Advertisements

Tag Archives: Grammar

Generating Gerunds with Viral Videos

My 8th grade inclusion students recently started learning about verbals.  As if participles weren’t fun enough, we had to add gerunds to the mix.

Last week, one of my quietest students came to me and asked, “Can we please practice gerunds in study hall? I don’t understand them at all!”

My first instinct was to pull up a practice worksheet on the Smartboard and use those sentences to teach them the difference between a gerund functioning as a subject, a direct object, and a predicate nominative. (At this point we haven’t discussed object of the preposition.)

Other than easily identifying a word that ends in “-ing,” my students felt helpless.

Sometimes I get these crazy ideas for teaching a concept; they just pop in my head.

Take this video, for example. I have no idea what made me think of a video with a tiny Yorkie puppy doing lots of amazing tricks. My dad had sent this video to me long ago, impressed with the dog’s talents. My Yorkie, Blue, is nowhere near as talented.

I told my class to watch closely and remember as many tricks as possible.

After we watched the video, my students were able to write all kinds of sentences using gerunds as the subject and as a predicate nominative.

  • Pushing a shopping cart is the dog’s best trick.
  • Weaving in and out of cups would be hard to teach.
  • The puppy’s cutest trick is skateboarding.
  • Wrapping herself up in a blanket was the cutest trick.
  • Painting is a trick I would never expect a dog to do.
  • Pushing the car with her nose was a cute trick.
  • Putting away the laundry is a trick I should teach my dog!
  • The first trick I would teach my dog is doing my homework!

Of course, you know me, I’ve been trying to think of other ways to incorporate viral videos into my practice activities in Tornado Time.

There are a couple of routes I could go.  I could always go with an old classic like this:

Or I could find a series of viral videos like this one:

Knowing your students best, you probably already know what kind of videos you’d want to use.  Think of how you could get your students writing with particular parts of speech or sentence structures by giving them a visual prompt like this.

What viral video clips do you love?

What great ideas just popped into your head?

I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Understanding the Structure of Sentences

One of 7th grade Language standards is learning the different sentence types: simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex.

We’ve been working on this a lot, but some students are still not seeing the pattern.  I created this flowchart for them, and it seems to be helping.

photo

Sometimes students can figure this out by following formulas:

Ind. = Simple

Ind + Ind = Compound

Ind + Dep = Complex

Ind + Ind + Dep = Compound- Complex

This flowchart provides a visual and a series of choices and steps for students to follow.  We made a small copy for each student to paste in their journal. Now the trick is to get them to reference them!

My Issues with Teaching Grammar and How I’m Going to Try to Get Over It

How’s that for a title?

What I wanted to write was: I. Hate. Teaching. Grammar.

I have never been able to justify or understand why we need to know the names of parts of speech. I just don’t get it. I have tried all kinds of grammar instruction and nothing seems to be effective. I don’t enjoy it. The kids don’t enjoy it.

As part of my research over break – determined to find a new approach – I discovered a book by Jeff Anderson called Mechanically Inclined: Building Grammar, Usage, and Style into Writer’s Workshop.

mechanicallyinclined

I don’t do a Writer’s Workshop, but I did feel like I could incorporate this technique into my read aloud of Out of My Mind and my opening activities each day.

The key thing that sticks out for me in this strategy is the idea of Mentor Sentences, which is providing great example sentences from the text you are reading and building your instruction around those sentences.

Instead of explaining the whole process, here is a Prezi I found that does a good job of summarizing the book.

This is also a good explanation I found on another blog, Dandelions and Dragonflies. There are also some free posters at the end of the post. 

As I develop a good plan and work out the kinks, I will write a post to describe my approach with my Resource Room.

Meanwhile, if you’ve used Mentor Sentences in your classroom or agree, or disagree, with Jeff Anderson’s philosophy, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Change is Exciting

Yesterday we went back to school for one day. Today is a snow day. Tomorrow is the weekend.We will try again next week.

I am, as any teacher is, thrilled to be home today – even if my puppy still doesn’t understand the concept of sleeping in. I was able to make a hot breakfast and now I have time to blog before I venture out in the snow to pick up the kids for the weekend.

All that to say…I am anxious to get the 2014 ball rolling in my classroom. It’s not a new school year, but a new semester and I discovered a few things during break that made me rethink and revamp my plans and my teaching ideas.

Sometimes I feel like I have commitment issues as I change strategies, routines, and techniques.  But as I’ve fully embraced the ideas I’m about to try in my Resource Room and wrap my brain about how I’m going to pull this off and how it’s going to make things better in my classroom, I know that it’s not about being wishy-washy.

It’s about progress. It’s about finding things that work and inspire. Not just for the kids, but for me.

When I get to the point that my lesson plans are boring me to death, then I know that my kids must have gotten bored way before that.

So instead of saying, “For the love, Melanie…pick something and stick with it”…I find myself saying, “Oh man, they are going to love this.”

I admit, it’s not an easy sell all the time. Kids like things to be comfortable. But I know, from my small group, that they secretly enjoy the change-ups and the new ideas.

Yesterday I started with just a few new things….a new writing journal and a modified version of the strategy called Say Something.

Before we dove in though, I told them, in genuine, nerdy excitement about the reading and research I did over break…to help them.

“Wait! You did what? You did research on Christmas vacation? OMG!” is what I hear.

What I imagine them saying in their heads: “Thank goodness! Something new!! You’re the best teacher EV-ER!” 

Throughout class, I heard things like:

“Did you get this from that book you read?”

“Is this from your ‘research’?”

“Is this one of your new tricks?”

I loved that they were being very attentive, trying to catch me doing something new.

Excitement breeds excitement.  If I’m not excited about what I’m teaching, how will my students ever be excited?

How often do you change things up in your classroom?

What are you excited about trying second semester?

Did you do any “research” over break?

Other posts I’ve written about CHANGE:

Stumbled Upon: Free Language Stuff

I stumbled upon this great blog with hundreds of free worksheets in both Word and in PDF versions. These activities were created by a speech therapist and are great for elementary and special education students.

FreeLanguageStuff.com

These activities are simple, varied, and unique…a sentence mazes, sentences drops, bulls-eyes, and many, many more neat ideas.

Here is a menu from the blog to show you the topics that are covered.

20121016-213943.jpg

If you are looking for bell ringers, independent work, or simple ideas you can easily put up on the SMART Board….check it out.

The wheels are turning….so many possibilities!!
How will you use these resources?

%d bloggers like this: