Graded Lessons In English

Discussion in 'Education & Learning' started by Ken Anderson, Sep 5, 2015.

  1. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I picked up a book at the Salvation Army second-hand store a few weeks ago that is interesting. Published in 1887, the title of the books is Graded Lessons in English. It is an elementary school grammar book, offering one hundred practical lessons in grammar.

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    Some time is spent in diagramming a sentence. I think most of us have gone through that, but I don't think that students today are doing it, at any level, much less the elementary school level.

    In this thread, I'll bring out a few representative sample lessons, including suggestions for teachers.

    Lesson 14.

    CLASSES OF WORDS

    Hints for Oral Instruction -- By the assistance of the few hints here given, the ingenuous teacher may render this usually dry subject interesting and highly attractive. By questioning the pupil as to what he has seen and heard, his interest may be excited and his curiosity awakened.

    Suppose that we make an imaginary excursion to some pleasant field or grove, where we may study the habits, the plumage, and the songs of the little birds.

    If we attempt to make the acquaintance of every little featured singer we meet, we shall never get to the end of our pleasant task; but we find that some resemble one another in size, shape, color, habits, and song. These we associate together and call them sparrows.

    We find others differing essentially from the sparrows, but resembling one another. These we call robins.

    We thus find, that, although we were unable to become acquainted with each individual bird, they all belong to a few classes, with which we may soon become familiar.

    It is so with the words of our language. There are many thousand words, all of which belong to eight classes.

    Those classes of words are called Parts of Speech.

    We classify birds according to their form, color, etc., but we group words into classes, called Parts of Speech, with respect to their use in the sentence.

    We find that many words are names. Those we put in one class and call them Nouns.

    Each pupil may give the name of something in the room; the name of a distinguished person; a name that may be applied to a class of persons; the name of an animal; the name of a place; the name of a river; the name of a mountain; the name of something which we cannot see or touch, but of which we can think; as beauty, mind.

    Remind the pupils frequently that these names are all nouns.

    NOUNS

    DEFINITION -- A Noun is the name of anything. *

    Write in columns, headed nouns, the names of domestic animals, of garden vegetables, of flowers, of trees, of articles sold in a dry goods store, and of things that cannot be seen or touched; as virtue, time, life.

    Write and arrange, according to the following model, the names of things that can float, fly, walk, work, sit, or sing.

    Model: floats or float
    Cork
    Clouds
    Wood
    Ships
    Boys

    Such expressions as Cork floats are sentences, and the nouns cork, ship, etc., are the subjects. You will find that every subject is a noun or some word or words used for a noun.

    Be prepared to analyze and parse the sentences which you have made -- naming the class to which a word belongs is the first step in parsing.

    Model for Analysis -- This is a sentence, because ------; cork is the subject, because ------; floats is the predicate, because ------.

    Parsing -- Cork is a noun, because it is the name of a thing -- the bark of a tree.

    * We shall frequently use the word thing as we do here, in its most extensive sense, applying it to persons as well as to other objects. We have for this the warrant of general usage. See Webster and Worcester.
     
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  2. Jenn Windey

    Jenn Windey Active Member
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    Oh how I struggled with English when I was in school. Which is ironic actually as it is my native language. I can honestly say I must have had some of the worst teachers ever! I just did not get what it was they were trying to teach me. It was not till I was close to high school that I had a good English teacher named Mrs. Rourke who managed to make it all seem to make sense. In between I read tons and tons of books, which I am sure helped. The funny thing about class with Mrs. Rourke was she used to go off on these tangents talking about all sorts of stuff so I got so I would just read the text book and never really pay attention all that much. Oddly I guess I sort of self taught enough that when I did have a question I could finally get an answer. I might not really know what a predicate is, but I do manage to write somewhat well. At least compared to todays standard.

    When my son learned to read I did the same thing. I did not let him waste time with the stupid readers they gave him. If there was a topic he had an interest in I would get him an adult book on it. The kid was reading Band of Brother's in the fourth grade. I remember the teacher saying to me that she felt it was not really appropriate, but I disagreed then and still disagree today. She thought he might enjoy Goosebumps better. Now don't get me wrong Goosebumps and the Tree House Mysteries are fine primers but he could whip thru one of those in no time.

    My son is well read and well spoken. He had several years when they would take him to the library in school and he chose encyclopedia type books. I thought he was being a wise a$$ till one night I saw he was actually reading right thru these books. I told him he had to choose at least one book of a different type, like science or history based stories. I was never huge on Fiction but suggested some of the classics. Till this day he has an uncanny amount of knowledge on some of the weirdest topics. He also has one of those memories where he can repeat portions of literature verbatim. How I had always wanted to be able to do that.
     
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  3. Magalina Lilis

    Magalina Lilis Active Member
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    It is wonderful to find a treasure at a thrift shop; such as your old book on English grammar. I appreciate that you shared both the book cover and some of the content from Lesson 14 - CLASSES OF WORDS. I look forward to reviewing more chapters.

    Another aspect about the content in older books is the use of English words. I find the vocabulary to be much more eloquent and expressive. Having a larger range of expressive words affords us the opportunity to visualize so much more.
     
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  4. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    I agree with this @Magalina Lilis. It seems that nowadays, there are a few expressions used over and over, and those who speak or write with unusual words or phrases is considered an outcast or snob. I enjoy reading some older books because they remind me of words I've forgotten, since I rarely hear them anymore, outside of my family and small group of friends. I feel bad for those growing up these days, because despite all of the technological advances, I believe our culture has lost much of the richness it once possessed.
     
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  5. Avigail David

    Avigail David Well-Known Member
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    Wow! Our Rod and Staff and CLP English curriculum still teach sentence diagramming. Two of my teens didn't like it. Haha! But when they entered traditional, institutional school, they began to see and appreciate our "old Strunk and White" Elements of Style grammar. :-D.

    Thanks for sharing this. Old books are a treasure!
     
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    Last edited: Sep 8, 2015
  6. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Lesson 21.

    SENTENCE BUILDING

    We have here prepared the foundations of sentences which you are to complete by writing two or more suitable modifiers to each subject. Be careful to choose and arrange your material so as to make a neat and appropriate structure.

    Model: eminence was reached.
    That lofty eminence was reached.

    1. ------- speaker was applauded.
    2. ------- difficulties were overcome.
    3. ------- leaf trembles.
    4. ------- accident happened.
    5. ------- books should be read.
    6. ------- houses are built.
    7. ------- soldier perished.
    8. ------- opinions prevailed.
    9. ------- leader fell.
    10. ------- task is completed.

    For other subjects and predicates, the teacher is referred to Lessons 7 and 11.

    Build sentences by prefixing modified subjects to the following predicates.

    1. ---- frolic.
    2. ---- crawl.
    3. ---- are dashing.
    4. ---- was caught.
    5. ---- escaped.
    6. ---- chatter.
    7. ---- flourished.
    8. ---- whistles.

    Build, on each of the following subjects, three sentences similar to those in the model.

    Model: sun
    The bright sun is shining.
    The glorious sun has risen.
    The unclouded sun is sinking.


    1. ---- snow.
    2. ---- dew.
    3. ---- wind.
    4. ---- landscape.

    To the teacher. -- Please take notice that the next Lesson begins with "Hints for Oral Instruction."
     
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  7. Avigail David

    Avigail David Well-Known Member
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    Good examples of good usage of english in today's lose language. But those fill-in-the-blank examples above in the Sentence Building present the kind of passive voice writing set the mood for today's readers to lose interest and to boredom. Example: 1. _____ speaker was applauded; Better:The Christian movement applauded Ms Kim Davies. 2. ____difficulties were overcome; Or Overcome difficulties. Better yet on helping overcome human difficulties: Jordan and Israel respond to boost aid to Syrian refugees. More information to involve readers into reading more. :)
     
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  8. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    True, but the purpose of these exercises are to teach sentence structure and the parts of a sentence to elementary school children, rather than creative writing.
     
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  9. Magalina Lilis

    Magalina Lilis Active Member
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    Although I understand Ken's point about the goal of the lesson plan, my goodness, you are right! I find myself constantly writing with a passive voice. I did even realize this error, until along came grammar checkers. I was like WHAT? Why are all these parts of my paper underlined in red?

    Wow! Check out the use of the word eminence. How many children, let alone adults know or even use this word nowadays?

    Thanks for continuing the English lesson plans, Ken.
     
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  10. Carlota Clemens

    Carlota Clemens Well-Known Member
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    WOW! What a great book, not just the value of the cardboard cover (I figure it has) but the content itself.

    What makes me regret for not keeping my father's grade books, I remember to have seen when I was a kid in need of illustrations for my homework, and therefore cutting those precious books as a way to get "original" attachments I knew nobody else could have, and therefore impressing my teachers favorably.
     
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