October 26, 2008

Subject and predicate – why bother with teaching sentence structure anyway?  Well, in my opinion, if the terms are just used within a skill and drill concept of teaching grammatical writing, then I don’t see much to it.  The students will obediently place their lines between the subject and predicate, but does it really help in teaching writing?  I believe that we have so little time to teach that each lesson must touch their writing and reading lives in a deep way.  So, back to subject and predicate.

A fun book for teaching these concepts to integrate into the children’s writing is Skeleton Hiccupsby Margery Cuyler.  Halloween is only five days away and this cute book accents the parts of a sentence.  The skeleton wakes up with the hiccups, and Margery Cuyler adds the onomatopoeia throughout the story.  (I was just thinking that the kindergartners, who are learning to label, would learn a new way to add their voice to the writing.)  The story continues by adding different things that Skeleton does – the predicate of the sentence.  Ghost enters the story, adding in some conversation as well.  Finally, only he thinks of a clever way to get the Skeleton to stop hiccuping.  (Drinking water is one of my favorite pages.)

Savorings for reading and in writing for Skeleton Hiccups:

  • Predicate – teach to vocabulary word that is hounded on standardized tests
  • Turning point – “But nothing worked….Then Ghost got smart.”
  • Labeling onomatopoeia with different fonts – hic, hic, hic
  • Command – “Hold your breath.”