Some might call me an English geek, but I love to read grammar handbooks.  Last week I found one written just for kids: Woe Is I Jr.: The Younger Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English by Patricia T. O'Connor. (She also wrote Woe Is I for adults, which I haven't read.)

I'm a fan. How couldn't I be?  O'Connor explains grammatical principles all kids need, in a way they can understand. I can't wait to use it; I just need to find my first victim, I mean, student. Don't be surprised if I work the book into lessons here, but until that happens, I wanted to be sure you know about it.

One bummer: Unfortunately, you'll have to tolerate occasional mentions of poop and vomit, belches and boogers. Otherwise, O'Connor does well with writing conversationally, using examples and jokes which keep the content from becoming dense and dry.
* Go on a mad dash through the farm as fox chases mouse around, under, into, out... in Rick Walton's Around the House the Fox Chased the Mouse.

* After resting from the chase, work through the three learning activities included at the end of the book.

* Next, see if students can identify the prepositions and prepositional phrases in Inside Mouse, Outside Mouse by Lindsay Barrett George.

* Now students are ready to write an adventure of their own with prepositions. Give them list.

* Submit adventures to the Student Showcase for others to enjoy!
1. Find a sofa and a little person, sit down with your arm around him or her, and read A Sick Day for Amos McGee, the 2011 Caldecott Medal winner. Such a sweet book with a precious main character.

2. If you want to use this book as a teaching tool, find another young one, if the first one is too young, who wants to go on a verb hunt. Philip C. Stead includes many worth noticing.

How many active verbs are there?
    (Some examples: clanged, swung, swapped, curled, worried, yawned)

If you simply want to delight in strong verbs, stop here.  If you want to search for different forms of verbs, continue.

How many helping verbs are there?
    (Some examples: would wind, could use, will share)
    Note: Don't miss all of the ones where the "would" is mentioned with the first verb         but implied with the verbs in the rest in the sentence.)

How many participles are there?
    (Some examples: scratching, keeping, knowing)

How many infinitives are there?
    (Two examples: to visit, to feel)

3. You've enjoyed the book; you've hunted for verbs; now join the Amos fan club. Isn't he adorable?!