Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Week 14 Recap & Notes

Well, who's a bad tutor?  How about the one who didn't post for week 13?  :)  I'm sorry about that!  Our family had foster parenting orientation after CC and I totally forgot about it after I got home that night.

Onto what we covered today!

EEL:  We continued covering sentences in the S-Vt-IO-DO pattern, only studying the imperative purpose instead of the declarative purpose.  We learned how to diagram a complex sentence with an adverbial clause (www.asia.wub clause) and reviewed how to diagram a complex sentence with an adjectival clause (who/which, i.e. relative pronoun).

This week the name of the game is practice, practice, practice!  Make sure you are doing your task sheets every day.  The question/confirmation & diagramming are already done for you in the examples at the end of the week's lesson, so there's no reason not to try!

  • Memorize the definitions for independent clauses (you should know this one by now - we've been reciting this since week 1!), subordinate/dependent clauses, clause, phrase, and complex sentence.  These definitions can be found at the beginning of the lesson for week 13 (page 201).
  • Memorize your prepositions (use the song from Foundations if you still need help!) and your conjunctions.  You have to be able to recognize these by sight in sentences!
  • Memorize the questions adjectives and adverbs answer.  This will help you when determining if a clause/phrase is adjectival or adverbial.
Review the difference in diagramming between adjectival clauses and adverbial clauses.

Use Chart M on page 422 to practice identifying independent and subordinate/dependent clauses.  Once the subordinate clause has been identified, label it as adjectival or adverbial.  Try question/confirming & diagramming the sentence - there's no such thing as too much practice!

We touched very briefly on verb mood & voice.  Review this material in the lesson for week 14.  There was also a small section on verb voices and moods in week 2 (page 37-38).  You can also use Chart EE (page 449) for more help on verb moods.  For more info on verb voices, see charts CC & DD (pages 447-448).

IEW:  We started the foundation for our research papers this week.  In class, we worked on Lesson 15 (page 109) in the student book.  We observed the topics of the paragraphs in each source text, then eliminated one topic to narrow down our papers to 3 paragraphs.  From there we moved on to outlining each paragraph of our first topic, then creating a fused outline from the key words we took from those two paragraphs.

I know this got confusing toward the end of class, so I will try to break it down as best I can here on the blog.

For Source 1 ("A Great Empire"), we labeled each paragraph with the following topics:  1 - How Rome Began; 2 - Rome's Greatness; 3 - Roman Society; and 4 - Roman Government.  For Source 2 ("Ancient Rome"), we labeled each paragraph with the following topics:  1 - How Rome Began; 2 - Roman Government; 3 - Roman Society; and 4 - Rome's Greatness.  Remember, we derived the topics of each paragraph based on the topic & clincher sentences of each paragraph.

Since we had to narrow down our 4 topics to 3, we decided Roman Society would be the topic to leave out of our papers.  That left our class with How Rome Began, Rome's Greatness, and Roman Government.  (But if you choose to use Roman Society instead of one of these topics, that's totally OK.  Parents are in charge of this!)  :)

From there, we began working on our first outline for our first topic: How Rome Began.  We made individual keyword outlines (based on the most important & interesting facts, not each sentence!) then created a fused outline of the topic.  To simplify even further, that means we KWO'ed paragraph 1 of Source 1, KWO'ed paragraph 1 of Source 2, then made a fused outline from the two outlines.  This information was recorded on page 112 of the student book.

This process should be repeated for our other two topics.  On page 114, you will outline the topic Rome's Greatness.  KWO paragraph 2 from Source 1, then KWO paragraph 4 from Source 2.  Then created your fused outline at the bottom of page 114.  On page 116, you will outline the topic Roman Government.  KWO paragraph 4 of Source 1, then KWO paragraph 2 of Source 2.  Then create your fused outline at the bottom of page 116.

From there, you will write your three paragraphs based on your three fused outlines.  You may add your dress-ups, decorations, sentence openers, etc. or you can keep it as a rough draft and add your edits next week.  We will continue working on these research papers for the next two weeks.

That's all for this week!  As always, please email me if you have any questions!  See everyone on Tuesday!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It's break time!

Can you believe we've made it twelve weeks?

I remember the first two weeks of Essentials had many of us (myself included!) wanting to breathe into a paper bag.  And now here we are - halfway through the whole year!

I have to give a huge THANK YOU to all you parents who have worked so hard this semester!  First time taking Essentials is not an easy undertaking, and is, at times, overwhelming.  Your hard work and dedication is evident in the progress of your students!

And speaking of the students, can I just say what an absolute joy it is to be the tutor for your students?  You have the most wonderful children, and they make me look forward to coming to CC each week.  I love each and every one of them, even on the crazy days!

We have a long break before our next meeting - 6 weeks, to be exact.  Obviously some of that time will be spent celebrating the holidays and probably just resting from a full semester.  Our return date is January 15th.  Please, please do not neglect your EEL work during this time!  It is of vital importance that your students have a solid working knowledge of what we've covered this semester before moving ahead.  Next semester is tough.  We introduce complex sentences, then compound-complex, and also introduce three new sentence patterns.  While that might not seem like a lot, the degree of difficulty rises considerably.  We will also begin the quid et quo, which is drilling down each word in each sentence until we know every fact about it.  It's a lot of work.  (But they - and you - can do it!

So what to do during the break? 

1.  Continue memorizing your charts.  As we saw in class today with the discussion of "who" as an adjective and/or possessive pronoun, it's so important to have those charts memorized so you can be familiar with your parts of speech.  Practice reciting them orally, write them out, or fill in the blank copies found at the back of your guide (make copies first so you don't use up the only consumable sheets available in your guide - there are no digital copies of the blank charts!).  We have covered Charts A-J thus far.

2.  Practice, practice, practice your task sheet!  I love the idea of letting your students question/confirm & diagram sentences taken from your Christmas letters.  If the thought of making up sentences makes you want to pull your hair out, you could also pull out a verse from the Bible during your Bible study time or other sentences from your student's other school materials.  Or simply go through some of the sentences we've already done this year and change them up.  Swap out nouns & verbs and have your students go through the task sheet for the new sentence.  Work with them to memorize the question/confirmation.  I've previously linked some aides for question/confirmation from Shurley Grammar on the blog (week 5, I think). 

3.  For IEW, there are no assignments to complete over the break.  But if you come across any writing your student has to do for their other school work, you can always review what we've learned in IEW to make that piece of writing better.  Dress ups, decorations, sentence openers, topic & clinchers, etc.

The books I referenced today (for extra help with grammar & diagramming):

Our Mother Tongue:  http://www.amazon.com/Our-Mother-Tongue-Introductory-English/dp/1591280117/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354056357&sr=8-1&keywords=our+mother+tongue

Grammar & Diagramming Sentences:  http://www.amazon.com/Grammar-Diagramming-Sentences-Advanced-Straight/dp/093199375X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1354056429&sr=1-1&keywords=diagramming+sentences

These are the Amazon links; I am not sure if these are available at local retailers but it would be worth a look if you need something for extra practice.

That said, thank you thank you thank you again for all your hard work!  This has been a wonderful semester, and I am excited about everything we're going to learn together next semester!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas & New Year's!  Enjoy your break!  :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Week 10 Recap & Notes

Here's what we covered today in class:

EEL:  We introduced a new part of speech - the adjective!  We've now covered all the parts of speech listed on Chart A!  We did not spend a whole lot of time on adjectives; please have your students work on memorizing Chart L (on the back of your EEL trivium table or in the guide on page 420).  While we didn't go into great detail on the types of adjectives in class, it's important for your student to memorize them because when we move on to Task 6 (the quid et quo) they will need to know the specifics of each adjective.

After studying adjectives, the next logical move was to predicate adjectives.  Have your students keep working on memorizing linking verbs!  As I mentioned before, they will memorize them in the 2nd half of Foundations this year, but it would be to their benefit to begin memorizing the list of linking verbs now.  They can use Chart K (page 418) to help familiarize themselves with the forms of "to be."

Some of the linking verbs can be tricky, because the word can also double as a transitive verb depending on the pattern of the sentence.  Remember our examples today:

The crawfish smell spicy.  (S-Vl-PA)

I smell crawfish.  (S-Vt-DO)

This is why it is so critical for your students to work through the Question/Confirmation on the task sheet.  If they don't know how to do question/confirmation, they will have difficulty parsing & diagramming their sentences.  This is why it is so important for them to know the question/confirmation process!

For additional help with question/confirmation, you can reference the Analyzing the Task Sheet section at the end of week 3 (beginning on page 49).  There are also some helpful tips on the Shurley grammar site.  I linked those sites in the blog post from Week 5: http://essentialsmrsguy.blogspot.com/2012/10/week-5-recap-notes.html

Weekly Lesson: page 164-171
Weekly Sentences:  page 433
Task Sheet:  page 435

For extra help with adjectives, consult these lessons in Our Mother Tongue:
Adjectives:  Lesson 3, page 24
Subject Modified by an Adjective:  Lesson 13, page 62
Subject Modified by a Possessive Noun: Lesson 14, page 65
Subject Modified by Adjective Phrase: Lesson 16, page 68
Subject Modified by Adjective Clause: Lesson 17, page 71
Predicate with Predicate Adjective: Lesson 24, page 91
Adjectives & Adverbs, Comparative & Superlative: Lesson 48, 172

IEW:  We discussed topic & clincher sentences for our papers as a whole today.  This week we are combining the paragraphs we've written the last 2 weeks - the pyramids, the Sphinx, & the mummies - and combining them into one paper about ancient Egypt.  The assignment is Lesson 8; all that is required of you is to combine your three paragraphs into one paper and write a topic sentence & clincher sentence of the paper.  You can see examples of the topic/clincher on page 45 of the Student Book.

We also introduced another dress up: the who/which clause.  We practiced adding who/which clauses to our sentences to make them more interesting.  Add this dress up to your writing toolbox, and begin including it in your writing.  For more help with who/which clauses (also known as adjectival clauses), you can refer to this week's lesson in EEL or to Lesson 17 in Our Mother Tongue.

Can you believe we only have two weeks of class left?  We will meet next week and then have a break for Thanksgiving, then wrap up with Week 12 on November 27.  Hard to believe this year is almost over!  Be looking for an email from me with the tally sheet for the work your student has completed this semester.  When we return from Thanksgiving break, we will have our auction based on what all your students have completed so far!  They have done excellent work and deserve to be rewarded for their hard work!  (Parents, you do, too!)

Please email me with any questions!  I'll see you next Tuesday!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Week 9 Recap & Notes

Here's what we covered today in class.

EEL:  We began a new section of EEL today.  We're still sticking with compound sentences, but we've added a new pattern:  S-Vl-PN.

We began our coverage of linking verbs today.  Please work with your students to have them memorize the list of linking verbs.  They will do this later this year in Foundations, but it is beneficial to have them memorize the list now.  You can find the definition of a linking verb and a list of verbs on the Verbs chart (chart C).  This is also a good time to review the principal parts of a verb.  For further information about the verb to be, review chart K in the gear section of your EEL.  Remember the linking verb test: you should be able to replace the linking verb with an equal sign without changing the meaning of the sentence.

We also added a new noun usage today: the predicate nominative (you will find this listed on your Nouns chart (chart E).  Review the definition of a predicate nominative with your students, making sure to emphasize it can also be a pronoun and it renames or replaces the subject of the sentence.

Speaking of renaming/replacing, make sure to work through the question/confirmation for each practice sentence.  This is critical for determining whether the nouns in the predicates of our sentences are direct objects or predicate nominatives.  Students need to be very familiar with both the list of linking verbs and also the question confirmation process.

Task sheet, as always, is found on page 435.  Weekly sentences are found on page 433.  You can always scale back days 4-5 if the sentences are too difficult for your students (but this will require some creativity on your part!).

IEW:  We are continuing summarizing references, and this week we have added a new dress up:  the sentence opener #2 or the prepositional phrase opener.  If your students are having trouble with the #2 opener, pull out the list of prepositions from EEL and do the exercise we did in class today - find a subject opener sentence and try different prepositional phrases as openers.  The assignment is lesson 7, writing a paragraph each on the Sphinx and the mummies.  Work each sentence opener we've learned thus far into each paragraph at least once.  Make sure both paragraphs are completed for next week, because you will need them for lesson 8.

Remind your students to keep their KWOs of facts to no more than 5-7 sentences.  We're going for most interesting or most important, not writing an encyclopedia article!

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Week 8 Recap & Notes

Here's what we covered in class this week:

EEL:  We worked on the "Week 8" lesson in the EEL guide, and introduced a new part of speech: the preposition.  Any Essentials student who is also taking Foundations has the benefit of memorizing the list of prepositions this year.  There is an excellent song on the Foundations memory work audio CD (also available for download on CC Connected) that lists all the prepositions on the chart.  So have your students work on memorizing the Prepositions chart (go ahead and memorize all the prepositions - the Foundations tutors, myself included, will just have to deal with it!).  Remind your students that prepositions are labeled Pr and the object of the preposition is labeled OP.  We also covered the two types of prepositional phrases - adverbial and adjectival.  Adverbial phrases modify verbs, adverbs, & adjectives.  Adjectival phrases modify nouns & pronouns.  A list of questions to test what your prepositional phrase is modifying can be found in this week's lesson in the guide.  If time allows, have your students practice adding prepositional phrases to S-Vi declarative sentences and identify if the phrases are adverbial or adjectival.

This week we are working on interrogative, compound, S-Vt-DO sentences.  This week will wrap up our coverage of the pattern S-Vt-DO.  Remind your students the three ways to make a declarative/exclamatory sentence into an interrogative sentence: 1, change the end mark; 2, use an interrogative pronoun; and 3, add a helping verb.  For extra practice, your students can look over the sample sentences on Chart G and practice turning them into interrogative sentences.

As always, weekly sentences are found on page 433 and the editing exercise is at the end of the lesson.

IEW:  We get a bit of a break this week after the massive assignment from last week.  Today we introduced making KWOs from large blocks of text and summarizing references.  Remember, our goal is to outline facts, not just words.  Have your students practice selecting the most important and/or interesting facts in their source text(s) and make a KWO from that.  Keep your outlines between 5-7 points - no more than 7.  You may use the outline we made in class or you can have your student come up with a new outline.

Review a topic & clincher sentence with them, using the paragraph modeled on page 33 of the Student Book.  Show how key words in the topic & clincher sentence connect to form a cohesive paragraph.

We did not introduce any new dress ups or decorations this week, but please do not skimp on these in your writing!  Make your outline, brainstorm, and check your rough and final drafts against the checklist at the end of Lesson 6.

To find info on this in your materials, we are doing Unit IV/Summarizing References in our TWSS binders, Page 8 of the Student Resource Notebook (top outline only), and Lesson 6/page 33 in the Ancient History-Based Student Book.

Please email me if you have any questions!  See everyone next Tuesday!  Come prepared to read your papers!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Week 6 Recap & Notes

Hi parents!

I hope you all enjoyed your break last week!  Let's recap what we covered in class today.

EEL:  Today we introduced a new sentence structure (compound), sentence pattern (S-Vt-DO), & part of speech (conjunctions).  Study Chart H this week and make an effort to commit the lists of coordinating (FANBOYS) and subordinating (www.asia.wub) conjunctions to memory.  This will benefit you greatly as the year progresses.

We also looked at diagramming S-Vt-DO sentences, and also compound sentences.  If you have trouble remembering the Question Confirmation for our sentences, refer to the section at the end of week 3 (Special Section: Analytical Task Sheets in Detail).

Work through the task sheet for your sentences found on page 433 (remember to come up with new, easier sentences if they cannot do days 4 & 5), and tackle this week's editing exercise.  Another good exercise would be to go through the examples of compound sentences found on Chart G and break them down into single independent clauses.

Another point I didn't mention in class is to remind your students that if a verb is followed by a prepositional phrase, it is not a transitive verb.  I believe one of their sentences this week has an example like that.  Review prepositions with them so they will be able to notice what is a prepositional phrase and what is a direct object (with a possible article adjective).

I did not cover Task 5A because of time limits, but the students have already practiced this and can continue doing this on the task sheet.  They can also move to the first part of 5B, and practice making their compound sentence into a simple sentence.

IEW:  We continued our study of Story Sequence Charts.  We are working through Lesson 9 in the Student Book.  If they haven't done so already, have your students work through the outline pages in the student book, brainstorm for dress-ups, and write their rough draft.  If they've already made it that far, have them work through their checklist this week and write their final draft.  Please bring the final draft to class to read next week.  We will be on this unit one more week before moving on to the next unit.

Thanks for all your hard work!  Hope everyone has a great week!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Week 5 Recap & Notes

Hi Parents!  I hope you are enjoying our break week.  It will nice to get back to routine after this week.

EEL Recap:  This week we finished covering the S-Vi sentence pattern, and wrapped up our final purpose for simple sentences (the interrogative purpose).  Next week we begin covering compound sentences and will start working on the S-Vt-DO pattern.  Take some time over the break to begin familiarizing your students with coordinating conjunctions (FANBOYS) and subordinating conjunctions (www.asia.wub), a list of which can be found on Chart H.  They will need to be able to identify these as we study more complex (no pun intended) sentence structures.

Make sure to review the interrogative purpose and the forms it can take when diagramming.  This will be especially helpful for your students as they work through Task 5A and have to change a sentence to the interrogative purpose.  We discussed simply having a question mark as the end punctuation (Tara writes?), using a helping verb (Did Tara write?), and using an interrogative pronoun (Who writes?).

Week 4: pages 89-102 of the EEL guide
Blank task sheet: page 435
Weekly practice sentences: page 433
Models of those sentences: pages 97-102.

IEW Recap:  This week we began the unit on Narrative Stories.  We took our skill of making key word outlines and applied that to making a story sequence chart.  The first part of the outline covers the setting & characters of the story - the who, the where, and the when of the story.  The second part of the outline covers the plot & conflict - the what of the story.  Here the students need to identify the conflict, and what the characters thought, said, and did.  The final part of the outline is the climax/resolution/epilogue/moral theme.  Have the students identify each of these items in the story.  This model can be used on any length of story: short stories, Bible stories, fables, and even novels.

The assignment this week is to work through Lesson 9 in the Student book.  Outline, brainstorm, and write a rough draft to bring in on Tuesday.  On Tuesday, we will practice making another story sequence chart in class, then go over editing marks on our rough drafts.

Narratives/Unit 3: pages 27-36 of the TWSS guide
Lesson 9: pages 51-60 of the student book

Lagniappe:  Brandy at Half A Hundred Acre Wood (a fabulous CC blog - consider subscribing to her posts via email or reader) wrote a post on how they use their Essentials notebook at home.  If you're struggling to get in a rhythm of doing Essentials at home, check out her post for some ideas:  http://www.halfahundredacrewood.com/2012/09/our-essentials-student-notebook.html.

If your students are having some trouble with question confirmation, here are some links from the Shurley Grammar site (which is the model EEL follows):


https://www.shurley.com/pdf/parent_help/Parent_Help_Booklet_Level_2.pdf  (Q/C beginning on page 8)

See you Tuesday!