I have written lessons to accompany Woe Is I, Jr., a grammar handbook for kids. You can read my introductory comments here.

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7

1.   Read chapter 8.

2.   Go on a hunt for capitalized words in magazines, newspapers, junk mail, anything in which you can leave gaping holes. Cut out the words and categorize them on A Capital Idea. If they are a unit, like a book title or an address, leave them as a unit.

3.   Write a diary entry as though you are your favorite cartoon or comic book character. Use words from each category, either ones you make up or ones that are on your chart.
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.
remember mr. wright's classroom in punctuation takes a vacation?  well, robin pulver takes us there again in the case of the incapacitated capitals, where mr. wright tries to teach his students the proper use of capital letters.  he succeeds but not without the help of an emergency team. (Wow, this paragraph desperately needs that team, too!)

Possible activities for students to do with this book:

  • The students in Mr. Wright's class write a letter to the principal without a single uppercase letter. Before reading the book together, ask your students to highlight any lowercase letters which should be uppercase. You can find the letter here in pdf format.  After you've read and discussed the book, have them do it again, if the exercise was troublesome the first time.
  • On various pages of the book, Pulver mentions words which should be capitalized.  Invite your students to make a list with each one.  Once the list is complete, have them make a table, adding examples for each category. Or they can use index cards, one for each category.
  • Mr. Wright's students write a letter. Have your students write one, too, using words from as many categories as they can, emphasizing each capital letter with color.