Avoiding Clichés

Identify and Revise Clichés

Avoiding Clichés

“When an expression is overused to the point of becoming meaningless, it is known as a cliché,” Mr. Espinosa explained. “A cliché doesn’t show originality.”

“Why should we listen to Mr. Espinosa? Sam whispered. “He’s as old as the hills. It’s just a matter of time before he retires.”

“Maybe he’s still got something to teach you about clichés,” Arianna whispered back.

Definition and Examples

A cliché is an overused and worn-out word, phrase, or sentence, which has lost its original meaning or effect. A cliché can have a literal or a figurative meaning. Examples: awesome; plenty of fish in the sea; what goes around, comes around

Speakers often use clichés as conversational fillers to generalize or draw a conclusion.

Examples:

“Putting together that toy is challenging, but it’s not rocket science,” she said.

“Yes, but at the end of the day, those little challenges help us think outside the box,” he replied.

Read the rule.

Don’t use clichés in formal writing, such as essays. Instead of clichés, use original thoughts and more specific language. Some writers intentionally use a cliché, but revise the wording to provide an original idea.

Practice

Write these sentences and [bracket] the clichés.

  1. Those two a certainly a strange pair. Who knows what he sees in her. Love is blind.
  2. You’re never going to make them accept you. You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.
  3. She’s a bad apple and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Her parents have issues, as well.
  4. For Matt the grass is always greener on the other side, but experience is the best teacher.
  5. You can’t judge a book by its cover, but in this case, I’ll make an exception.

Revise the the clichés in the following sentence.

In this day and age, using clichés is not a necessary evil.

Answers

  1. Those two a certainly a strange pair. Who knows [what he sees in her]. [Love is blind].
  2. You’re never going to make them accept you. [You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time].
  3. She’s [a bad apple] and [the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree]. Her parents have issues, as well.
  4. For Matt [the grass is always greener on the other side], but [experience is the best teacher].
  5. [You can’t judge a book by its cover], but in this case, I’ll make an exception.

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

Literacy Centers, Spelling/Vocabulary, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



Unsupported Generalizations

Avoid Absolute Words

Unsupported Generalizations

“Check out my thesis statement: ‘Everyone agrees that the school day should be shortened.’”

“How were you able to survey everyone? You never asked me.”

“Okay, I’ll ask you now. What do you think?”

“I’d suggest you re-write your thesis and avoid using unsupported generalizations.”

Definition and Examples

A generalization is a statement which applies to most all cases and to most all times. When writers combine specific points of an essay into a broader focus, this is known as a making a generalization. An unsupported generalization is a broad statement, which cannot be concluded from the essay evidence or details. Unsupported Generalization Example: All Americans support a strong national defense. Supported Generalization Example: The plan provides three workable ideas to solve the problem of plastic waste.

Read the rules.

  • Don’t include generalizations in the essay thesis statement and body paragraphs.
  • Writers can develop generalizations and include these in the essay conclusion, but generalizations must be supported by specific evidence and details of the body paragraphs. Never include unsupported generalizations.
  • Avoid absolute words, such as nothing, everything, none, all, everyone, definite(ly), worst, best, never, always

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] the generalizations.

  1. Over half of the boys left the assembly early, but the girls liked the presentation.
  2. Mexican food is so spicy, but not the way my father cooks.
  3. The problem is that young people just do not vote, and so seniors have more say in determining who gets elected. Only 28% of under age 30 Americans voted in the last election.
  4. The students all want more electives; however, the school does not have enough teachers.
  5. Boys tend to like video gaming more than girls, but the number of girls who play is increasing.

Revise the intentional fragment.

Writers should always avoid using unsupported generalizations.

Answers

  1. Over half of the boys left the assembly early, but [the girls liked the presentation.]
  2. [Mexican food is so spicy], but not the way my father cooks.
  3. The problem is that [young people just do not vote], and so [seniors have more say in determining who gets elected]. Only 28% of under age 30 Americans voted in the last election.
  4. [The students all want more electives]; however, the school does not have enough teachers.
  5. [Boys tend to like video gaming more than girls], but the number of girls who play is increasing.

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

Literacy Centers, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , ,



Wordiness | Eliminating Expletives

Eliminating Expletives

Eliminate Expletives

Manny said, “My teacher told me to stop saying ‘I think’ in my essays.”

“Anything you say or write is what you think or what you believe, isn’t it?” I asked.

“I believe that. At least I think so. In my opinion, you are correct.”

“Yikes! Listen to your teacher,” I advised.

Definition and Examples

An expletive is an unnecessary expression, which does not add meaning to a sentence. Yes, it can be a profanity, but it can also be a word like the “Yes” in this sentence. Often, expletives add emotion or emphasis to one’s speech or writing; however, well-chosen nouns and verbs can usually do the same job and do so with greater precision and brevity.

When speaking, we have quite a few expressions meant to fill space in conversations. Speakers may add, “um,” or “well,” or “you know,” or “uh” when talking to friends. However, in formal speeches, speakers try to eliminate these unnecessary expressions. While these speech fillers are generally not used in writing (except dialogue), writing does have its share of words and phrases inserted into sentences which do not contribute to the meaning.

Position Examples: I believe, I think, in my opinion

Grammatical Examples: There (here) are (were, is, will be)

Read the rules.

There, Their, They're Poster

There, Their, They’re

Avoid unnecessary expressions in formal writing, such as essays, which do not contribute meaning.

  • Do not refer to yourself as the writer in an essay with expressions which state your position or beliefs
  • Avoid using words or phrases at the beginning of sentences, which do not contribute meaning.

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] the unnecessary expressions.

  1. I believe all citizens should vote. There are no excuses not to vote in a democracy.
  2. Here is an important item for the class to discuss. I think students might have strong opinions on this matter.
  3. In my opinion and in the opinion of my friends, we should have a pizza party next week.
  4. There were four contestants in the science fair, which had innovative projects, I think.
  5. Here will be the sign-up list on the table. I believe everyone should volunteer to do something.

Revise the sentence by eliminating unnecessary expressions.

In my opinion, using “I think” or “I believe” is unnecessary.

Answers

  1. [I believe] all citizens should vote. [There are] no excuses not to vote in a democracy.
  2. [Here is] an important item for the class to discuss. [I think] students might have strong opinions on this matter.
  3. [In my opinion] and [in the opinion] of my friends, we should have a pizza party next week.
  4. [There were] four contestants in the science fair, which had innovative projects, [I think.]
  5.  [Here will be] the sign-up list on the table. [I believe] everyone should volunteer to do something.

*****

  1. Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

    Teaching Essay Strategies

    For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

    Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

Grammar/Mechanics, Literacy Centers, Spelling/Vocabulary, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



Reading Incentive Ideas

Programs for Reading Incentive

Reading Incentive Programs

I’m not active on Facebook, but my wife passed along this post, “This Barbershop is Getting Kids to Read.” Kids are encouraged to read out loud during their haircuts at this Pennsylvania barbershop “to help boost confidence and conquer fears of public speaking.” The incentive? Kids who read a line, page, or chapter (presumably based upon age and the discretion of the barber) are awarded $3.00 for their efforts.

As kids you don’t realize that fear can carry on as an adult. I want people to feel like they have a voice and they need to use it.

Jon Escueta, Owner City Cuts Barbershop as told to NOW THIS NEWS.

A smart marketing ploy? Undoubtedly. But also a terrific business partnership to develop with local schools. Escueta says he serves roughly 500 kids in his community.

As an M.A. reading specialist, I have served in elementary, middle school, high school, and community college settings. Getting kids and adults to put down their phones and video controllers and to pick up a book is a challenge at any age. I’ve helped implement both schoolwide and classroom-based reading incentive programs. While we all want the extrinsic rewards to be replaced with the intrinsic motivation to enjoy and learn from reading, raw behaviorism does have its place. A few guidelines I’ve found to be helpful follow:

Reading incentives should be connected to literacy. Avoid such crazy ideas such as “If students in the school read 30,000 pages, the principal will spend the night in a tent on top of the multi-purpose room.”

  • Keep reading incentives fresh. Vary the incentives and don’t keep them going on too long.
  • Kids do like competitions. Class v. class, grade v. grade, school v. school
  • Establish business partnerships, such as the barbershop idea above.
  • Get parents on board, reading along with their children.
  • The teachers need to read and share what they’ve been reading with their students.
  • Providing time for kids to share about the books they’ve been reading is motivating.
  • Reading incentives can also become confused with reading accountability. I see them as separate programmatic and instructional issues.

Independent reading programs (check out this great collection of articles) need not include reading incentives; however, most teachers and parents would agree that an effective independent reading program does require a workable system of accountability. The downside of confusing incentive and accountability has been shared by parents, students, and teachers in the hundreds of comments I’ve received on my article, “The 18 Reasons Not to Use Accelerated Reader.” One comment regarding this confusion will suffice:

As an elementary school student, I loved AR. I still have my first ever AR t-shirt, and I remember my first ever AR book (Stone Soup). The program was used 100% as an incentive. There were no requirements, no class-wide rewards or “only the top ## of scorers get this prize” prizes. Everything was t-shirts, treasure chests, and pizza parties. No teacher pushed you to do AR, and you weren’t required to read at a specific level–the higher point values of books were incentive enough. Some of us took part in friendly rivalry, but there was no real pressure on the student to participate in the program or else let down their teachers/peers. I went back to work at the elementary school I attended for a few years, and that is still how the program works. Students read for fun and take the tests for fun. No requirements, no peer pressure.

However, when I went to middle school, AR became my worst enemy. The school implemented a program that required students to take the STAR test each year, then grouped you into classes with students who performed similarly on the STAR test. We were expected to sit and read something “on or above reading level” (12.9+ for me) in silence for 40 minutes. We were also expected to get a certain number of points each nine weeks, or we would fail the class. That’s right, the WHOLE CLASS was nothing but taking AR tests. I hated it, and learned to hate reading. I RAILED against it, protested it, wrote angry articles in the school paper, and was eventually granted (along with my fellow 12.9+ers) the opportunity to take an extra elective class–2 years later.

My experiences with AR were truly at the opposite ends of the spectrum, and that was entirely due to how the program was used/implemented.

*****

The author, Mark Pennington, provides assessment-based ELA and reading intervention programs and resources at Pennington Publishing. Check out the following FREE download to help your students and children improve reading comprehension.

Get the SCRIP Comprehension Strategies FREE Resource:

Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , , , , , , ,



Avoid Attention-Getting Alliteration

Avoid Poetic Devices

Avoid Alliteration

“I want my fans to pay attention to my magnificent mastery and manipulation of the English language in this argumentative essay,” explained Teddy.

“I’d rather focus their attention on my evidence,” said Cherish. “Save the attention-getting alliteration for your poetry.”

Definition and Examples

Alliteration is a poetic device in which the initial (first) consonant sound is repeated. Example: Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

Read the rule.

Don’t use poetic devices, such as alliteration, in formal writing. Poetic devices focus the reader’s attention on the writing itself, while essays are designed to argue a point of view or inform and explain. Essays focus on the content of the writing.

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] the alliteration.

  1. The bear buried its nose in the berry patch.
  2. My cat cowered under the couch, afraid of the vacuum monster.
  3. Sam simply asked if the salmon seemed a bit under-cooked.
  4. The four hyenas paced nervously in their constricting cages.
  5. Amaria never noticed that the champion chihuahua was dressed in a fur-lined sweater and diamond dog collar.

Revise the sentence to eliminate alliteration.

Always avoid attention-getting alliteration.

Answers

  1. The [bear buried] its nose in the [berry] patch.
  2. My [cat cowered] under the [couch], afraid of the vacuum monster.
  3. [Sam simply] asked if the [salmon seemed] a bit under-cooked.
  4. The four hyenas paced nervously in their [constricting cages].
  5. Amaria [never noticed] that the [champion chihuahua] was dressed in a fur-lined sweater and [diamond dog] collar.

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

Spelling/Vocabulary, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



Three Types of Conjunctions

Three Conjunction Types

Three Types of Conjunctions

Every teacher knows the wisdom of not telling the whole story, especially with respect to holiday celebrations. But for the purpose of this article, let’s add on conjunctions to the list of teach some of it now and save some for later instruction. Elementary teachers should teach the common conjunctions and secondary teachers should build upon that foundation with less frequently used conjunctions.

Following are brief overviews of the three types of conjunctions: coordinating, subordinate (subordinating), and correlative. The relevant Common Core State Standards are provided and memorable acronyms to help your students identify and apply these grammatical forms. Plus, classroom posters are provided as FREE downloads.

Elementary Instruction: Coordinating Conjunctions

Primary and intermediate teachers face the sometimes daunting task of introducing students to coordinating, subordinating, and correlative conjunctions.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.1.1.G
    Use frequently occurring conjunctions (e.g., and, but, or, so, because).
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.2.1.F
    Produce, expand, and rearrange complete simple and compound sentences (e.g., The boy watched the movie; The little boy watched the movie; The action movie was watched by the little boy).
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.1.H
    Use coordinating and subordinating conjunctions.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.1.F
    Produce complete sentences, recognizing and correcting inappropriate fragments and run-ons.*
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.2.C
    Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.1.A
    Explain the function of conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections in general and their function in particular sentences.

To help students avoid writing in sentence fragments, elementary teachers often counsel their students, “Never start a sentence with but, or, and, or so (the common coordinating conjunctions),” and many teachers would throw in because or like (two subordinating conjunctions) for good measure.

Additionally, most elementary teachers teach the proper use and identification of but, or, and, or so, but not the less frequently used for, nor, and yet. This certainly makes sense.

Elementary teachers may find the BOAS acronym helpful to teach the four common but, or, and, so (boas) coordinating conjunctions:

BOAS (Mark Pennington’s Acronym)

Coordinating Conjunctions for Elementary School

Coordinating Conjunctions

but, or, and, so

Anchor Sentence: I watched and waited to see the boas eat or climb the tree, but they did neither, so I left.

If teaching only the four BOAS seems a bit constricting :), elementary teachers can add in the three additional coordinating conjunctions, usually reserved for middle school.

Secondary Instruction: Coordinating Conjunctions

By middle school, teachers amend the “Never start a sentence with but, or, and, so, because, or like“elementary rule with the addition of “unless you finish the sentence.” Even though the middle school, high school, and college permit and even encourage their developing writers to start sentences with coordinating conjunctions, when appropriate, all would caution their students to use these sentence constructions sparingly.

Plus, secondary teachers will add the three less common and more sophisticated coordinating conjunctions (for, nor, yet) and may use the helpful FANBOYS acronym to teach all seven coordinating conjunctions:

FANBOYS Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating Conjunctions

FANBOYS (Creator Unknown)

for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so

Anchor Sentence: I watched and waited for the boas to eat or climb the tree, but they did neither. They were not hungry nor active, so I left. Yet I would like to see them sometime.

For both elementary and secondary teachers, try using this word part trick to help your students understand the meaning of coordinating conjunctions:

The “co” in coordinating means with in Latin. Coordinating conjunctions join with other words, phrase, or clauses of equal importance or emphasis. Example: Both Juan and Stella are good writers.

Elementary Instruction: Subordinate Conjunctions

Elementary teachers may wish to teach their students the 10 most common subordinate conjunctions to introduce dependent clauses (connected nouns and verbs which do not express complete thoughts) at the beginnings and endings of sentences. Examples: After she gave her speech in front of the class, Leslie sat down. Leslie sat down after she gave her speech in front of the class.

Elementary teachers will find the following acronym helpful to teach students to identify and use these subordinate conjunctions:

AAAWWUBBIS (Jeff Anderson’s Acronym)

Subordinating Conjunctions AAAWWUBBIS

Subordinate Conjunctions

after, although, as, when, while, until, because, before, if, since

Secondary Instruction: Subordinate Conjunctions

Secondary teachers may wish to teach their students the 29 most common subordinate conjunctions to introduce dependent clauses (connected nouns and verbs which do not express complete thoughts) at the beginnings, in the middle, and the endings of sentences. Examples: After she gave her speech in front of the class, Leslie sat down and heaved a huge sigh of relief. Leslie sat down, after she gave her speech in front of the class, and heaved a huge sigh of relief. Leslie sat down and heaved a huge sigh of relief after she gave her speech in front of the class.

Secondary teachers will find the following acronym helpful to teach students to identify and use these subordinate conjunctions:

Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinate Conjunctions

Bud is wise, but hot! AAA WWW (Mark Pennington’s Acronym)

Bud is wise, before, unless, despite (in spite of), in order that, so, while, if, since, even though (if)

but hot! because, until, that, how, once, than

AAA after, although (though), as (as if, as long as, as though)

WWW whether, when (whenever), where (wherever)

For both elementary and secondary teachers, try using this word part trick to help your students understand the meaning of subordinating conjunctions:

The “sub” in subordinating means under or below in Latin. Subordinating conjunctions begin adverbial clauses, which are under or below the connecting main (independent clause) in terms of importance or emphasis. Example: Because you listened well this morning, we will work in our groups this afternoon.

Upper Elementary and Secondary Instruction: Correlative Conjunctions (Correlative is pronounced as cor/rél/lƏ/tive.)

Teach the common correlative conjunctions:

both−and; such−that; whether−or; as−as; not−but; neither−nor; no sooner−than; either−or; as many−as; rather−than

For both elementary and secondary teachers, try using this word part trick to help your students understand the meaning of correlative conjunctions:

The “cor” in correlative means to run (correr in Spanish) and “rel” indicates a relationship (in Latin). Coordinating conjunctions are word pairs which run in relationship with each other. The word pairs join parallel words, phrases, or clauses. In grammar, parallel means similar in meaning, structure, and length. Examples: Either chocolate or vanilla is fine. Both girls like chocolate, and they also like vanilla.

*****

I’m Mark Pennington, author of many popular, easy-to-teach grammar resources. Check out these three types of grammar resources: 1. the interactive notebook 2. literacy centers and 3. my traditional grade-level grammar programs.

Of the three, the interactive notebook lends itself to more individualized practice and has online links. The literacy centers involve group work. The traditional grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and high school grammar programs require direct instruction in each of the grade-level standards with mentor texts, simple sentence diagrams, and formative assessments. All grade 4–8 programs include biweekly quizzes.

All three types of grammar programs provide diagnostic assessments and targeted worksheets to help students master deficits indicated by the diagnostic grammar and mechanics assessments.

Want the poster size 11 x 17 Conjunction Posters you see in this article for your classroom? I’ll send the PDFs right away to your email.

Get the Conjunction Posters FREE Resource:

Grammar/Mechanics, Literacy Centers, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



Coordinating Conjunctions | Writing Style

Coordinating Conjunction Fragments

Coordinating Conjunctions

“My told me not to start sentences with coordinating conjunctions unless I finish them,” Peter said. “But I won’t.”

“Won’t what?” I asked. “Start sentences with coordinating conjunctions or finish them?”

“Oh… now I get it. You’re pretty clever.”

“And so I am.”

Definition and Examples

A coordinating conjunction joins words, phrases, or clauses of equal importance or emphasis. The seven coordinating conjunctions are easily remembered by the acronym, FANBOYS (For-And-Nor-But-Or-Yet-So). Examples: Jack and Jill; thinking quickly; but acting slowly; She left her job early, so she would be able to clean the house before the guests arrived.

*****

Read the rules.

Frequently, teachers will tell their students not to begin their sentences with coordinating conjunctions. Teachers give this advice because many students who use these sentence beginnings often fail to complete their sentences and wind up with fragments. However, writers many begin sentences with coordinating conjunctions under the following conditions:

  • An independent clause (a subject and predicate expressing a complete thought) must follow the beginning coordinating conjunction.
  • Don’t begin too many sentences in an essay with coordinating conjunctions. Sentence variety is important, so don’t overuse the same sentence structure.

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] the conjunctions.

  1. Byron and Jake were late, not Pedro or Tamara.
  2. Misty, my calico cat, loves to be petted, but hates to be scratched.
  3. Mandy hates the smell of cotton candy yet loves the taste and texture.
  4. Pedro refuses to sleep in the tent, nor will he sleep outside under the stars.
  5. The Larsens stopped skiing and snowboarding, for these sports cost too much and take up so much of their leisure time.

Re-write the sentence to eliminate the fragment.

But do not start a sentence with a coordinating conjunction unless you finish it.

Answers

  1. Byron [and] Jake were late, not Pedro [or] Tamara.
  2. Misty, my calico cat, loves to be petted, [but] hates to be scratched.
  3. Mandy hates the smell of cotton candy [yet] loves the taste and texture.
  4. Pedro refuses to sleep in the tent, [nor] will he sleep outside under the stars.
  5. The Larsens stopped skiing [and] snowboarding, [for] these sports cost too much [and] take up so much of their leisure time.

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

Grammar/Mechanics, Literacy Centers, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



Standards Based Grading Rehab

Assessment-based Individualized Learning

Individualized Learning

We’ve all heard the figure of speech: “They can’t see the forest for the trees.”

We teachers tend to have the opposite issue: “We can’t see the trees for the forest.”

Teachers want to see students as individuals (and we often claim that we do so), but we have been culturally inculcated to see our students more in terms of groups. Sit in any staff room at lunch time and you’ll hear the following: “My fifth period is so low.” “My kids are so caring this year.” “My last period is out of control.” “I love my EL kids in that class.”

Now, teachers don’t really see every student as reflective of the whole, but the groups do provide a means generalization and comparison. When teachers generalize and compare, they have some notion in mind regarding the object of comparison. Such objects may include other classes, past years’ classes, “the ways we used to do things,” or often “how it was when I was a student.”

This identification of students in terms of comparative groups influences both our instructional and evaluative practices. The underlying notion of the bell curve permeates our group thinking and teacher experience tends to reinforces the notion that some of any group will really get it; some won’t get it at all; and most will sort of get it. We design our lessons, units, and tests accordingly although few would readily admit to doing so.

Teachers might say, “I teach to the middle.” “My lessons are designed to teach grade-level standards.” “My smart goals include ‘25% basic, 50% proficient, and “25% advanced.'” “This is an honors class (or remedial class) and so…” “I’ll get called into the principal if I have too many D or F grades.” “My colleagues will be upset if I give too many A‘s.” “We have common final exams, so my results (or grades) have to match those of my colleagues.” Administrative pressure, peer pressure, and “being a team player” values reinforce group think.

Our traditional ABCD, and F grading system is tied to seeing students as groups. Were teachers able to teach and grade students as individuals in terms of progress toward content and skill standards, a considerable amount of rehab would need to take place. A 12 step program to change the way we teach and evaluate students might look like this:

The 12 Steps of Standards-based Grading Rehab

1. We admitted we were powerless over group think, generalizations, and arbitrary comparisons—that our instruction and evaluation had become unmanageable, ineffective, irrelevant, inaccurate, and ethically questionable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity, that is the belief in the value of the individual.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our teaching over to God and standards assessment-based individualized instruction.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves and admitted that we don’t know everything and that we are not perfect teachers with no room for improvement.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our educational malpractice.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of our professional practice and be willing to change long-established and cherished beliefs and practice.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all: to students, to parents, to colleagues, to administrators, and to our profession.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other teachers and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Principles Copyright  1952, 1953, 1981 by Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing
(now known as Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.)

*****

Mark Pennington is an educational author and re-thinker of his own teaching practice. Mark’s assessment-based individualized learning, featuring diagnostic and formative assessments is included in his grades 4–8 ELA and reading intervention programs found at www.penningtonpublishing.comCheck out and use these sample diagnostic assessments to individualize and differentiate your instruction and evaluation:

Get the The Pets Fluency Assessment FREE Resource:

Get the Vowel Sounds Phonics Assessment with Audio File and Matrix FREE Resource:

Get the Diagnostic Grammar and Usage Assessment with Recording Matrix FREE Resource:

Get the Diagnostic Mechanics Assessment with Recording Matrix FREE Resource:

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