Week 9 – The One Room School House and Verb Anatomy

Yesterday had to be one of my favorite days with my Essentials families! From time to time, we combine our Essentials A and B classes.  Yesterday was one of those days!  So roughly twenty 9-12 year olds were under my direction as we reviewed, learned a little more about verb anatomy, practiced dressing up sentences, read papers, and had mental math challenge.  The tutor intrepid, the energy incredible, the eagerness intoxicating, and the excitement interminable. Students recite conjugations (what’s that??).  The simple, present tense of  To Play. I play You play He She It plays We play You (all) play They play Now simple, past tense. Now simple, future tense.  We are conjugating the verb To Play! Now let’s do the same for To Work.  No problem. A student names a verb – To Run.  Uh-oh! That’s an irregular verb!  No problem, we can handle it! Next students are asked to create sentences following a certain sentence pattern – then parse and diagram to make sure they did indeed create a sentence that followed the assigned sentence pattern. We chant the linking verb list, noting that the forms of the verb To Be are the most often used linking verbs. Students chant the preposition list while hopping on one foot. Did I mention that many younger siblings were playing quietly in the back of the room?  …hearing the chants. We then flow into sentence modification – connecting dress-ups and sentence openers.  Students take one simple S-Vt-DO sentence and add adjectives, adverbs, prepositional phrases and even a few www.asiab and who/which clauses.  Older students are called on to help the...
Week 8 – May I Propose a Preposition for Your Sentence?

Week 8 – May I Propose a Preposition for Your Sentence?

We’re back at the language excavation site! Digging deep and uncovering more language building blocks! About, above, across, after, against, along, amid, among, … and so the Essentials (and Foundations) preposition chant goes! These simple little words are called prepositions. Here some helpful preposition and prepositional phrase facts: Prepositions relate a noun or a pronoun to other words in a sentence. Prepositions will always be followed by an object of the preposition (noun or pronoun) thus creating a prepositional phrase. A prepositional phrase that answers an adverb question is called an adverbial phrase. A prepositional phrase that answers an adjective question is called an adjectival phrase. Do IT! Taking our core, tried-and-true sentence: Jesus wept. … with the goal of making our sentence more interesting and informative, let’s have some fun with prepositions and prepositional phrases. When? –> After prayer, Jesus wept. Where? –> Among the people, Jesus wept. When we put a prepositional phrase at the beginning of sentence like this, we call it a prepositional opener. This is an IEW sentence opener and is a simple, stylistic writing tool. Now you do it! Pull out your list of prepositions Create a simple sentence See how many prepositions you can use to create interesting prepositional phrases that make your simple sentence, simply sensational! EEL Extra! for Prepositions EEL Extra –...

Week 7 – Enlightening and Vitalizing Adverbs

How? When? Where? Why? To what extent? These questions are the most commonly used ADVERB questions.  Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs.  They are powerful and fun!  Answering these questions adds vitality to your writing. Bringing your writing to life, as the reader puts your main idea(s) into a greater context or related framework.  Adverbs bring color to the core idea or ideas your sentence is conveying. Take the rather simple, relatively uninteresting sentence below: Jesus loves me. Could this sentence use a little color?  A little more life?  Be a bit more informative? Note the adverbs in italics.  Some are single-word (often -ly words), others are phrases, still others are clauses. How does Jesus love me? –> Jesus loves me unconditionally. When does Jesus love me? –> Yesterday, today, and forever, Jesus loves me. Where does Jesus love me? –> In the garden, Jesus loved me. Why does Jesus love me? –> Jesus loves me because He made me. To what extent does Jesus love me? –> Jesus always loves me. Most prepositional phrases are adverbial, because they answer one of the adverb questions. These are called adverbial phrases.  More on prepositions NEXT WEEK!! So stay tuned! Adverbial clauses contain a subordinating conjunction (refer to your conjunction chart in Appendix B/C).  The most commonly used subordinating conjunctions follow a nifty acronym: when where while as Since if although because IEW calls these sentence openers – www.asiab sentence openers.  First year students will begin using these openers in their writing soon.  For 2nd and 3rd year students this will be review! EEL Challenge: 2nd and 3rd year students...

Week 6 – Conjunctions, Connections and Compounds

Conjunction junction what’s your function?  Hooking up words, phrases and clauses.  So the School House Rock song goes! This week we see how conjunctions, specifically coordinating conjunctions, are used to join two or more independent clauses together in order to add more flavor, variety and complexity in our writing and overall communication. Too many simple sentences, can make our writing a little boring and even… well… a little simple.  So let’s learn some ways to spice up our writing and to make it more interesting! Focusing on the coordinating conjunctions (FANBOYS), let’s create compound sentences using all of the coordinating conjunctions with the following sentences: I ran home. I was tired. For–> I ran home for I was tired. (for is used to show cause or consequence relationship) And –> I ran home and I was tired. (and is used to show similarity or association) Nor –> I ran home nor I was tired. (nor is used to show similarity or association) But –> I ran home but I was tired. (but is used to show contrast or opposition) Or –> I ran home or I was tired. (or is used to show choice or omission) Yet –> I ran home yet I was tired. (yet is used to show contrast or opposition) So –> I ran home so I was tired.  (so is used to show result or consequence) Notice that the NOR and OR compound sentences don’t really make sense.  We would need slight modifications to the independent clauses to make more relational sense.  Like: I didn’t run home nor was I tired. I could run home...

Week 5 – Informative Interrogatives

Who?   What?   Where?   When?   Why?   How? Interrogatives, in the gentler sense of the word, have to be my favorite sentence purpose.  Interrogatives (questions) are the bedrock upon which relationships are formed and eventually mature.  Through the use of interrogatives you uncover the priorities, values, heart and mind of another person (and many times yourself).  How are you?  What is your favorite ________? Are you all right?  Is there anything I can do?  What would you do if __________? Do you know _______? Do you like ________? Have you ever _______? May I help? Questions like these, enable us learn about the one of whom we are asking the questions.  In my mind, when a person uses questions like these it reveals an other-centeredness.  Someone that cares about hearing others and not just being heard.  Ahhh… good communication is key for healthy, strong relationships, isn’t it?!? Do you understand? Jesus masterfully used interrogatives to reveal the understanding, motives and heart of others, especially the religious leaders.  I find the use of interrogatives in order to check understanding most fascinating!  Jesus had a disarming yet authoritative way of weaving interrogatives into his teaching to keep the student/person engaged and their mind actively focused.  Here are some examples from the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7): You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gathers do the same? Look at the birds… Are you not worth much more than they?… Why are you...

Week 4 – Imperatives! Diagramming? Phonograms!

Another wonderful day of discovery and learning!  As we uncover more purposes and analytical tasks, students are enjoying the challenge. Imperatives This week we turn our attention to a new and unique purpose, imperatives.  Imperatives are commands.  They may have a noun of direct address, but always contain the hidden implied you.  Imperatives are always in 2nd person – as you are talking to a person and the verb is always in present tense. Refer to your field guide (EEL Guide) week 4 for more about imperatives. Sentence Shuffle (by purpose) Taking some sentences from this week’s EEL editing exercise (p 59), we transformed a few declarative and interrogative sentences into imperative sentences.  Pharisees questioned him.    —>    Question him. I also made the sentences from this week’s Teacher Sheets into declarative sentences, and then had the students turned them into imperatives.  I wept tearfully.      —>        Weep.    or   Weep tearfully. We discussed the implied you and the verb tense change (if any).  This simple exercise produced some wonderful dialogue as we unearthed more language concepts and applied the concept utilizing our trusty tools (EEL tasks). Diagramming Let’s make a picture of that sentence!  Diagramming helps us analyze the structure of a sentence and the role of each word, phrase and clause.  In my own children’s writings if we encounter a sentence that seems unclear, I will have them stop and diagram it.  This helps the student to really examine what they are trying to say and the best way to say it. Students should already be working on page B7/C7.  Students should be copying this page at first, then...