Is it time to throw away your DOL or DLR and Common Core-ize your grammar, usage, and mechanics Language Strand 1, 2, and 3 instruction to prepare for the PARCC and SBAC (Smarter Balanced) assessments? Why not jump in with well-balanced lessons following a comprehensive instructional scope and sequence covering all Common Core Grades 4−8 Standards, including the Progressive Review Skills introduced in primary grades and emphasized at each grade level? No need to re-invent the wheel.
With these free links, Grades 4−8 teachers get an introductory training YouTube video (4 minutes), the complete Grades 4−8 instructional sequence (including not only the L. 1, 2, and 3 grammar and mechanics and knowledge of use Standards, but also the L. 2, 4, 5, and 6 spelling and vocabulary Standards), and links to 112 grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons and accompanying Powerpoint slides. BUT WAIT… THERE’S MORE! No, you won’t get a fine set of ginsu knives. But you will get free access (make sure to SUBSCRIBE) to the 112 Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Writing Opener Videos on YouTube from the author’s Teaching the Language Strand Grades 4−8 series. So, you get 112 text, Powerpoint, and YouTube grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons with a training video plus instructional scope and sequence absolutely free! Such a deal!
The 112 Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Writing Opener Videos are 3−4 minutes long and alternate between grammar/usage and mechanics lessons. Videos begin with Grade 4 and progress to Grade 8 Standards. Plus, they emphasize those all-important Progressive Review Skills so favored by our PARCC and SBAC tests.
So, what do these video writing openers include? Each grammar/usage and mechanics lesson is common core aligned and lists the Standard during the introduction. Each video begins instruction with a brief overview including the following: 1. The contextual background to help students access prior knowledge 2. A transition from previously introduced Standards 3. A review of related Standards and/or academic vocabulary.
What’s next in the video? Our spokesperson (a real English-language arts teacher, by the way) reads the targeted grammar and usage or mechanics lesson with accompanying examples. The teacher pauses the video to have an interactive conversation about the content or skills. The teacher explains and clarifies, as needed, while the students summarize the key points in composition books or on binder paper. Some teachers will decide to copy off the text of the lesson from the Pennington Publishing blog and have students highlight and annotate.
Next, the students see and hear a short Practice sentence or two, which applies the lesson components. Students copy the Practice sentence or two in their comp books, on the board, or on individual whiteboards. Or avoid having students write at all by using the text copied from the blog link. Teachers know what works best for their students.
You ask the students to find “What’s right, according to the rule?” and “What’s wrong, according to the rule?” Students apply the content and skills learned in the lesson to highlight, circle, or underline what is correct and revise what is wrong (Demonstrate how to make insertions).
Next, the students see the Practice Answers on the video. Students self-correct and self-edit their own work. NO TIME-CONSUMING CORRECTING! Award points for right answers and corrected answers as well. So, students have no incentive to cheat, but are encouraged to learn from their own mistakes.
Finally, our spokesperson reads the Writing Application Task. Students view the task and compose a sentence or two to apply the lesson content or skill. The teacher may choose to have students “share out” and award points or collect and grade individually. Either way, teachers are getting quality feedback through this formative assessment as to whether students have mastered the content or skill of this lesson or need more practice. That’s grammar, usage, and mechanics in the writing context.
Why the 112 Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Writing Opener Videos Make So Much Sense
- Because of the perfectly aligned instructional scope and sequence, teachers can be assured that they are teaching each grade-level Language Strand Standard and the Progressive Skills Review Standards.
- The videos “free up” the teacher to have an interactive conversation with students at their respective grade levels. Plus the language of instruction is the same for Grades 4−8. Get your colleagues on board and use the same rigorous academic language and DOK with a complete Grades 4−8 instructional scope and sequence. No longer will other grade level teachers wonder what you’ve “covered” or “what to expect” from incoming students. No longer will students be “drilled and killed” on repetitive content or skills.
- Unlike DOL or DLR instruction, the 112 Teaching the Language Strand writing opener videos offer a balanced instructional approach. The lesson texts, examples, and Practice sentences provide both proper (correct) sentence modeling of the content or skills (“What’s right?”) as well as error identification and analysis (“What’s wrong?”), according to the rule(s). Plus, students must apply the lesson content or skill in the writing context with the Writing Application Task.
- The videos work so well for grammar newbies and grammar McCracken vets. Every teacher will be able to successfully teach the Common Core Language Standards.
- Using the rigorous academic language of the Common Core and DOK (Depth of Knowledge) levels of the assessments, you will definitely be “upping the language of discourse” with your students. For example, our spokesperson says “modifies,” not “talks about” even for Grade 4 Standards, because the Standards and assessments use that level of language.
- Using the videos will really save your teacher voice and allow you to walk the class to monitor student attention.
This sounds to good to be true…
Each video includes a three-second opening slide listing Teaching the Language Strand (Pennington Publishing’s comprehensive Grades 4−8 program series). Our spokesperson says, “Hello, I’m Annelise Kinney from Pennington Publishing.” At the end of the video is a brief overview of the Teaching the Language Strand program.
I’m teaching seventh grade ELA this year. I start and stop the video before and after my own advertisements. Simple.
Links to the 112 Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Lessons and Resources
Grades 4−8 Language Strand Instructional Scope and Sequence
Teaching the Language Strand Overview: Training Module 1 (4 minutes)
Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Writing Opener Videos
Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Writing Opener Texts and Powerpoint Slides
Latin Abbreviations for Time: Mechanics Lesson 1
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 12
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 22
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 32
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 43
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 these 112 grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons has written the assessment-based Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 112 different interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons for each of the five grade levels. 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.
The videos and text-based lessons are great. Try some and then email firstname.lastname@example.org to get a two-week test drive of your grade level Teaching the Language Strand program. The program includes a completely scripted teacher’s guide and consumable student workbooks to eliminate all teacher prep. Teach the entire grade-level Language Strand and individualize instruction, according to diagnostic assessments with this comprehensive and user-friendly program from Pennington Publishing.