Sunday, November 20, 2011

Feather Quill Pen blog

Favorite Writers and Illustrator

Rex Trulove
Nan Keltie
Tony Angelo
Daniel Xiao Wang
David Henry Sterry
Shelley Lieber
Duncan Long (Illustrator)

Carol Natoli (biography)

Grammar and Word Potpourri!

Step 1
Nouns and Subjects
NOUNS = a person (or people), place, or things.
Not all nouns are the "subject" of a sentence.
Some nouns are "objects of a preposition (which will be covered later).  Let's get down to basics, and start slowly!
Look around the room that you are in and write down 7-10 items that you see.  They are "things", so they are nouns; therefore, every "thing" is a noun!
Examples of nouns (in the room that I am in) while writing this:

This is how nouns would be used in "simple sentences":
1.  The table is green.
2. "Deal or No Deal" is on the television now.
3. The brown Mickey Mouse clock is round.
4.  The refrigerator is brown.
5.  The sink is almond-color.
6.  The floor looks like wood!
7.  The computer is a Dell laptop.

Step 2
Practice finding the nouns!
Underline the nouns! (Remember to look for a person, place, or thing!)
1.  The table is green.
2.  My hat flew off my head!
3.  The Mets won the World Series!
4.  Newspapers should be read every day!
5.  The class is very good!
6.  The black computer is on the desk.
7.  Why is Johnny crying?
Step 3
Nouns vs. Subjects
Remember....every noun is NOT s subject but most subjects are nouns!  If they are not nouns, then they are "pronouns", which you will learn about later.
Step 4
NOUN TOWN (Technology)
13 minutes...grades 1 through 3
2nd grade language arts
Step 5
Subjects and Adjectives
The "subject" of one of the sentences is: "table".
It answers the question, "what are we talking about"?
"We are talking about the table".
"What color is the table?"
It is "green"; therefore, the color, "green", is the adjectives because it describes the table.
If you look at the subject and ask "what?" or "what kind?" you will find the adjective.
"What table do you see?"  "You see a GREEN table."

 Step 6
Finding the Subject (Rationale)
Here is an example, of what might be confusing"
1.  We are going to the library.
Look for the subject.  What are we talking about and what is the main word in the sentence?  You might think it is the library, especially, because "we" could be going anyway.  If that is what you chose to be the subject (library), then you are wrong!
WE is the subject of the sentence. How do I know that?  Often, the subject is right before the verb, or the action.  ARE is the action and ARE GOING is the complete action.
Once you learn about the the parts of a sentence and the sentence construction, this will all make sense. Now, let us practice!
Pick out the subjects of the following sentences:
1.  The television is on. (You might say, ON what?  In this case, "on" refers to be the opposite of off.  The television is not off; therefore, is is on.)
Answer:  television (subject)
2.  The walls are yellow.
What color are walls?  They are yellow.  Yellow describes the wall; therefore the thing we are talking about is...the wall!
Answer: wall (subject), with yellow being the descriptive word (adjective).
3.  The beach is fun to be at.
What are we talking about?   We are talking about having fun, but we are speaking about the beach.
Answer: beach (subject)

If you have a question, turn it around to find the subject, as in #2 in the next section.
The girl is happy versus Is the girl happy?  The girl IS happy; therefore the subject is still girl, even in a question.

Step 7
Subjects (Practice)
Underline the subjects within each sentence:
1.  The grass is green.
2.  Is the grass green?
3.  The basket is woven.
4.  The class is very noisy.
5.  Breakfast is at 6 a.m.
6.  Dinner should be eaten together.
7.  My dad is the best!
Step 8
Adjectives Describe Nouns (Rationale)
Look out your window and describe all the things you see.  You see NOUNS or things.  What color are the things?
You see grass but you see green grass.
You might see cars but I bet you see some black cars.
Black describes the cars.
You see NOUNS and ADJECTIVES all of the time!
While you can look anywhere and find nouns and adjectives, you should also practice drilling yourself.  A set of practice sentences is called a "drill".  Years ago, the way English Grammar was taught in schools was through practice and drills.This reinforces what you know and helps you to understand what you do not know and what you need practice with.  If you think and adjective is an adverb, you will get all the sentences wrong.  Drills help determine what you need clarification with, or clarity.  In other words, drills and practice help the teacher see what you need help with; often, an explanation is needed so that you understand WHY you got something wrong.  Maybe you were mixed up and did not understand the concept (lesson).
Many schools, through what we call Whole Language, have students choose adjectives within sentence by having them figure out the answers based upon other answers.  It is my philosophy, if the concept is not taught, you can go through 100 sentences and still not understand.  That is why I believe that an explanation is needed as well as practice is needed.

Remember, adjectives "modify" or describe nouns.  First of all, you can't find the adjectives, unless you find the noun.  What you can do is use the STRATEGY of the "process of elimination".  Find the action, which is the verb.  Many times, the subject (noun or pronoun) is next to the action, the verb, the predicate.  Is the word you chose to be a noun, a person, place or thing?
Step 9
Adjectives and Nouns (Practice/Drill)
Underline the nouns in each sentence and put 2 lines under the adjectives:
l.  The black car and the white car are parked in the driveway.
2.  I am going to sleep early tonight!
3.  The cup is on the counter.
4.  The hallway is crowded.
5.  The piano was my mom's
6.  Charlene's house is beautiful!
7.  Ron is married to Dana, a very pretty girl!
Step 10
Adjectives (Technology)
Step 11
Adjectives or Adverbs?
If "what" or "what kind" is answered, you have found the adjective.  Adjectives modify (describe) nouns.
Adverbs modify (describe) verbs.
Here is an example, to learn the differences between adjectives and adverbs:
THE GIRL IS BEAUTIFUL. ("Beautiful" describes the girl and answers, "what kind of girl?"  We are talking about a "beautiful" girl.)

THE GIRL IS WALKING BEAUTIFULLY. ("Beautifully" describes HOW the girl is walking; it modifies the verb.  The compete verb, or action is "is walking". "She is walking....beautifully"!
Often, but not always, adverbs end in "ly".
Adverbs answer one of the questions below:
How much?

(The above questions, including "what?" or "what happened?" are also questions that news reports ask when writing a story.  They are also questions that you will ask when writing sentences.  Don't forget, however, that "what?" and "what kind" are questions that are asked when trying to find out if a word is an adjective.)
Step 12
Adjectives & Nouns (technology)

What is the Most Important Question We Could Ask?

We all know that asking "why?" as already created a question and a curiosity. The title of this article should be "what is your response to someone asking 'why'?" That would be to "look it up"! If you constantly give children the answers, then they don't learn the mechanics of looking things up and do not learn where and how to find that information. We all need to be information literate, which means not only having information but also learning where to find it.
Some people have a need to know; they not only desire or want to know about thing, or answers to questions, but they really need to or crave that information. Questioning things opens up new doors to people and the world in which they live. Without questioning makes one's life dormant and accepting things at face value is truly boring! How do you learn without asking why things are or why they happen?

Encourage children in school to find answers to their questions. Tell them to open up any reference book and question things. Without being curious, they will not even have a reason to read. Reading brings power, it adds to learning, and actually makes learning easier. Have students go to the library, "just because", not because they have homework or a report to do. We want to encourage learning. Many teachers want a book report written after every book is read, where I, as a librarian, prefer the children to write 3-5 sentences as to why they would recommend or not recommend a book. This is called a "book review". If a large book report is required with every book read, then most children will not read that much, for they know that more work is required after they close that book. I have been asked "why?"....before, as to why I do not make children write book report after book report. While these do encourage writing, they discourage reading! Adults asking this most important question occurs, because as children, they too, were encouraged to ask "why?" That is not only okay, but necessary, for them to learn the reasons for things.

 The most important question is just one word: "why?" Why is the sky blue, why are there 7 colors in the rainbow? "How?" questions do not happen, unless the intriguing "why?" questions happen first. At times, we all act like three year-olds, asking questions. The difference is that we don't have to verbalize them like the way toddlers do, but rather, internalize them. The question just add up, unless we get answers to them, and that, opens up the mind to imagination and dreams!