grade-level Common Core Language Strand Standards and individualize instruction is provided in the Teaching the Language Strand programsComplete descriptions, instructional scopes and sequences, introductory video, previews, and two-week test drives of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available here.

Grammar/Mechanics, Writing , ,



How to Teach Non-standard English Commonly Misused Words 2

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 1
How to Teach Non-standard English Commonly Misused Words: Grammar and Usage Lesson 56

How to Teach Non-standard English Commonly Misused Words 2                                                       Common Core

We speak differently in different social situations. Hopefully, you talk to your mom and teacher differently than the way you talk to your friends. Most of us text differently than the way we write an essay. After all, beginning an essay with “BTW some so reb ldrs thot they really would win the civil war LOL” will probably not impress your history teacher. Students definitely need to learn the fine art of “code switching.” To code switch means to consider your audience and adjust what you say or write and how you do so. Using non-standard English in the wrong setting, such as in the classroom, is important to recognize and avoid.

Today’s grammar and usage lesson is on Non-standard English Commonly Misused Words. Remember that Non-standard English often differs from Standard English because of regional or cultural dialects. Often we are used to hearing and saying words or expressions that are not Standard English. Now let’s read the mechanics lesson and study the examples. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

Now let’s read the grammar and usage lesson and study the examples.

Following are commonly misused words:

  • Additions: We should say anyway, not anyways. We should say toward, not towards.
  • Deletions: We should say used to, not use to. We should say nothing, not nothin’. something, not somethin’, and anything, not anythin’. Example: I used to play guitar.
  • Misused Phrases: We should say I couldn’t care less, not I could care less. We should say once in a while, not once and a while. We should say any more, not no more. We should say could have, not could of. And no would of, should of, might of.

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to grammar and usage lesson.

Practice:  I could care less if you put somethin’ towards the balance of the loan. That amount doesn’t matter much anyways.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Grammar and Usage Practice Answers:  I couldn’t care less if you put something toward the balance of the loan. That amount doesn’t matter much anyway.

Now let’s apply what we have learned. 

Writing Application: Write your own sentence using a commonly misused phrase.

Check out and bookmark the 112 Writing Openers and get the instructional scope and links to all 56 grammar and usage lessons and all 56 mechanics lessons.  Plus, subscribe to my YouTube Channel and get the same lessons in video format.

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Teaching the Language Strand (of the Common Core State Standards) Grades 4‒8 programs. Complete language conventions lessons feature the grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons plus simple sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and formative assessments. Additionally, the full-year Teaching the Language Strand curriculum provides a complete spelling patterns program, language application openers, and vocabulary worksheets. Bi-weekly unit tests measure definition, identification, and writing application. Each program includes a comprehensive teacher’s guide with scripted instructions and accompanying student workbooks with the complete lesson text, practice, and assessments. Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with remedial grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling pattern worksheets–all with quick formative assessments. In short, every resource you need to teach all of the grade-level Common Core Language Strand Standards and individualize instruction is provided in the Teaching the Language Strand programsComplete descriptions, instructional scopes and sequences, introductory video, previews, and two-week test drives of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available here.

Grammar/Mechanics, Writing , ,



How to Teach Numbers within Text

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 2
How to Teach Numbers within Text: Mechanics Lesson 56

How to Teach Numbers within Text                                                     Common Core

How to properly write numbers outside of your math class can be quite confusing. Maybe it’s because we don’t even use our own numbers. We borrow Roman numerals for formal outlines and the dates at the end of our favorite movies. We use Arabic numerals for just about everything else. Arabic numerals are the symbols for our number system and most all the world uses them.

Today’s mechanics lesson is on how to write numbers within text. Now let’s read the mechanics lesson and study the examples. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

Now let’s read the mechanics lesson and study the examples.

Spell out numbers from one to nine, but use Arabic numerals for #s10 and larger. However, spell out the number if used at the beginning of a sentence. Examples: five, 24, Six is a lot of donuts.

If a sentence has one number from one to nine and others larger, use Arabic numerals for all. Examples: Both numbers 2 and 12 were selected.

If numbers are next to each other, use the Arabic numeral for one and spell out the other. Examples: We ate 3 six-inch sandwiches.

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to mechanics lesson. 

Practice: “Twelve is a dozen. However, we say that 13 is a baker’s dozen and two is a pair.”

Let’s check the Practice Answers. 

Mechanics Practice Answers: “Twelve is a dozen. However, we say that 13 is a baker’s dozen and 2 is a pair.”

Now let’s apply what we have learned. 

Writing Application: Write your own sentence using 1 number from 1-9 and 1 number above 10.

Check out and bookmark the 112 Writing Openers and get the instructional scope and links to all 56 grammar and usage lessons and all 56 mechanics lessons.  Plus, subscribe to my YouTube Channel and get the same lessons in video format.

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Teaching the Language Strand (of the Common Core State Standards) Grades 4‒8 programs. Complete language conventions lessons feature the grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons plus simple sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and formative assessments. Additionally, the full-year Teaching the Language Strand curriculum provides a complete spelling patterns program, language application openers, and vocabulary worksheets. Bi-weekly unit tests measure definition, identification, and writing application. Each program includes a comprehensive teacher’s guide with scripted instructions and accompanying student workbooks with the complete lesson text, practice, and assessments. Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with remedial grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling pattern worksheets–all with quick formative assessments. In short, every resource you need to teach all of the grade-level Common Core Language Strand Standards and individualize instruction is provided in the Teaching the Language Strand programsComplete descriptions, instructional scopes and sequences, introductory video, previews, and two-week test drives of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available here.

Grammar/Mechanics, Writing , ,



How to Teach Non-standard English Commonly Misused Words 1

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 1
How to Teach Non-standard English Commonly Misused Words: Grammar and Usage Lesson 55

How to Teach Non-standard English Commonly Misused Words 1                                                        Common Core

Sometimes we hear an incorrect word or phrase so often that it sounds correct. Learning to pay attention to those commonly misused words and phrases will help you use them correctly in your speaking and writing.

Today’s grammar and usage lesson is on Non-standard English Commonly Misused Words. Remember that Non-standard English often differs from Standard English because of regional or cultural dialects. Often we are used to hearing and saying words that are not Standard English. Let’s read the grammar and usage lesson and study the examples. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

Now let’s read the grammar and usage lesson and study the examples.

Following are commonly misused words:

  • Farther refers to a physical distance. Example: How much farther is the next restaurant? Further refers to a degree or more time. Example: Further your knowledge by reading.
  • Beside means “next to.” Examples: She sits beside me. Besides means “except” or “furthermore.” Example: No one is having fun besides him. I am tired, besides I am sick.
  • Less deals with an amount, but can’t be counted. Example: I want less food. Fewer deals with an amount you can count. Example: I want fewer apples, not more.
  • Disinterested describes a person who is neutral, fair, and impartial. Example: The disinterested referee made the call. Uninterested describes a person who is not interested. Example: The uninterested girl paid no attention to the flirtatious boy.
  • Allowed means permitted. Example: Parking is allowed on this street. Aloud means heard by others. Example: He spoke aloud to the class.

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to grammar and usage lesson.

Practice: I’m really disinterested about the season. I am watching less games than ever. Plus, the stadium is further than I want to go and tailgating isn’t aloud. And I have to sit beside a stranger.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Mechanics Practice Answers: I’m really disinterested about the season. I am watching fewer games than ever. Plus, the stadium is farther than I want to go and tailgating isn’t allowed. And I have to sit beside a stranger.

Now let’s apply what we have learned.

Writing Application:  Write your own sentence using a non-standard English Commonly Misused Words. Then write a second sentence correcting that non-standard English.

Check out and bookmark the 112 Writing Openers and get the instructional scope and links to all 56 grammar and usage lessons and all 56 mechanics lessons.  Plus, subscribe to my YouTube Channel and get the same lessons in video format.

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Teaching the Language Strand (of the Common Core State Standards) Grades 4‒8 programs. Complete language conventions lessons feature the grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons plus simple sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and formative assessments. Additionally, the full-year Teaching the Language Strand curriculum provides a complete spelling patterns program, language application openers, and vocabulary worksheets. Bi-weekly unit tests measure definition, identification, and writing application. Each program includes a comprehensive teacher’s guide with scripted instructions and accompanying student workbooks with the complete lesson text, practice, and assessments. Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with remedial grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling pattern worksheets–all with quick formative assessments. In short, every resource you need to teach all of the grade-level Common Core Language Strand Standards and individualize instruction is provided in the Teaching the Language Strand programsComplete descriptions, instructional scopes and sequences, introductory video, previews, and two-week test drives of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available here.

Grammar/Mechanics, Writing , ,



How to Teach Slashes

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 2
How to Teach Slashes: Mechanics Lesson 55

How to Teach Slashes                                                       Common Core

English has a variety of punctuation marks which may be used for the same function. For example, brackets and parentheses can be used interchangeably. We can use parentheses, dashes, or commas to set off appositives to identify, define, or explain a preceding noun or pronoun. However, slashes have their own special function, though they are often misused and abused. With informal writing, such as texts and notes, misusing punctuation is no real problem, but in formal writing, such as essays, research papers, and business letters, proper punctuation is important.

Today’s mechanics lesson is on how to use slashes. Now let’s read the mechanics lesson and study the examples. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

Now let’s read the grammar and usage lesson and study the examples.

In informal writing, use a slash to separate dates, abbreviate, or to mean or. Examples: The dinner is scheduled on 3/11/2013 as a b/w (black or white tie) event for him/her.

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to mechanics lesson.

Practice: You could give the present to either him-her and (or) the letter any day after 11/24.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Mechanics Practice Answers: You could give the present to either him/her and/or the letter any day after 11/24.

Now let’s apply what we have learned.

Writing Application: Write your own sentence using slashes.

Check out and bookmark the 112 Writing Openers and get the instructional scope and links to all 56 grammar and usage lessons and all 56 mechanics lessons.  Plus, subscribe to my YouTube Channel and get the same lessons in video format.

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Teaching the Language Strand (of the Common Core State Standards) Grades 4‒8 programs. Complete language conventions lessons feature the grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons plus simple sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and formative assessments. Additionally, the full-year Teaching the Language Strand curriculum provides a complete spelling patterns program, language application openers, and vocabulary worksheets. Bi-weekly unit tests measure definition, identification, and writing application. Each program includes a comprehensive teacher’s guide with scripted instructions and accompanying student workbooks with the complete lesson text, practice, and assessments. Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with remedial grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling pattern worksheets–all with quick formative assessments. In short, every resource you need to teach all of the grade-level Common Core Language Strand Standards and individualize instruction is provided in the Teaching the Language Strand programsComplete descriptions, instructional scopes and sequences, introductory video, previews, and two-week test drives of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available here.

Grammar/Mechanics, Writing , ,



How to Teach Non-standard English Substitutions

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 1
How to Teach Non-standard English Substitutions: Grammar and Usage Lesson 54

How to Teach Non-standard English Substitutions                                                        Common Core

The study of languages is fascinating. In particular, learning about dialects helps us appreciate our differences. Dialect is a form of a language that is spoken by a specific group of people in a certain area and uses some of its own words, grammar, and pronunciations. 

Today’s grammar and usage lesson is on Non-standard English Substitutions. Remember that Non-standard English often differs from Standard English because of regional or cultural dialects. The progressive verb tense is used to indicate an ongoing physical or mental action or state of being. The present progressive connects am, are, or is to a present participle (a verb with an “__ing” ending). The forms of the “to be” verb are is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been. Now let’s read the grammar and usage lesson and study the examples. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

Now let’s read the grammar and usage lessons and study the examples.

Don’t substitute be for is to create an ongoing action in Standard English. Example: He be so funny. Instead, use the present progressive verb tense to connect am, are, or is to a present participle (a verb with an “__ing” ending). Revisions: He is so funny; He is being so funny.

Also, use the proper form of the “to be” verb to match its subject. Example: She were late. Revision: She was late.

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to grammar and usage lesson.

Practice: They be given plenty of money. They is lying if they say they don’t have enough.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Mechanics Practice Answers: They are given plenty of money. They are lying if they say they don’t have enough.

Now let’s apply what we have learned. 

Writing Application: Write your own sentence using a non-standard English substitution. Then write a second sentence correcting that non-standard English.

Check out and bookmark the 112 Writing Openers and get the instructional scope and links to all 56 grammar and usage lessons and all 56 mechanics lessons.  Plus, subscribe to my YouTube Channel and get the same lessons in video format.

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Teaching the Language Strand (of the Common Core State Standards) Grades 4‒8 programs. Complete language conventions lessons feature the grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons plus simple sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and formative assessments. Additionally, the full-year Teaching the Language Strand curriculum provides a complete spelling patterns program, language application openers, and vocabulary worksheets. Bi-weekly unit tests measure definition, identification, and writing application. Each program includes a comprehensive teacher’s guide with scripted instructions and accompanying student workbooks with the complete lesson text, practice, and assessments. Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with remedial grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling pattern worksheets–all with quick formative assessments. In short, every resource you need to teach all of the grade-level Common Core Language Strand Standards and individualize instruction is provided in the Teaching the Language Strand programsComplete descriptions, instructional scopes and sequences, introductory video, previews, and two-week test drives of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available here.

Grammar/Mechanics, Writing , ,



How to Teach Hyphens

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 2
How to Teach Hyphens: Mechanics Lesson 54

How to Teach Hyphens                                                        Common Core

Hyphens are short dashes used to combine words. When the hyphen combines words and becomes part of common usage, the editors of our dictionaries decide to drop the hyphen and the two words become a compound noun. The only way to know whether the words are hyphenated or combined into a single compound word is to look up the word(s) in a print or online dictionary.

Today’s mechanics lesson is on how to use hyphens. A hyphen is a short dash (-) used to combine words. Hyphens join base words to form compound words. Hyphens are also used for numbers and spelled-out fractions. Additionally, hyphens join compound adjectives. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

Now let’s read the mechanics lesson and study the examples.

Use hyphens for compound adverbs that don’t end in “_ly,” when used before nouns. A compound adverb has two connected adverbs. Example: The much-requested song

When the compound adverb is after the noun, don’t hyphenate. Example: Her wishes were always well known.

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to mechanics lesson.

Practice: I woke up this morning at 7:30 AM. because I fell asleep last night at 10:00 p.m.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Mechanics Practice Answers: I woke up this morning at 7:30 a.m. because I fell asleep last night at 10:00 p.m.

Now let’s apply what we have learned.

Writing Application: Write your own sentence using a hyphen.

Check out and bookmark the 112 Writing Openers and get the instructional scope and links to all 56 grammar and usage lessons and all 56 mechanics lessons.  Plus, subscribe to my YouTube Channel and get the same lessons in video format.

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Teaching the Language Strand (of the Common Core State Standards) Grades 4‒8 programs. Complete language conventions lessons feature the grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons plus simple sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and formative assessments. Additionally, the full-year Teaching the Language Strand curriculum provides a complete spelling patterns program, language application openers, and vocabulary worksheets. Bi-weekly unit tests measure definition, identification, and writing application. Each program includes a comprehensive teacher’s guide with scripted instructions and accompanying student workbooks with the complete lesson text, practice, and assessments. Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with remedial grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling pattern worksheets–all with quick formative assessments. In short, every resource you need to teach all of the grade-level Common Core Language Strand Standards and individualize instruction is provided in the Teaching the Language Strand programsComplete descriptions, instructional scopes and sequences, introductory video, previews, and two-week test drives of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available here.

Grammar/Mechanics, Writing , ,



How to Teach Non-standard English Additions

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 1
How to Teach Non-standard English Additions: Grammar and Usage Lesson 53

How to Teach Non-standard English Additions                                                        Common Core

Some people can’t leave “well enough alone.” In other words, they have to add on more than what is needed. People do this in their speaking and writing as well.

Today’s grammar and usage lesson is on Non-standard English Additions. Non-standard English often differs from Standard English because of regional or cultural dialects. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

Now let’s read the grammar and usage lesson and study the examples.

Avoid using non-standard use additions. Don’t add the of or on prepositions when unnecessary. Examples: Get off of my couch. Don’t blame on me for that.

When writing in Standard English, do not use double negatives. Example: Don’t use no notes on the test.

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to grammar and usage lesson.

Practice: All of a sudden, she changed her mind. She said she did it on accident. She never did nothing like that before now.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Grammar and Usage Practice Answers: Suddenly, she changed her mind. She said she did it accidentally. She never did anything like that before now.

Now let’s apply what we have learned.

Writing Application: Write your own sentence using a non-standard English addition. Then write a second sentence correcting that non-standard English.

Check out and bookmark the 112 Writing Openers and get the instructional scope and links to all 56 grammar and usage lessons and all 56 mechanics lessons.  Plus, subscribe to my YouTube Channel and get the same lessons in video format.

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Teaching the Language Strand (of the Common Core State Standards) Grades 4‒8 programs. Complete language conventions lessons feature the grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons plus simple sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and formative assessments. Additionally, the full-year Teaching the Language Strand curriculum provides a complete spelling patterns program, language application openers, and vocabulary worksheets. Bi-weekly unit tests measure definition, identification, and writing application. Each program includes a comprehensive teacher’s guide with scripted instructions and accompanying student workbooks with the complete lesson text, practice, and assessments. Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with remedial grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling pattern worksheets–all with quick formative assessments. In short, every resource you need to teach all of the grade-level Common Core Language Strand Standards and individualize instruction is provided in the Teaching the Language Strand programsComplete descriptions, instructional scopes and sequences, introductory video, previews, and two-week test drives of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available here.

Grammar/Mechanics, Writing , ,



How to Teach Brackets

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 2
How to Teach Brackets: Mechanics Lesson 53

How to Teach Brackets                                                 Common Core

English has a wide variety of punctuation. The British use brackets the way Americans use parentheses. Punctuation is based more upon tradition than upon clearly defined rules.

Today’s mechanics lesson is on how to use brackets. Brackets can serve the same purpose as parentheses. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

Now let’s read the mechanics lesson and study the examples.

Use brackets to provide missing or explanatory information within direct quotations. Example: You found it [the missing coat] on the table.

In scripts and plays, brackets are also used as stage directions both inside and outside of dialogue. Example: [Nervously] I don’t know what you mean.

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to mechanics lesson.

Practice: “Please refer to the Addendum-page 71-to review the violations [of the city ordinances],” the attorney counseled.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Mechanics Practice Answers: “Please refer to the Addendum [page 71] to review the violations [of the city ordinances],” the attorney counseled.

Now let’s apply what we’ve learned. 

Writing Application: Write your own sentence using brackets.

 

Check out and bookmark the 112 Writing Openers and get the instructional scope and links to all 56 grammar and usage lessons and all 56 mechanics lessons.  Plus, subscribe to my YouTube Channel and get the same lessons in video format.

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Teaching the Language Strand (of the Common Core State Standards) Grades 4‒8 programs. Complete language conventions lessons feature the grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons plus simple sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and formative assessments. Additionally, the full-year Teaching the Language Strand curriculum provides a complete spelling patterns program, language application openers, and vocabulary worksheets. Bi-weekly unit tests measure definition, identification, and writing application. Each program includes a comprehensive teacher’s guide with scripted instructions and accompanying student workbooks with the complete lesson text, practice, and assessments. Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with remedial grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling pattern worksheets–all with quick formative assessments. In short, every resource you need to teach all of the grade-level Common Core Language Strand Standards and individualize instruction is provided in the Teaching the Language Strand programsComplete descriptions, instructional scopes and sequences, introductory video, previews, and two-week test drives of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available here.

Grammar/Mechanics, Writing , ,



How to Teach Non-standard English Deletions

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 1
How to Teach Non-standard English Deletions: Grammar and Usage Lesson 52

How to Teach Non-standard English Deletions                                                       Common Core

Sometimes we’ve just got to get the point quickly. If you’re crossing a busy street with a careless friend who is not looking both ways and a truck is heading right toward that friend, you’re probably not going to say, “I would watch more closely, if I were you, because a truck is coming.” Chances are you would shorten it to “Watch out! Truck!” However, when writing an essay or a research report, you have to say things completely without dropping any words.

Today’s grammar and usage lesson is on Non-standard English Deletions. Remember that a verb shows a physical or mental action or it describes a state of being. Conversational English often differs from Standard English. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

Now let’s read the grammar and usage lesson and study the examples.

When writing in Standard English, don’t drop verbs or parts of verbs. Examples: She (is) nice, but I been (had been) nice to her first. Where (are) you at? Who (is) she?

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to grammar and usage lesson.

Practice: I woke up this morning at 7:30 AM. because I fell asleep last night at 10:00 p.m.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Grammar and Usage Practice Answers: I woke up this morning at 7:30 a.m. because I fell asleep last night at 10:00 p.m.

Now let’s apply what we have learned.

Writing Application: Write your own sentence using a non-standard English deletion. Then write a second sentence correcting that non-standard English.

Check out and bookmark the 112 Writing Openers and get the instructional scope and links to all 56 grammar and usage lessons and all 56 mechanics lessons.  Plus, subscribe to my YouTube Channel and get the same lessons in video format.

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Teaching the Language Strand (of the Common Core State Standards) Grades 4‒8 programs. Complete language conventions lessons feature the grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons plus simple sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and formative assessments. Additionally, the full-year Teaching the Language Strand curriculum provides a complete spelling patterns program, language application openers, and vocabulary worksheets. Bi-weekly unit tests measure definition, identification, and writing application. Each program includes a comprehensive teacher’s guide with scripted instructions and accompanying student workbooks with the complete lesson text, practice, and assessments. Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with remedial grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling pattern worksheets–all with quick formative assessments. In short, every resource you need to teach all of the grade-level Common Core Language Strand Standards and individualize instruction is provided in the Teaching the Language Strand programsComplete descriptions, instructional scopes and sequences, introductory video, previews, and two-week test drives of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available here.

Grammar/Mechanics, Writing , ,



How to Teach Dashes

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 2
How to Teach Dashes: Mechanics Lesson 52

How to Teach Dashes                                                      Common Core

Dashes are very convenient forms of punctuation. We both use and misuse them.

Today’s mechanics lesson is on how to use dashes. Dashes serve a different purpose than hyphens and are usually longer. Avoid using beginning and ending dashes for apposition (to identify or explain a noun or pronoun before it) or parenthetical expressions (to comment on what comes before). Use commas or parentheses instead. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

Now let’s read the mechanics lesson and study the examples.

Dashes are used to show a range of values between dates, times, and numbers. Examples: From July 6‒9 between the hours of 7:00‒10:00 a.m., a crowd of 200‒225 protesters will occupy the park.

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to mechanics lesson.

Practice: Marta and Zowie worked from 3‒5:00 p.m. after working a night shift, proving that the Johnson-Jones partnership would work any day. The young ladies-who had worked together for years-ran a successful housekeeping business.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Mechanics Practice Answers: Marta and Zowie worked from 3‒5:00 p.m. after working a night shift, proving that the Johnson‒Jones partnership would work any day. The young ladies‒who had worked together for years‒ran a successful housekeeping business.

Now let’s apply what we have learned. 

Writing Application: Write your own sentence using dashes.

Check out and bookmark the 112 Writing Openers and get the instructional scope and links to all 56 grammar and usage lessons and all 56 mechanics lessons.  Plus, subscribe to my YouTube Channel and get the same lessons in video format.

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Teaching the Language Strand (of the Common Core State Standards) Grades 4‒8 programs. Complete language conventions lessons feature the grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons plus simple sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and formative assessments. Additionally, the full-year Teaching the Language Strand curriculum provides a complete spelling patterns program, language application openers, and vocabulary worksheets. Bi-weekly unit tests measure definition, identification, and writing application. Each program includes a comprehensive teacher’s guide with scripted instructions and accompanying student workbooks with the complete lesson text, practice, and assessments. Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with remedial grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling pattern worksheets–all with quick formative assessments. In short, every resource you need to teach all of the grade-level Common Core Language Strand Standards and individualize instruction is provided in the Teaching the Language Strand programsComplete descriptions, instructional scopes and sequences, introductory video, previews, and two-week test drives of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available here.

Grammar/Mechanics, Writing , ,