It wasn't long ago that I mentioned a grammar handbook for kids:Woe Is I, Jr. by Patricia T. O'Conner. I said then that I might work the book into lessons here, but I changed my mind and  made supplementary lessons for the book instead.

I will post them on Mondays, chapter by chapter. Choose as many or as few as you like. The goal is to enliven the study of grammar by moving kids, grades 5ish to 8ish, away from the monotony of workbooks to assignments that allow them to tap into their creativity.

Having the book will be essential. It is the spine of the study.

Here are general instructions, written to the student, for all of the chapters:

1.   READ each chapter carefully, pretending that Ms. O’Conner is your tutor sitting beside you on the couch. When she asks you to do something, do it. Avoid the temptation to be a passive reader. Instead, think, engage, learn. Letting your eyes glaze and your mind wander will only waste your time, and you’ll know no more grammar than when you started. 

2.   WRITE short pieces to help you apply the concepts you are learning. After all, if you can’t apply the grammar, what good is it? Right? I can’t hear you. Right? (Typing the pieces is recommended, as it will make the entire process easier.) 

3.   COMPLETE the handouts included with this supplement. Handout titles are underlined and linked. 

4.   PRACTICE concepts by following the links to more grammar fun.

1.   Read the Introduction of Woe Is I, Jr

2.   Are you a grammarphobe, “somebody who has a phobia, or, fear, about grammar”?  If you were to camp on the line below, where would you pitch your tent?
(I’ll check in with you later to see if the tent moves one way or the other.)

3.   Okay, get it out of your system before you read any farther. Write a piece about anything—your opinion of grammar, for instance—with your absolutely worst grammar. Put punctuation marks in random places. Spell words incorrectly. Forget capital letters. (Even if you don’t have a single English teacher gene in your body, the sight of your writing will probably make you tremble.) Read it aloud. What do you think? Then give it to a friend to read. What is his/her reaction?

4.   How much do you already know about grammar? Well, let’s find out. In the left column of Grammar Glossary, write what you know about each word. Don’t worry if the sheet is bare when you’re finished. Blank spaces show you have some learning to do--which isn’t a bad thing.

As always, I would love to see examples of your students' writing in the comments. They just might be the catalyst another mom or student needs.

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