Posts tagged grammar
Using Mentor Texts to Teach Irregular Verbs

The mentor texts for these two weeks, Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes and The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, are similar in the sense that they are amazing examples of kids working through problems. Both books are easy to sell during the book talk because kids love books where students are handling conflict. I love teaching irregular verbs over the course of two weeks because the first week we learn what irregular verbs are and then do some practicing with examples. In the second week, we combine standard past tense verbs with an -ed ending, AND we also use irregular verbs in our sentences. We are still building on our work with action verbs/verbs of being and helping verbs from previous weeks.

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Using Mentor Texts to Teach Helping and Linking Verbs

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander might be one of my all-time favorite mentor texts. It could be because kids love the novel-in-verse format of this book, or the basketball theme, or the fact that they want to know what happens each quarter. This is an easy book to book talk because it just grabs kids. I love using this book to show helping and linking verbs in the present tense. This continues from the work the previous week where students identified action verbs and verbs of being. This lesson speaks to the easy conversational tone that we all have with each other on a daily basis. Kwame Alexander sounds like me. He sounds like you. This directly links to the ability to make grammar accessible because it is something we already know, we just have to know what to call the writer move when we make it.

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Using Mentor Texts to Teach Simple Sentences

One of my big mentor text reflections from last year was that I felt like I didn’t spend enough time on the basic parts of the sentence. Things like subject, predicate, verbs, and adjectives. These are the things that middle school teachers are always teaching and re-teaching, but I really wanted to frontload these skills at the beginning of the year. There are so many variations in the English language, so I really want to encourage my sixth-graders to have a strong grasp of the simple sentence before moving forward. Even in my advanced sections where students have reading levels well into the highschool range, they were identified as struggling on identifying the subjects of sentences.

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Weekly Blog Round Up: Grammar Instruction

For the first every weekly blog round-up, I wanted to start with one of the hardest and most controversial topics to teach when it comes to English Language Arts and writing instruction: grammar. Understanding grammar is essential to understanding how to put thought on paper, and yet it often falls off to the side of any planbook because we get stuck on ideas, content, voice, and organization. Even with my new rubric coding following the six traits of writing, I grade voice, organization, and ideas first, and only then do I go back in and help students edit and revise in terms of conventions, grammar, word choice, and sentence fluency. 

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