This week’s Text is a lesson plan on indefinite adjectives. These are those words–any; each; either; every; many; several; few; all; and some–that we use in speech and prose regularly, often in grammatical error. Now, I do think it’s important that students learn how to understand grammar in general as an organizing structure in language (for future use in the study, of among other things, foreign languages), but I also think kids need to learn how to use grammar and usage manuals. Grammar and usage need not be memorized, but again, it should be understood and applied.
Why? Because if we are to have high expectations of and for our students, we need them to be able to write well. I worked my way through college and graduate school working in writing and academic study centers in which I mostly counseled students on expository writing. In those years, a number of patterns in what professors would suffer in lapses in grammar, usage, and style emerged, and the most salient of those patterns was in agreement: subject/verb, antecedent/pronoun, and modifiers and nouns. So, this is a lesson about agreement in number when using any; each; either; every; many; several; few; all; and some.
I use this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the non sequitur; if the lesson goes into a second day (it’s fairly complicated, so I more often than not took it into a second day by design), then here is an Everyday Edit worksheet on the Tuskegee Airmen to carry you along (and incidentally, if you’d like more Everyday Edit worksheets, the good folks at Education World give away a yearlong supply of them).
Here is the learning support in the form of a graphic organizer for sorting out these adjectives and the numbers of nouns they modify and therefore govern. This is a learning support, in other words, that students play a role in developing. This scaffolded worksheet is the mainstay of the lesson. Here is the teacher’s copy of all the materials that will help you execute this lesson.
If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.