Thursday, March 7, 2013

Grammar Good Deed #3

This past Monday, in celebration of National Grammar Day, I paid a friendly visit to Mr. Brandow's 4th grade classroom at Washington Elementary School in Richmond, California, where I got to talk to his students about the power of good grammar!

This was my very first classroom visit as an author, and it was also my first time doing a Super Grammar presentation. I had decided that I would do this visit as a way to bring awareness to National Grammar Day, and with the spirit of Grammar Day in mind, I also decided that I should make my presentation about more than just showing off our Super Grammar superheroes. So in the time leading up to the visit, I really tried to think about a strong and positive grammar message that I wanted the kids to walk away with. Here's the message that I decided on:

I believe that my sentences deserve to be strong and correct.

So during my introduction, as I began to explain why I was there to talk to them about grammar, that's exactly what I told them. I said, "I believe that my sentences deserve to be strong and correct." Then I asked the students, "Do any of you believe that your sentences deserve to be strong and correct?" Right away, some of them raised their hands, and that's when I said, "Good! You know what? I also believe that your sentences deserve to be strong and correct, and I also believe that your sentences are worth fighting for—and that's why I'm here today to talk to you about grammar."

After my introduction, I jumped straight into the Super Grammar portion of my presentation, which included giving my "superhero definition of grammar" and an introduction of our four Super Grammar super-teams. And of course, what Super Grammar presentation would be complete without an actual grammar lesson using our super examples, right? So we did two Super-Grammar-style grammar lessons.

Our first Super Grammar lesson was about the Completion Team and their power to join forces in order to create complete sentences. During this lesson I explained why complete sentences are so important. I asked the students, "If you were a super crime-fighter, would you go into battle with only half your armor?"
With my visual-aid in hand, I exclaimed, "Of course you wouldn't! You'd get clobbered if you did that!" Then I explained how sentences are very much the same. I said, "We'll guess what? It's the same thing with sentences. They need both sides of their armor, too: the Subject and the Predicate."

The new Super Grammar illustration (above), provided by Super Grammar's amazing illustrator, Rhode Montijo, was a big hit in the classroom. It got a lot of laughs from the kids (and from Mr. Brandow, too). I brought along a few other illustrations, pulled from our book, to help us out as we continued our grammar lessons.

I called our first super example into action, and our mission was to check whether this super example sentence was a complete sentence or not.
First, the class helped me find the Subject of the sentence: "Double Vision."
Next, they helped me find the Predicate of the sentence: "is looking for clues."
And after we found both the Subject and the Predicate...
...we watched them join forces to form a complete sentence. Our first grammar lesson was a success!

For our second grammar lesson, I thought it would be fun to learn about a supervillain, so we decided to take on the Fragment. I called another super example illustration from our book into action, and then I asked, "Is this a complete sentence?"
Right away the class answered, "No!" I smiled big when they answered. "Eating up the entire city." was not a complete sentence; it was a fragment sentence. They were right!

But for me, the very best part about this lesson came when I asked them this next question: "What is this sentence missing?" And without skipping a beat, they answered, "A subject!" I couldn't help it; I had to smile again because they were absolutely right. The sentence was indeed missing a subject. We didn't know "who" or "what" was "eating up the entire city." And because this sentence was missing a subject, it was a fragment.

But our work wasn't finished. After we learned that this was a fragment, we decided to fix this broken sentence by adding a subject: Hipposaurus Rex.
Ah! That's better. Now we have a complete sentence!

After the grammar lessons were over, I wrapped up my talk by presenting the class with an official Super Grammar National Grammar Day poster, and by reminding them that it's always a good day to fight for your sentences!

All in all, my first Super Grammar classroom visit went pretty well. We talked about grammar; we talked about superheroes; and in the end, we all had a little fun.

I'd like to thank Mr. Brandow for welcoming me into his classroom, and I'd like to thank his students for being super great during my visit with them.

I'd also like to give a very big thanks to the super-parent responsible for setting this whole thing up. After she asked me to do this talk, I decided that I should do it because it would be a nice grammar-related good deed that I could do for these students on National Grammar Day. But in actuality, this grammar-related good deed belongs to her.

Thank you, Roni, for believing that Super Grammar would be a fun and interesting way for these students to learn about grammar, and thank you for believing that their sentences deserve to be strong and correct!

Cheers!
The Super Grammar Team

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