Saturday, March 15, 2008

Grammar for 3rd Term

I uploaded a chart showing my plans (adaptable, of course) for Grammar for the two middle schoolers for the rest of the year.

I started the 2 boys, who are Year 9 and Year 6, on Daily Grammar. This is a nice online site with archives for daily exercises covering all the main grammar and mechanics on a simple level. You can buy their pdf workbook or you can look at the archives for free, or have free emails sent to your inbox.

The exercises only take about ten minutes per day. I used them once before quite successfully when my older set were in middle and high school. I usually copy them to my computer and format them so they look nicer. I wish I could share those files but I doubt if it would be kosher since the free part of the site depends on advertising.

As I looked around on the web for resources to use I rediscovered the KISS Grammar site and particularly the Starting in Middle School page. KISS Grammar is sort of overwhelming at first glance, but the Middle School overview is quite useful as a general starting point. The webmaster Dr Vavra lists objectives as follows:

A Minimal List of Objectives

Objective # 1 - Basic Subjects and Finite Verbs; Basic Compounds
Objective # 2 - Adding Adjectives and Adverbs

Objective # 3 - Adding Complements
Objective # 4 - Adding Prepositional Phrases
Objective # 5 -
The Psycholinguistic Model
Objective # 6 - Focus on Compounds (Optional)
Objective # 7 - Distinguishing Finite Verbs from Verbals
Objective # 8 - Clauses (Compound Main)
Objective # 9 - Subordinate Clauses
Objective # 10 - Analyzing My Own Writing
Objective 11 - Manipulating Clauses
Objective # 12 - More Practice with Real Passages

So you will see that the Daily Grammar exercises are listed in a different order than they are on the site. I picked the DG exercises that would go along with the KISS objectives, because I thought my middle schoolers would get confused if I just started them on the KISS exercises.

The overall GOAL of KISS is to teach grammar in the context of analyzing writing -- your own writing, and good models of literature. This goal is just so compatible with my own goals for grammar study.

Dr Vavra points out that generally, grammar is taught in isolation using contrived, simplistic sentences. Grammar principles are not taught in context of real sentences and real writing.

Now, the exercises at Daily Grammar are artificial and simplified, but there is a reason for this -- it is like showing a simple example in math before you start digging into real problem-solving and more complex examples. It allows the student to focus on the particular principle in mind.

So I am finding that they work well to introduce the KISS objectives.

I will probably write more about it some other time. This is long, but it would have been a lot longer had I written out everything I would liked to have said! Aren't you glad for my pitiful attempts to stay a bit concise!

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