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Distance Learning Vocabulary Programs | Virtual Learning

Academic Words Assessment

Diagnostic Academic Language Assessments Grades 4-8

Teachers and parents who have read the Common Core Anchor Standards for Language know that explicit vocabulary instruction is key to reading ability, writing ability, and performance on standardized tests.

It is widely accepted among researchers that the difference in students’ vocabulary levels is a key factor in disparities in academic achievement (Baumann & Kameenui, 1991; Becker, 1977; Stanovich, 1986)

As cited in the Common Core State Standards Appendix A 

However, the average ELA teacher spends little instructional time on vocabulary development.

Vocabulary instruction has been neither frequent nor systematic in most schools (Biemiller, 2001; Durkin, 1978; Lesaux, Kieffer, Faller, & Kelley, 2010; Scott & Nagy, 1997).

As cited in the Common Core State Standards Appendix A 

Now, reading specialist freely admit that most of the Tier I (e.g. because) every day vocabulary acquisition derives from oral language and reading. The Tier III (e.g. polyglytone) domain-specific vocabulary is learned in the context of content classes. But the Tier II (analysis) vocabulary are the academic words which appear across the academic spectrum. It’s these Tier II words that the Common Core authors and reading specialists identify as the vocabulary that teachers and parents should introduce, practice, and reinforce.

Students will come across these Tier II words while reading science and social studies textbooks, for example, but most educators would agree that explicit and isolated instruction is certainly the most efficient means for students to learn academic vocabulary.

Now, it’s not just a bucket of Tier II words that students need to learn. Indeed, the authors of the Common Core State Standards emphasize a balanced approach to vocabulary development.

My grades 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits each include 56 worksheets (printable PDFs for in-class and digital fillable PDFs for distance/ virtual learning), along with vocabulary study guides, and biweekly unit tests (printable PDFs for in-class and Google forms for distance/virtual learning) to help your students collaboratively practice and master these Common Core Standards:

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

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Here’s how your students will master these standards in the Vocabulary Worksheets:

Multiple Meaning Words

Students practice grade-level homonyms (same spelling and sound) in context clue sentences which show the different meanings and function (part of speech) for each word.

Greek and Latin Word Parts

Three criteria were applied to choose the grade-level prefixes, roots, and suffixes:

1. Frequency research 2. Utility for grade-level Tier 2 words 3. Pairing

Each odd-numbered vocabulary worksheet pairs a Greek or Latin prefix-root or root-suffix combination to enhance memorization and to demonstrate utility of the Greek and Latin word parts. For example, pre (before) is paired with view (to see). Students use these combinations to make educated guesses about the meaning of the whole word. This word analysis is critical to teaching students how to problem-solve the meanings of unknown words.

The Diagnostic Greek and Latin Assessments (Google forms and sheets) for grades 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 with accompanying Google sheets will serve as pre-tests and final exams. Additionally, each grade-level exam includes previous grade-level Greek and Latin word parts to enable teachers to individualize catch-up (remedial) instruction.

Language Resources

Students look up the Greek and Latin whole word in a dictionary (print or online) to compare and contrast their educated guesses to the denotative definition of the word. Students divide the vocabulary word into syl/la/bles, mark its primary áccent, list its part of speech, and write its primary definition.

Additionally, students write synonyms, antonyms, or inflected forms of the word, using either the dictionary or thesaurus (print or online). This activity helps students develop a more precise understanding of the word.

Figures of Speech

Students learn a variety of figures of speech (non-literal expression used by a certain group of people). The Standards assign specific types of figures of speech to each grade level. Students must interpret sentences which use the figures of speech on the biweekly unit tests.

Word Relationships

Students use context clue strategies to figure out the different meanings of homonyms in our Multiple Meaning Words section. In the Word Relationships section, students must apply context clues strategies to show the different meanings of word pairs. The program’s S.A.L.E. Context Clues Strategies will help students problem-solve the meanings of unknown words in their reading.

Students practice these context clue strategies by learning the categories of word relationships. For example, the vocabulary words, infection to diagnosis, indicate a problem to solution word relationship category.

Connotations: Shades of Meaning

Students learn two new grade-level vocabulary words which have similar denotative meanings, but different connotative meanings. From the provided definitions, students write these new words on a semantic spectrum to fit in with two similar words, which most of your students will already know. For example, the two new words, abundant and scarce would fit in with the already known words, plentiful and rare in this semantic order: abundant–plentiful–scarce–rare.

Academic Language

The Common Core authors state that Tier 2 words (academic vocabulary) should be the focus of vocabulary instruction. Many of these words will be discovered and learned implicitly or explicitly in the context of challenging reading, using appropriately leveled independent reading, such as grade-level class novels, and learning specific reading strategies, such as close reading with shorter, focused text.

The Academic Language section of the vocabulary worksheets provides two grade-level words from the research-based Academic Word List. Students use the Frayer model four square (definition, synonym, antonym, and example-characteristic-picture) method to learn these words. The Common Core authors and reading specialists (like me) refer to this process as learning vocabulary with depth of instruction.

The Diagnostic Academic Language Assessments (Google forms and sheets) for grades 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 with accompanying Google sheets will serve as pre-tests and final exams. Additionally, each grade-level exam includes previous grade-level Tier II academic words to enable teachers to individualize catch-up (remedial) instruction.

Vocabulary Study Guides

Vocabulary study guides are provided for each of the weekly paired lessons for whole-class review, vocabulary games, and individual practice. Print back-to-back and have students fold to study

Vocabulary Tests

Bi-weekly Vocabulary Tests (printable PDFs and Google forms) assess both memorization and application. The first section of each test is simple matching. The second section of each test requires students to apply the vocabulary in the writing context. Answers follow.

Syllable Blending, Syllable Worksheets, and Derivatives Worksheets

Whole class syllable blending “openers” will help your students learn the rules of structural analysis, including proper pronunciation, syllable division, accent placement, and derivatives. Each “opener” includes a Syllable Worksheet and a Derivatives Worksheet for individual practice. Answers follow.

Context Clues Strategies

Students learn the FP’S BAG SALE approach to learning the meanings of unknown words through surrounding context clues. Context clue worksheets will help students master the SALE Context Clue Strategies.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use Resources

Greek and Latin word parts lists, vocabulary review games, vocabulary steps, and semantic spectrums provide additional vocabulary instructional resources.

Students who complete each of the Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grades 4–8 grade-level programs will have practiced and learned much of the Academic Word Corpus and all of the skills of vocabulary acquisition. These students will have gained a comprehensive understanding of academic language and will be well-equipped to apply the skills of context clues strategies and structural analysis to read well and write with precision.

Grade 6 Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4-8

Each of the Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit grade-level programs is a “slice” of the comprehensive Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary Grades 4–8 programs. Check out the comprehensive CCSS Grades 4−8 Vocabulary Scope and Sequence to see how these programs will help you coordinate seamless, Standards-based vocabulary instruction at your school.

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Grammar Distance Learning

Digital Grammar Programs

Virtual or In-Class Grammar

Grammar, usage, and mechanics (punctuation, capitalization, spelling, quotations, citations, etc.) are ideal subjects for distance learning (virtual learning). The teacher can ZOOM, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, etc. the lesson content, and students can use Google slides for interactive practice of the lesson content, concept, and skill. Google forms self-correcting tests can serve as formative assessments (unit tests), and any necessary remediation can be assigned via additional slides practice.

Teachers can record videos to provide repetition and additional practice for remediation.

In other words, distance learning works nicely to help students catch up, while they keep up with grade-level instruction.

I highly recommend Pennington Publishing’s full-year Teaching Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and High School programs. (After all, I’m the author 🙂 These separate, standards-based programs are rigorous, yet have plenty of remedial practice to help students who don’t have much of a grammar background. The print and digital resources feature 56 (64 for high school) , twice-per-week, 25-minute lessons to help you teach both mechanics (punctuation, capitalization, quotations, etc.) and grammar and usage skills and concepts.

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Click to view the quick Grade 4 Video Preview.

Click to view the quick Grade 5 Video Preview.

Click to view the quick Grade 6 Video Preview.

Click to view the quick Grade 7 Video Preview.

Click to view the quick Grade 8 Video Preview.

Click to view the quick High School Video Preview.

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Each grade-level program has been designed for both in-class and distance learning with printable PDFs and Google slides, forms, and sheets. If you prefer teaching with PowerPoint, simply download the slides into that format. As the Burger King commercial says, “Have it your way.”

How to teach the 56 (64 for high school) scripted, no-prep, and minimal-correction lessons:

  1. Administer the diagnostic assessment to determine mastery of previous grade-level standards (Google forms with Google sheets recording matrix).
  2. Use the scripted lesson and lesson display in the teacher’s guide (PDFs) to teach the paired mechanics and grammar lessons in-class or via Zoom, etc.
  3. Students complete and self-correct the guided practice, slide activities, simple sentence diagram, mentor text, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments (Google slides and PDFs)
  4. Assign additional independent practice if needed to all or some students (Google slides and PDFs).
  5. After completing four of the lessons, administer the biweekly unit test (Google forms). Administer the final exam at the end of the year (Google forms with Google sheets recording matrix).

The Teaching Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics program features a secret agent theme in the Google slides with drag and drop activities, type-in-the-box practice, audio files, and problem-solving (secret codes and such). The theme is fun, but the learning tasks are rigorous.

Click to view the Grades 4-8 Instructional Scope and Sequence (table of contents) with CCSS Alignment Documents. The Teaching Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics program provides effective grade to grade instructional continuity.

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or… Also check out the Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Interactive Notebook Grades 4-8.

Need a no-prep interactive grammar notebook to teach review and grade-level grammar and mechanics standards? With Cornell Notes, foldables, tons of online links, practice worksheets, and biweekly tests? And how about options for Google slides, forms, and sheets for effective distance learning?
 
 
*Rigorous assessment-based instruction. Each of the 64 lessons provides a separate teacher’s guide and student lessons for a full year of grammar and mechanics instruction. A lesson includes these instructional components: Cornell Notes Mechanics and Grammar Lesson with links and Resources (for in-class display or ZOOM) and corresponding student lessons (printable PDFs and Google slides); Cartoon Response, Writing Application, and 3D Graphic Organizer (PDFs)
 
*Complete alignment to the Common Core Standards with built-in review. Lessons include assessment-based instruction in all grades 4-8 grammar and mechanics (language conventions) Standards with special emphasis on the Progressive Skills Review Standards grades 3–8.
 
*Biweekly unit tests (printable PDFs and Google forms) including definition, identification, and application (answers included) …20–25 minutes to complete
 
*Clear directions with the same instructional procedures for each lesson. Perfect for both the beginning teacher, expert grammarians, and substitutes
 
*Online links to songs, posters, sentence diagrams, and more
 
*Diagnostic Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Assessments (printable PDFs and Google forms) with 77 remedial worksheets (printable PDFs and Google slides), each with a formative assessment… plus, an Assessment Master Matrix for progress monitoring (printable PDFs and Google sheets)
 
*Final exam covering all 64 lessons (Google forms and sheets)
 
*Simple and fun 3d graphic organizers from Tangstar (the best on the web) with clear directions and less mess and interactive Google slides with a fun, problem-solving secret agent theme with drop-and-drag, audio, and fill-in the text box activities
 
*Minimal prep and correction. Teachers don’t have to create their own INB for student make-up work. Print three student pages per lesson, set out the crayons, scissors, and glue (or tape), and your students write down examples and annotate on the Cornell Notes in their comp books or spiral notebooks. You display the teacher pages, read the lesson, and lead the discussion. Everything to make you the expert grammarian is included.
 
*Flexible curriculum. Teachers choose what works for their schedules and class time. Complete all or part of each lesson. Mix and match the paper INB and digital activities.
You can have it your way! With flexible, grammar curriculum for both in-class and digital (virtual learning) from Pennington Publishing.

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High School Teaching Grammar and Mechanics

Teaching Grammar and Mechanics (new 2019 edition) helps high school teachers significantly improve student writing and test scores through direct instruction and individualized practice. This comprehensive curriculum is aligned with the Common Core Anchor Standards for Language and the Progressive Skills Review (alignment documents included). Preview Teaching Grammar and Mechanics High School

INSTRUCTIONAL COMPONENTS

Direct Instruction: This program provides a full year of 64 no-prep and minimal correction Cornell Note lessons. Teach two 30-minute lessons per week. The teacher lesson pages include teaching tips and online resources, such as those from the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL). These rigorous, yet easy-to-teach lessons (perfect for both the grammatically-challenged and expert grammarian) feature these resources:

  • Interactive Instruction with Cornell Notes Read the lesson out loud and students copy the examples. Students have the full lesson text–no time-consuming copying–and may use comp books, spiral notebooks, or three-ring binders.
  • Practice Sentences Students complete these independently and self-correct/edit from the display.
  • Sentence Dictations Dictate brief formative assessments for each mechanics and grammar lesson focus. Students self-correct/edit from the display.
  • Simple Sentence Diagrams Students self-correct/edit from the display.
  • Mentor Texts with Writing Response Discuss how noted writers have used the grammatical component taught in the lesson. Students share their responses to the texts, including their own application of the grammar.
  • 3D Graphic Organizer Students color, cut, and paste for review and writing application… as used in interactive notebooks. Walk the room and check the formative assessments, re-teach if necessary, and monitor student work.

    High School Teaching Grammar and Mechanics

    Teaching Grammar and Mechanics High School

Biweekly Tests: Administer these brief 20-minute tests after completing four lessons. The tests require students to define, identify, and apply the grammar, usage, and mechanics content and skills with matching test items and sentence completions. Quick and easy to grade.

Diagnostic Grammar and Mechanics Assessments: Comprehensive whole-class diagnostic grammar, usage, and mechanics assessments provide the data to help teachers individualize instruction. A grammar and mechanics recording matrix makes assessment data entry simple and progress monitoring efficient.

Individualized Instruction: 77 targeted grammar, usage, and mechanics worksheets, corresponding to each skill tested in the diagnostic assessments. Each worksheet includes definitions, examples, writing hints, guided practice, and a brief formative assessment to help students learn the skills they did not master on the diagnostic assessments. Students self-correct/edit their answers and the teacher grades the brief formative assessment to determine whether students have mastered the content or skill.

No other grammar and mechanics curriculum matches the comprehensive resources of Teaching Grammar and Mechanics (High School). You can teach rigorous grade-level standards and also individualize instruction.

PREVIEW THIS PROGRAM

See what Teaching Grammar and Mechanics teachers are saying about this program: 

This is an amazing product. It makes individualized instruction a breeze!

Shawna Pounds

As a newer ELA teacher, this is an awesome product to have. It’s very thorough and easy to use!

slinehan46

Great resource for revisiting this skill set. The students are enjoying the variety of the handouts. I love the fact that I can access whether or not if I need to reteach these skills to my students.

Patience Scott

This is a great product for teaching grammar and mechanics. I like how it allows for students to achieve mastery. It has great step by step directions for teaching the skills as well as help on differentiating instruction. It seems overwhelming when you first look at it, but once you take “10 minutes” to figure it out, it’s awesome!

Laura P.

This has been very useful. It really helped me come up with a way to teach grammar effectively and in a time saving manner.

Misty K.

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112 Quick Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Video Lessons

GRAMMAR PROGRAMS from Pennington Publishing

Pennington Publishing GRAMMAR PROGRAMS

Instructional time is precious. I’ve never heard an English-language arts teacher complain, “I just have too much class time and not enough to teach!” One set of Common Core Standards that tends to get placed upon the back-burner is the Anchor Standards for Language. You guessed it: grammar, usage, and mechanics. Specifically L.1, 2, and 3. If your time is limited and you can only squeeze out 5 minutes a day (on average), these 112 Quick Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Video Lessons are for you! Taken from my comprehensive grades 4–12 Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) grade-level BUNDLES, these nuggets aren’t the goldmine that my full-year programs offer, but they will do the job of quick instruction, review, editing and test prep. Why are these free? Once you see the quality of instruction and comprehensive instructional scope and sequence in these videos, my hope is that you will purchase one of my comprehensive programs, plus I cleverly include an advertisement for my program BUNDLE, Teaching the Language Strand, to remind you at the end of every lesson. Watch it once and you’ll remember (most of the time) to stop the lesson before the advertisement begins to avoid annoying your students. All videos are accessed via YouTube.

Read the Instructional Components and Instructional Procedures. Skim the 112-lesson instructional scope and sequence. Read the brief description of the author’s grammar, usage, and mechanics programs (please). Click on one or all of the free downloads and I’ll send them directly to your inbox. Click on the link at the end of the article to access all 112 videos.

Instructional Components

  1. Slide of applicable Common Core Anchor Standard for Language and video subject. Note: Videos alternate between mechanics and grammar/usage.
  2. Brief introduction of the mechanics or grammar and usage lesson subject to build prior knowledge, define unfamiliar terms, and scaffold instruction with review.
  3. Slide of lesson with examples. The lesson and examples are read out loud.  Note: Perfect for visually impaired students.
  4. Practice sentence includes both correct and incorrect usage of the mechanics, grammar, and usage rule, concept, or content.
  5. Practice answers for students to self-correct and edit.
  6. Writing application to practice applying the lesson focus in the student’s own writing (one or two sentences).

Instructional Procedures

  1. You may choose to have students complete the lesson on binder paper or in composition notebooks.
  2. Prepare your computer and projector for whole-class video and audio or share with your students to use on class Chromebooks, tablets, or iPads.
  3. Play the video and follow screen directions to “pause” and “discuss.”
  4.  Students copy the lesson and examples in composition notebooks or you can print the slide for students to cut and paste. Either option works well as a “bell ringer” to permit you a few minutes to take roll.
  5. Students copy Practice sentence and revise according to the lesson focus. Note: both correct and incorrect usage of the lesson focus are included.
  6. Students self-correct and edit in another color pen or pencil. Make sure students understand that no points are deducted for self-corrections and edits.
  7. Students apply the lesson focus in an original sentence or two to demonstrate their mastery. Correct the Writing Application and award credit or points after every few lessons.

*Optional: Students can create a graphic organizer or draw a picture to review the lesson focus.

Skim the 112 Quick Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Video Lessons (each 2–5 minutes)

Latin Abbreviations for Time: Mechanics Lesson 1 Proper Nouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 1 Abbreviations and Acronyms: Mechanics Lesson 2 Common Nouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 2 Indirect Questions and Intentional Fragments: Mechanics Lesson 3 Types of Verbs: Grammar and Usage Lesson 3 Alphanumeric Outlines: Mechanics Lesson 4 Verb Tenses: Grammar and Usage Lesson 4 Semicolons with Phrases: Mechanics Lesson 5 Subject Case Pronouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 5 Apostrophes with Singular Possessives: Mechanics Lesson 6 Object Case Pronouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 6 Apostrophes with Plural Possessives: Mechanics Lesson 7 Possessive Pronouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 7 Apostrophes with Compound Subjects and Objects: Mechanics Lesson 8 Adjectives: Grammar and Usage Lesson 8 Apostrophes with Contractions: Mechanics Lesson 9 Verbs: Grammar and Usage Lesson 9 When Not to Use Commas: Mechanics Lesson 10 Adverbs: Grammar and Usage Lesson 10 Commas with Dates: Mechanics Lesson 11 Coordinating Conjunctions: Grammar and Usage Lesson 11 Commas in Letters: Mechanics Lesson 12 Correlative Conjunctions: Grammar and Usage Lesson 12 Commas in Addresses: Mechanics Lesson 13 Subordinating Conjunctions: Grammar and Usage Lesson 13 Commas with Family Titles: Mechanics Lesson 14 Prepositional Phrases: Grammar and Usage Lesson 14 Commas with Place Names: Mechanics Lesson 15 Subjects and Predicates: Grammar and Usage Lesson 15 Commas with Tag Questions: Mechanics Lesson 16 Direct Objects: Grammar and Usage Lesson 16 Commas with Beginning Nouns of Direct Speech: Mechanics Lesson 17 Indirect Objects: Grammar and Usage Lesson 17 Commas with Ending Nouns of Direct Speech: Mechanics Lesson 18 Phrases and Clauses: Grammar and Usage Lesson 18 Commas with Middle Nouns of Direct Speech: Mechanics Lesson 19 Complete Sentences, Fragments, and Run-ons: Grammar and Usage Lesson 19 Commas with Items in a List: Mechanics Lesson 20 Simple, Compound, and Complex Sentences: Grammar and Usage Lesson 20 Commas with Introductory Words: Mechanics Lesson 21 Compound-Complex Sentences: Grammar and Usage Lesson 21 Commas with Introductory Clauses: Mechanics Lesson 22 Types of Sentences: Grammar and Usage Lesson 22 Commas with Interjections: Mechanics Lesson 23 Noun Phrases: Grammar and Usage Lesson 23 Commas in Quotation Marks and Speaker Tags in Dialogue: Mechanics Lesson 24 Noun Clauses: Grammar and Usage Lesson 24 Commas in Compound Sentences: Mechanics Lesson 25 Indefinite Pronouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 25 Commas with Phrases and Clauses: Mechanics Lesson 26 Interrogative Pronouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 26 Commas with Complex Sentences: Mechanics Lesson 27 Demonstrative Pronouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 27 Commas with Coordinate Adjectives: Mechanics Lesson 28 Reflexive Pronouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 28 Commas with Hierarchical Adjectives: Mechanics Lesson 29 Intensive Pronouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 29 Commas with Nonrestrictive Relative Clauses: Mechanics Lesson 30 Nonrestrictive Relative Clauses: Grammar and Usage Lesson 30 Restrictive Relative Clauses: Mechanics Lesson 31 Restrictive Clauses: Grammar and Usage Lesson 31 Direct Quotations: Mechanics Lesson 32 Reciprocal Pronouns: Grammar and Usage Lesson 32 Indirect Quotations: Mechanics Lesson 33 Pronoun Antecedents: Grammar and Usage Lesson 33 Quotations within Quotations: Mechanics Lesson 34 Pronoun Number and Person Shifts: Grammar and Usage Lesson 34 Movie and Television Titles: Mechanics Lesson 35 Vague Pronoun References: Grammar and Usage Lesson 35 Book, Website, Newspaper, and Magazine Titles: Mechanics Lesson 36 Adjectival Phrases: Grammar and Usage Lesson 36 Plays and Works of Art Titles: Mechanics Lesson 37 Predicate Adjectives: Grammar and Usage Lesson 37 Song and Poem Titles: Mechanics Lesson 38 Short Comparative Modifiers: Grammar and Usage Lesson 38 Book Chapter Titles: Mechanics Lesson 39 Long Comparative Modifiers: Grammar and Usage Lesson 39 Article Titles: Mechanics Lesson 40 Short Superlative Modifiers: Grammar and Usage Lesson 40 Short Story and Document Titles: Mechanics Lesson 41 Long Superlative Modifiers: Grammar and Usage Lesson 41 Capitalizing People and Character Names: Mechanics Lesson 42 Misplaced Modifiers: Grammar and Usage Lesson 42 Capitalizing Things and Products: Mechanics Lesson 43 Dangling Modifiers: Grammar and Usage Lesson 43 Capitalizing Holidays and Dates: Mechanics Lesson 44 Verb Phrases: Grammar and Usage Lesson 44 Capitalizing Special Events and Historical Periods: Mechanics Lesson 45 Singular Subject-Verb Agreement: Grammar and Usage Lesson 45 Capitalizing Organizations and Businesses: Mechanics Lesson 46 Plural Subject-Verb Agreement: Grammar and Usage Lesson 46 Capitalizing Languages, Dialects, and People Groups: Mechanics Lesson 47 Shifts in Verb Tense: Grammar and Usage Lesson 47 Question Marks in Dialogue: Mechanics Lesson 48 Progressive Verb Tenses: Grammar and Usage Lesson 48 Exclamation Points: Mechanics Lesson 49 Perfect Verb Tenses: Grammar and Usage Lesson 49 Colons: Mechanics Lesson 50 Adverbial Clauses: Grammar and Usage Lesson 50 Parentheses: Mechanics Lesson 51 Adverb Order: Grammar and Usage Lesson 51 Dashes: Mechanics Lesson 52 Non-standard English Deletions: Grammar and Usage Lesson 52 Brackets: Mechanics Lesson 53 Non-standard English Additions: Grammar and Usage Lesson 53 Capitalizing: Mechanics Lesson 54 Non-standard English Substitutions: Grammar and Usage Lesson 54 Slashes: Mechanics Lesson 55 Common Misused Words: Grammar and Usage Lesson 55 Numbers within Text: Mechanics Lesson 56 Common Misused Words: Grammar and Usage Lesson

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I’m Mark Pennington, author of many popular, easy-to-teach grammar resources. Check out these four types of grammar resources: 1. Interactive notebook 2. Literacy centers and 3.  Traditional grade-level grammar programs 4. Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) BUNDLES

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. The grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 BUNDLE offers a comprehensive program to teach every standard in the Anchor Standards for Language.

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

Get the Grammar and Mechanics Grades 4-8 Instructional Scope and Sequence FREE Resource:

Get the Diagnostic Grammar and Usage Assessment FREE Resource:

Get the Diagnostic Mechanics Assessment FREE Resource:

At last! Here’s the link to the 112 Quick Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Video Lessons.  http://bit.ly/1zpoBwb

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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.

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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:

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Academic Word List

Not too many teachers would argue that vocabulary acquisition is unimportant.

It is widely accepted among researchers that the difference in students’ vocabulary levels is a key factor in disparities in academic achievement (Baumann & Kameenui, 1991; Becker, 1977; Stanovich, 1986)

As cited in the Common Core State Standards Appendix A 

However, the average ELA teacher spends little instructional time on vocabulary development.

Vocabulary instruction has been neither frequent nor systematic in most schools (Biemiller, 2001; Durkin, 1978; Lesaux, Kieffer, Faller, & Kelley, 2010; Scott & Nagy, 1997).

As cited in the Common Core State Standards Appendix A 

Vocabulary Instruction

Depth and Breadth

The Common Core authors and reading specialists advocate a two-fold approach to vocabulary instruction: 1. Explicit and multi-faceted vocabulary instruction and 2.  implicit vocabulary acquisition through independent reading and listening. Depth and breadth.

What does in-depth explicit vocabulary instruction look like?

The Common Core authors provide the most detailed vocabulary Standards in The Language Strand: Vocabulary Acquisition and Use (Standards 4, 5, and 6):

  1. Multiple Meaning Words and Context Clues (L.4.a.)
  2. Greek and Latin Word Parts (L.4.a.)
  3. Language Resources (L.4.c.d.)
  4. Figures of Speech (L.5.a.)
  5. Word Relationships (L.5.b.)
  6. Connotations (L.5.c.)
  7. Academic Language Words (L.6.0)

Most ELA and reading teachers are familiar with #s 1–6, but are confused about #7: Academic Language Words (L.6.0). By now, most teachers know that Academic Language Words are the Tier 2 words, which reading specialists and the Common Core authors tell us to teach because they are the most generalizable across all text genre. As a reminder, Tier 1 words are those used in everyday speech and Tier 3 words are domain-specific words used in content area instruction. However, what many teachers don’t know is that we have a research-based list of high frequency Tier 2 words.

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Dr. Averil Coxhead, senior lecturer at the Victoria University of Wellington School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies developed and evaluated The Academic Word List (AWL) for her MA thesis. The list has 570 word families which were selected according to certain criteria:
  • The word families must occur in over half of the 28 academic subject areas. “Just over 94% of the words in the AWL occur in 20 or more subject areas. This principle ensures that the words in the AWL are useful for all learners, no matter what their area of study or what combination of subjects they take at tertiary level.”
  • “The AWL families had to occur over 100 times in the 3,500,000 word Academic Corpus in order to be considered for inclusion in the list. This principle ensures that the words will be met a reasonable number of times in academic texts.” The academic corpus refers to a computer-generated list of most-frequently occurring academic words.
  • “The AWL families had to occur a minimum of 10 times in each faculty of the Academic Corpus to be considered for inclusion in the list. This principle ensures that the vocabulary is useful for all learners.”

Words Excluded From the Academic Word List

  • “Words occurring in the first 2,000 words of English.”
  • “Narrow range words. Words which occurred in fewer than 4 faculty sections of the Academic Corpus or which occurred in fewer than 15 of the 28 subject areas of the Academic Corpus were excluded because they had narrow range. Technical or specialist words often have narrow range and were excluded on this basis.”
  • “Proper nouns. The names of places, people, countries, for example, New Zealand, Jim Bolger and Wellington were excluded from the list.”
  • “Latin forms. Some of the most common Latin forms in the Academic Corpus were et al, etc, ie, and ibid.” http://www.victoria.ac.nz/lals/resources/academicwordlist/information

What’s the best way to teach the Academic Word List? The author’s grades 4, 5, 6,7 and 8 Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits  use the Frayer model four

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grades 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits

square (definition, synonym, antonym, and example-characteristic-picture) method to learn these words in-depth.

Wouldn’t it be great if we had an instructional scope and sequence of the Academic Word List by grade level? In other words, a 4th Grade Academic Word List, a 5th Grade Academic Word List, a 6th Grade Academic Word List. a 7th Grade Academic Word List, and an 8th Grade Academic Word List? We’ve got it and it’s your FREE download!

Get the Academic Word Lists FREE Resource:

Would you like to check out our CCSS-aligned vocabulary worksheets from the Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits ?

Here are FREE samples of vocabulary worksheets from this comprehensive program–ready to teach in your class today. Each resource includes directions, four grade-specific vocabulary worksheets, worksheet answers, vocabulary study cards, and a short unit test with answers.

Get the Grade 4 Vocabulary Worksheets FREE Resource:

Get the Grade 5 Vocabulary Worksheets FREE Resource:

Get the Grade 6 Vocabulary Worksheets FREE Resource:

Get the Grade 7 Vocabulary Worksheets FREE Resource:

Get the Grade 8 Vocabulary Worksheets FREE Resource:

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Squinting Modifiers

Avoiding Squinting Modifiers

Squinting Modifiers

Not too many English teachers will read this article and teach this lesson plan. For the few who do, you need to know that you are really grammar nerding-out by examining the subject of squinting modifiers. I, myself, had never heard of the term until the advent of the Common Core State Standards. I was teaching eighth-grade ELA and found “squinting modifiers” listed as a Language Strand Standard. I knew all about misplaced and dangling modifiers, as no doubt you do, too; however, this old dog needed to learn a few new tricks.

It’s not like I hadn’t seen squinting modifiers in my students’ writing (and in my own). I had assumed that these writing errors were classified as misplaced modifiers. Not so. Neither were squinting and dangling modifiers the same. The latter distinctions are frequently misunderstood. Re-examine the Trump and Clinton graphic after reading the lesson and you’ll see why countless ELA teachers have mistakenly referred to the future POTUS comment as a dangling modifier. It’s quite clearly a squinting modifier, I’m sure you will agree. No huge matter; it’s a modifier error that needs fixin’, but the confusion is not a distinction without a difference. Teaching your students to identify the differences among modifiers will equip your students with specific revision strategies to avoid these errors.

Following is a quick lesson to help your students. If the lesson works for your students, check out these related lessons: comparative modifiers, superlative modifiers, misplaced modifiers, and dangling modifiers (CCSS L.1). These modifier lessons are excerpts from Pennington Publishing’s full-year Teaching Grammar and Mechanics programs.

Squinting Modifiers Lesson

Today we are studying squinting modifiers. Remember that an adjective modifies a noun or pronoun and answers Which one? How many? or What kind? An adverb modifies a verb, an adjective, or an adverb and answers What degree? How? Where? or When? A modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that serves as an adjective or adverb to describe, limit, or add to another word, phrase, or clause.

A squinting modifier is a word or phrase placed between two words so that it could be misunderstood to describe either word. Revise by placing the modifier before or after the word, phrase, or clause that it modifies. Example: Walking up hills quickly strengthens your legs. “Quickly” could modify “hills” or “strengthens.

Sentence Diagram

Modifiers are placed to the right of the predicate after a backward slanted line in sentence diagrams. The object of comparison is placed under the modifier and is connected with a dotted, slanted line. A squinting modifier will create confusion for a sentence diagrammer, because the diagrammer will have some uncertainty as to where to place the modifier. Uncertainly is always a good clue that something is not quite right and must be revised. That’s why sentence diagramming can be an excellent tool for developing writers. 

Examine the sentence diagram on the left with the squinting modifier, and revise on the right.

Avoiding Squinting Modifiers

Squinting Modifiers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to learn more about sentence diagramming and get free lesson plans? Check out “How to Teach Sentence Diagramming.”

Mentor Text

This mentor text, written by Francois de La Rochefoucauld (the French author), avoids squinting modifiers and uses contrasting modifiers to make a humorous point. Let’s read it carefully: ‘Why is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how often we have told it to the same person?

Writing Application

Now let’s apply what we’ve learned to respond to this quote and compose a sentence with contrasting modifiers. Create your own squinting modifier if you wish.

Remember that the above lesson is just an excerpt of the full lesson from my Teaching Grammar and Mechanics programs. Want the full lesson, formatted for display, and the accompanying student worksheet with the full lesson text, practice, fill-in-the-blank simple sentence diagram, practice (including error analysis), and formative assessment sentence dictation? You’ve got it! I want you to see the instructional quality of my full-year programs. Click below and submit your email to opt in to our Pennington Publishing newsletter, and you’ll get the lesson immediately.

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Teaching Grammar and Mechanics Programs

Teaching Grammar and Mechanics

 

I’m Mark Pennington, author of the full-year interactive grammar notebooks,  grammar literacy centers, the traditional grade-level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and high school Teaching Grammar and Mechanics programs, and the value-packed Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary BUNDLES.

Teaching Grammar and Mechanics includes 56 (64 for high school) interactive language conventions lessons,  designed for twice-per-week direct instruction in the grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics standards. The scripted lessons (perfect for the grammatically-challenged teacher) are formatted for classroom display. Standards review, definitions and examples, practice and error analysis, simple sentence diagrams, mentor texts with writing applications, and formative assessments are woven into every 25-minute lesson. The program also includes the Diagnostic Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Assessments with corresponding worksheets to help students catch up, while they keep up with grade-level, standards-aligned instruction.

Get the Squinting Modifiers Full Lesson FREE Resource:

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Dangling Modifiers

Avoiding Dangling Modifiers

Dangling Modifiers

“Tossed high in the air, the dog caught the Frisbee®.” That poor dog! Obviously, “Tossed high into the air” was not intended to modify the dog. The writer meant the Frisbee®; however the one being modified is not identified, so we have a perfect case of a dangling modifier.

Following is a quick lesson to help your students. If the lesson works for your students, check out these related lessons: comparative modifiers, superlative modifiers, misplaced modifiers, and squinting modifiers (CCSS L.1). These modifier lessons are excerpts from Pennington Publishing’s full-year Teaching Grammar and Mechanics programs.

Dangling Modifiers Lesson

Today we are studying dangling modifiers. Remember that an adjective modifies a noun or pronoun and answers Which one? How many? or What kind? An adverb modifies a verb, an adjective, or an adverb and answers What degree? How? Where? or When? A modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that serves as an adjective or adverb to describe, limit, or add to another word, phrase, or clause.

A dangling modifier is an adjective or adverb that does not have a clear connection to the word, phrase, or clause to which it refers. A dangling modifier usually takes the form of a present participle (“__ing”), a past participle (“__d,” “__t,” “__ed,” “__ en”), or an infinitive (to + the base form of a verb). To eliminate the dangling modifier, place the do-er of the sentence as the subject of the independent clause or combine the phrase and independent clause. Example: Fired from your job, your car became your home. (Your car was not fired; you were).

Sentence Diagram

Modifiers are placed to the right of the predicate after a backward slanted line in sentence diagrams. The object of comparison is placed under the modifier and is connected with a dotted, slanted line. A dangling modifier will not fit properly in a sentence diagram, because it has nothing to modify. One great reason to teach sentence diagramming; if a word or phrase does not fit, it is misused. Where might the modifiers, “Our own” be misplaced within this sentence and so create confusion? Answers: Our children loved their own presents. Their children loved our own presents.

Want to learn more about sentence diagramming and get free lesson plans? Check out “How to Teach Sentence Diagramming.”

In the sentence diagrammed below, “After learning the facts, the article was helpful” includes a dangling modifier. Did the article learn the facts or someone else? Obviously, the person being modified is not mentioned: hence, the dangling modifier.

Avoiding Dangling Modifiers

Dangling Modifiers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mentor Text

This mentor text, written by George Bernard Shaw (the British author and humorist), uses an adjectival phrase to modify “countries” for humorous effect. Let’s read it carefully: “England and America are two countries separated by a common language.”

Writing Application

Now let’s apply what we’ve learned to respond to this quote and compose a sentence with a modifying adverbial phrase. Create your own dangling modifier if you wish.

Remember that the above lesson is just an excerpt of the full lesson from my Teaching Grammar and Mechanics programs. Want the full lesson, formatted for display, and the accompanying student worksheet with the full lesson text, practice, fill-in-the-blank simple sentence diagram, practice (including error analysis), and formative assessment sentence dictation? You’ve got it! I want you to see the instructional quality of my full-year programs. Click below and submit your email to opt in to our Pennington Publishing newsletter, and you’ll get the lesson immediately.

*****

Teaching Grammar and Mechanics Programs

Teaching Grammar and Mechanics

 

I’m Mark Pennington, author of the full-year interactive grammar notebooks,  grammar literacy centers, the traditional grade-level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and high school Teaching Grammar and Mechanics programs, and the value-packed Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary BUNDLES.

Teaching Grammar and Mechanics includes 56 (64 for high school) interactive language conventions lessons,  designed for twice-per-week direct instruction in the grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics standards. The scripted lessons (perfect for the grammatically-challenged teacher) are formatted for classroom display. Standards review, definitions and examples, practice and error analysis, simple sentence diagrams, mentor texts with writing applications, and formative assessments are woven into every 25-minute lesson. The program also includes the Diagnostic Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Assessments with corresponding worksheets to help students catch up, while they keep up with grade-level, standards-aligned instruction.

Get the Dangling Modifiers Full Lesson FREE Resource:

Grammar/Mechanics, Literacy Centers, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , ,