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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 the Pennington Publishing Blog, Mark Pennington, has written a comprehensive Grades 4-8 language series to teach each of the grade-level Common Core Language Standards. Teaching the Language Strand provides interactive grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling lessons, a complete spelling patterns program, language application openers, and vocabulary instruction. Simple sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications with sentence combining and sentence manipulation, and formative assessments are woven into each lesson. Students learn to apply these language standards in both the writing and reading contexts. Each instructional component includes diagnostic assessments and remedial worksheets to help the teacher easily individualize instruction. Previews of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available on the author’s website.

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 the Pennington Publishing Blog, Mark Pennington, has written a comprehensive Grades 4-8 language series to teach each of the grade-level Common Core Language Standards. Teaching the Language Strand provides interactive grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling lessons, a complete spelling patterns program, language application openers, and vocabulary instruction. Simple sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications with sentence combining and sentence manipulation, and formative assessments are woven into each lesson. Students learn to apply these language standards in both the writing and reading contexts. Each instructional component includes diagnostic assessments and remedial worksheets to help the teacher easily individualize instruction. Previews of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available on the author’s website.

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 the fundamental instructional question: How do we teach these skills?

Increasingly, teachers are answering this question with assessment-based instruction. Check out these helpful diagnostic assessments and progress monitoring matrices for grammar, usage, and mechanics.TeachGuide-7th

Mark Pennington is a middle school teacher and educational author of the Teaching the Language Strand (of the Common Core State Standards) Grades 4-8 programs.

Grammar/Mechanics, Spelling/Vocabulary , , ,

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

 

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 , ,

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 provides whole-class diagnostic reading assessments (multiple choice), enabling reading intervention teachers to differentiate remedial instruction for students ages eight-Adult. Blending and syllabication activities, phonemic awareness and phonics workshops, comprehension worksheets, and multi-level expository fluency passages highlight this user-friendly three-ring binder book. Fluencies are each leveled at third grade, fifth grade, and seventh grade reading to challenge readers of varying abilities. 390 flashcards, posters, games, and more! Everything you need to teach a diagnostically-based reading intervention program for struggling readers at all reading levels is found in this comprehensive curriculum. Perfect for EL and Special Education students, who struggle with language/audio processing challenges. An ideal choice for Tier I and II Response to Intervention. 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. The matched activities and worksheets to the thirteen diagnostic assessments will ensure that each of your diverse learners will receive the targeted instruction and practice they need. This flexible curriculum and its resources is not a canned program. Teachers use what their students need.

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 , ,

How to Teach Adverb Order

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 1
How to Teach Adverb Order: Grammar and Usage Lesson 51

How to Teach Adverb Order                                                    Common Core

One thing about adverbs… they sure are flexible. A writer can place this part of speech most anywhere in a sentence to emphasize or de-emphasize the word. However, when using more than one adverb in a sentence, the writer must place them in a certain order.

Today’s grammar and usage lesson is on adverb order. Remember that an adverb modifies a verb, an adjective, or an adverb and answers What degree? How? Where? or When? Any part of speech can serve as an adverb. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

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

As a matter of good writing style, place shorter adverbial phrases in front of longer ones. Example: We ran more slowly, yet more purposefully. Also, place specific adverbs before general ones. Example: We ran to the corner, then everywhere.

When using more than one adverb in a sentence, follow this order of adverbial functions: What Degree-How-Where- When. Example: She sings more enthusiastically on the stage each night before closing.

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

Practice: He acted less nervous at night there.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Grammar and Usage Practice Answers: He acted less nervous there at night.

Now let’s apply what we have learned. 

Writing Application: Write your own sentence using two or more different types of adverbs in proper order.

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 Parentheses

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 2
How to Teach Parentheses: Mechanics Lesson 51

How to Teach Parentheses                                                       Common Core

Parentheses are probably overused. However, if you feel like they are necessary, learn to use them correctly.

Today’s mechanics lesson is on how to use parentheses to set off parenthetical information. Remember that parenthetical information adds non-essential information following a noun or pronoun. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

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

If the words inside the parentheses form a complete sentence, place the period, question mark, or exclamation point inside the closing parenthesis. Example: (I had eaten lunch.)

Parentheses can be used in a variety of ways:

  • As added information. This is known as an aside.Example: John responded (quickly).
  • As an appositive. An appositive is a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase that identifies or explains another noun or pronoun before or after it. Example: Sue (the girl in red)
  • With numbers to clarify what has been said in the sentence. Examples: He ran a marathon (26.2 miles) in 4:20:10 (four hours, twenty minutes, ten seconds).
  • To punctuate letters which list key points within the sentence. Examples: She had a choice of (a) apple (b) cherry or (c) lemon pie.

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

Practice: They do eat fried toast especially in England. (The U.S. Surgeon General specifically frowns on this food).

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Mechanics Practice Answers: They do eat fried toast (especially in England). (The U.S. Surgeon General specifically frowns on this food).

Now let’s apply what we have learned.

Writing Application: Write your own sentences using parentheses to set off an apostrophe and parentheses with numbers to clarify what has been said in 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 Adverbial Clauses

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 1
How to Teach Adverbial Clauses: Grammar and Usage Lesson 50

How to Teach Adverbial Clauses                                                     Common Core

Perhaps the greatest tool of a developing writer is the adverbial clause. When a writer learns to tag on an adverbial clause at the beginning or end of a simple sentence, the writer’s writing improves immensely.

Today’s grammar and usage lesson is on adverbial clauses. Remember that a dependent clause has a noun and verb, but does not express a complete thought. An adverb modifies a verb, an adjective, or an adverb and answers What degree? How? Where? or When? Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

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

An adverbial clause is a dependent clause that begins with a subordinating conjunction. Place a comma following an adverbial clause that begins a sentence, but no comma is used before an adverbial clause that ends a sentence. Examples: Unless you practice, you will never succeed. Use the following memory trick to prompt your use of these dependent (subordinate) clauses:

Bud is wise, but hot! AAA WWW

before, unless, despite (in spite of), in order that, so, while, if, since, even though (if), because, until, that, how, once, than, after, although (though), as (as if, as long as, as though), whether, when (whenever), where (wherever)

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

Practice: Even though you beg me, I still won’t help. I’m not the kind of person who will rescue people, whenever they start crying.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Grammar and Usage Practice Answers: Even though you beg me, I still won’t help. I’m not the kind of person who will rescue people whenever they start crying.

Now let’s apply what we have learned.

Writing Application: Write your own sentence using an adverbial clause at the beginning 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 Colons

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 2
How to Teach Colons: Mechanics Lesson 50

How to Teach Colons                                                      Common Core

When you think of colons, think relationships. Colons are often used incorrectly, especially when introducing lists. Writers mistakenly place colons following all parts of speech, including verbs. Instead, stick to conventional punctuation and only use colons following nouns and pronouns.

Today’s mechanics lesson is on how to use colons. Remember that colons are used to show relationships between numbers, as business letter salutations (openings), and in titles. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

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

Use a colon after an independent clause if the following independent clause comments upon or explains the first. If only one clause follows a colon, don’t capitalize the first letter of that clause.

Example: Jenny got in trouble: she cheated on the test.

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

Practice: “Just don’t say anything. it’s not your business,” she replied. “Now it’s reached a crisis point: It’s been going on for days.”

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Mechanics Practice Answers: “Just don’t say anything: it’s not your business,” she replied. “Now it’s reached a crisis point: It’s been going on for days.”

Now let’s apply what we have learned. 

Writing Application: Write your own sentence using a colon between independent clauses.

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 the Perfect Verb Tense

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 1
How to Teach the Perfect Verb Tense: Grammar and Usage Lesson 49

How to Teach the Perfect Verb Tense                                                    Common Core

One of the best features of the English language is that we can say a lot in just a few words. Take our verbs for example. Even though we do have quite a few irregular verb forms, our different verb tenses more than make up for the minor inconvenience of memorizing the irregularities. Instead of having to surround verbs with lots of words to explain time and conditions, we just use change the verb tenses.

Today’s grammar and usage lesson is on perfect verb tense. Remember that a verb can mentally or physically act or serve as a state of being. Verb tense indicates time. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

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

The perfect verb tense is used for a physical or mental action or state of being that refers to something that has already been completed. The perfect verb tense is formed with the past, present, or future tenses of the “to have” verb, the base form of a verb, and a past participle (“__d,” “__t,” “__ed,” “__ en”) ending.

  • The past perfect refers to something that happened before another action in the past or something that happened before a specific time in the past. The past perfect is formed with had + the past participle. Example: had waited ‘til dawn
  • The present perfect refers to something that happened at an unnamed time before the present. The present perfect verb is formed with has or have + the past participle. Examples: has waited since dawn, have waited every morning
  • The future perfect refers to something that will happen before another action in the future or something that will happen before a specific time in the future. The future perfect is formed with will have + the past participle. Example: will have waited every morning

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

Practice: The teacher was started the unit last week. We have continued the lessons this week and will have been completed the unit by next Friday.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Grammar and Usage Practice Answers: The teacher had started the unit last week. We have continued the lessons this week and will have completed the unit by next Friday.

Now let’s apply what we have learned. 

Writing Application: Write three of your own sentences: the first with a past perfect verb tense, the second with a present perfect verb tense, and the third with a future perfect verb tense.

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 Exclamation Points

Teaching the Language Strand ©2014 Pennington Publishing
Common Core Language Standard 2
How to Teach Exclamation Points: Mechanics Lesson 49

How to How to Teach Exclamation Points                                                       Common Core

The exclamation point is one of the most misused and overused punctuation marks. Too often students add them when they are unnecessary to try and add excitement or surprise to dull writing. You probably could avoid using exclamation points for the rest of your life, if you chose exciting and specific nouns with surprising and vivid verbs. Oh… and another misuse: Don’t use more than one exclamation point. Using three exclamation points does not make a sentence three times as exciting or surprising. Despite what the authors of comic books do, we don’t use more than one punctuation mark when just one will do nicely.

Today’s mechanics lesson is on how to use exclamation points. Remember that sentences which include exclamation are called exclamatory sentences. Display Instructional PowerPoint Slides

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

Use one exclamation point to show surprise or strong emotion in an exclamatory sentence or following an interjection. An interjection is a short sentence fragment used to show extreme emotion and is often used within dialogue. Examples: That is amazing!

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

Practice: Wow! Oh my gosh! I can’t believe she said that! That whole scene was disturbing!

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Mechanics Practice Answers: Wow! Oh my gosh! I can’t believe she said that! That whole scene was disturbing.

Now let’s apply what we have learned. 

Writing Application: Write a sentence using an exclamation point.

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 , ,