Teaching daily language powerfully spirals students to mastery. With a careful plan, they can learn parts of speech, capitalization, and punctuation. Begin with simple concepts. Then build slowly. This allows kids to increase understanding over time.
Ms. Sneed Compacts with Daily Language Instruction
Our favorite fourth grade teacher, Ms. Sneed, sat in a summer professional development meeting. “This year, you will teach language skills in a more meaningful way,” said the presenter.
Ms. Sneed squinted at the small print on the document displayed on the screen. Hmm. It looked a bit like the sentence diagramming she did in middle school.
“Each week,” the presenter continued, “you will focus on three new concepts: one part of speech, one punctuation, and one capitalization. Your students will analyze a few sentences each day. Then you will discuss them. The short, focused bursts help kids process and internalize English language rules. Most teachers only spend about ten minutes per day on the program.”
Ms. Sneed studied the documents on the screen. Then she tapped her pencil in thought. Yes, this could work. She daydreamed about her cramped English Language Arts block. So much time was needed for reading and writing. Layering mechanics in a brief session each day really made sense.
“This type of program makes use of several effective teaching strategies,” the presenter said. “First, material is compacted. This saves time. Second, it’s scaffolded. Beginning with very simple concepts, it slowly moves kids to new heights. Third, it spirals. Every week, the sentences include concepts from the weeks before.
“Any teacher can create a program like this. The sentences don’t even need to be written in advance. However, to make your life easier, we do offer a published set.”
Parts of Speech
A new slide appeared, and the presenter continued:
“Let’s take a look at the schedule for parts of speech. As you can see, we begin with basic concepts. Most fourth or fifth grade students already know about nouns and verbs. However, the program explains them clearly and concisely, cementing their understanding. Sentences for this first week are super simple.
“The following week, we address subjects and predicates. Again, the sentences are short. Easing in like this is really comfortable for kids.
“Each set then adds a part of speech. By the end of the program, however, things slow down. Why? It gets really though for kids. Therefore, they need much more time to practice. Remember, because it’s a spiral, they’re now dealing with all of the parts of speech they previously learned too.”
The next slide listed capitalization concepts. “This slide shows that capitalization is handled similarly. Whenever possible, the concept ties in with the parts of speech kids are studying.”
Ms. Sneed studied the list and chuckled. In her experience, fourth graders struggled with these capitalization. If they could master even half of this, their writing would greatly improve.
Again, a new slide appeared. “Punctuation is handled in the same way,” the presenter said. “One new concept at a time.”
Ms. Sneed noticed that the concepts tied in with the parts of speech and capitalization. “If we can do this in just ten minutes each day,” she thought, “my life will be golden.”
Teaching Daily Language in 18 or 33 Weeks
“Most teachers organize this program over 33 weeks,” said the presenter. “Instructional sets take two weeks. Review and assessment only require one week. So, for example, you would spend six days teaching and practicing the three skills. The next three days would be used for mixed practice, and the tenth day for assessment.
“However, if your students are advanced – or you have limited time – you could teach one set per week. That way, you’d get it done in 18 weeks.”
Take Daily Language Digital
“Since more schools are using Chromebooks and other devices, the entire program is now available for digital daily language instruction. In this set, each concept is introduced through a slideshow. Then kids practice with editable Google Slides. Most of the activities are drag and drop, which makes learning tactile – and fun. Four mixed practice activities and an assessment are also included.
“If you pull out your laptop, I’ll let you play around with it.”
Ms. Sneed grinned. She’d been itching to try it out herself. After she pulled out her computer, she clicked on the link.
At first, she had a little trouble dragging and dropping. However, after just a little practice, she got the hang of it.
Yes. Her students would love this! And better yet, they would master their language skills.
Over the course of her career, Ms. Sneed realized that there were 6 steps to enjoy teaching. In order to survive, she had to organize, plan, and simplify. Then, to thrive, Ms. Sneed needed to learn, engage, and finally – dive in! Follow the Fabulous Teaching Adventures of Ms. Sneed and learn how you can enjoy teaching too.