Tag Archives: parsing sentences

A Worksheet on Identifying Active Verbs

Over the past couple of days, and after a couple of decades, I reread William Zinsser’s fine book Writing to Learn; it was every bit as good as I remembered it. William Zinsser was a superlative prose stylist himself. Reading him on writing, quite simply, is a glimpse inside the workshop of a master.

And I found a passage in it, which Mr. Zinsser excerpted from something Norman Mailer wrote about the infamous Benny Paret vs. Emile Griffith III fight in 1962. Because I have a student this year involved and interested in boxing, I grabbed the passage and worked up, just now, this short exercise on identifying active verbs in a passage of text. Nota bene that there are two pages in this document; the second is the teacher’s copy/answer key with the active verbs in bold. I’m still trying to figure out lesson plans for these one-off differentiated worksheets. If you can use it, here is a lesson plan template to accompany the worksheet, which you can complete as you see fit (obviously).

If you find typos in this document, 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.

Parsing Sentences Worksheet: Verbs

Today is April 26, 2018. In 1986 on this day, an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Pripyat, Ukraine. It’s the birthday of John James Audubon; interestingly, he is buried in Trinity Cemetery on 155th Street in Harlem. Today is also the birthday of the man who is arguably the major figure in landscape architecture in the United States, Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed, here in New York City, both Central Park and Prospect Park.

Here is a parsing sentences worksheet for verbs. I understand this is an old-fashioned kind of activity, but that doesn’t render it obsolete. In fact, I maintain that these shore exercises are an effective way to help students understand both English usage and syntax in sentences.

If you find typos in this document, 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.

Parsing Sentences Worksheet: Prepositions

Today is April 24th. On this day in 1916, the Easter Rising began in Dublin, Ireland. It’s also the anniversary of the opening of the Library of Congress in 1800. It’s the birthday of an actor I think underrated and underrecognized, Woburn, Massachusetts’ native son, Eric Bogosian.

Here is a parsing sentences worksheet for prepositions that I use in a variety of ways, but primarily to begin an instructional period and get excitable and excited adolescents settled and focused.

If you find typos in this document, 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.

Parsing Sentences: Conjunctions

Today is April 17. On this day in history, the United States launched the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, which, depending on whose version of history you subscribe to, was a turning point in our country’s history. Also on this day, in another failure of American foreign policy, Cambodia fell to the Khmer Rouge, a radical Marxist group who initiated an auto-genocide in that nation. Finally, today is Syrian Independence Day, another nation whose fate has tended to be the plaything–or object of abuse, depending again on your view of such things–of Western nations.

Here is a parsing sentences worksheet for conjunctions that is the kind of thing I use to get students settled after a class change.

If you find typos in this document, 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.

Parsing Sentences Worksheet: Adjectives

Here, early on a Tuesday morning, is a parsing sentences worksheet on adjectives. While I realize that it’s an old-fashioned activity subject to a variety of criticism, most of it valid. However, I’ll still argue there is an argument to be made for the cognitive exercise involved in parsing sentences, particularly for students struggling with literacy issues. If nothing else, a short exercise such as the one on offer here provides students with an opportunity for a moment or two of mastery, which can make all the difference in a class period–if not an entire school day–in meeting the emotional needs of our students.

If you find typos in this document, 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.

The Weekly Text, January 5, 2018

The New Year blew in to New York City with a “cyclone bomb” yesterday, whatever that is. For my part, I went out to lunch about three blocks from my apartment building in The Bronx. Imagine, if you can, a violent midsummer thunderstorm; instead of warm temperatures and rain, however, it was twenty-two degrees with relatively wet (especially considering the temperature) and heavy snow driven by strong winds.

Anyway, Happy New Year!

This week’s Text is a complete lesson plan on adverbs modifying sentences. To begin this lesson, I use this Cultural Literacy worksheet on dogma. If the lesson runs into a second day, and you wish to use a short do-now exercise to get it started, here is a parsing sentences worksheet on adjectives. The mainstay of this lesson is this structured exercise on using adverbs to modify entire sentences. When teaching this lesson, I find students more often than not require (or at least benefit from) this word-bank learning support. Finally, for your convenience, here is the teacher’s copy of the worksheet.

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.

 

The Weekly Text, July 21, 2017

This week’s Text is a complete lesson plan on using the degrees of adjectives. To refresh your memory, the three degrees of adjectives are the positive (big), the comparative (bigger) and the superlative, (biggest). Two do-now exercises open this unit, the first a parsing sentences worksheet on verbs and the second a Cultural Literacy Worksheet on acronyms. (I include as a matter of course two do-now exercises in the event that a lesson runs into a second day because of interruptions.) The mainstay of the lesson is this scaffolded worksheet on using the three degrees of adjectives. You may also want to use this learning support on the degrees of adjectives. Finally, you might find the teacher’s copy of the worksheet useful while giving this lesson.

Finally, this lesson affords you an opportunity, should you care to emphasize it, to point out to students that they will always, after the comparative adjective, use the conjunction than and not the adverb then.

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.

The Weekly Text, July 7, 2017

One week into the summer break, and I am taking advantage of everything New York City has to offer in this season, including the wonderful Jazzmobile, one of the greatest cultural institutions in our city, which obviously boasts so many of them. If you’re coming into the Five Boroughs from elsewhere, please know this: Jazzmobile concerts are free, held in some of our most beautiful parks, and superlative. If you go, make sure you put a few bucks in the collection bucket. Jazzmobile presents world-class musicians, and to see them in a club like the Village Vanguard or the Blue Note would cost you real money.

OK, now back to the English Language Arts Desk. This week’s Text is a complete lesson plan on adverbs modifying verbs. This lesson begins with one of two do-now exercises (or both if the lesson runs into a second day), the first a Cultural Literacy Worksheet on stereotypes, and the second a parsing sentences worksheet on adverbs. You might find this word bank of adverbs useful as a learning support. The mainstay of the lesson is this scaffolded worksheet on adverbs modifying verbs. Finally, you may find this teacher’s copy of the worksheet helps you in delivering this lesson.

That’s it. I hope you are enjoying your summer.

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.

The Weekly Text, April 7, 2017

After posting nine weeks of readings for Black History Month and Women’s History Month, I’m pleased to offer, as this week’s Text, a complete lesson plan on descriptive and limiting adjectives. As with most of the lessons I write, there are two short do-now exercises to begin this lesson: the first is a parsing sentences worksheet for verbs and the second is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on idiom. The mainstay of this lesson is a scaffolded worksheet on descriptive and limiting adjectives. If your students are anything like those I serve, then you will very likely find useful this learning support which you might want to edit or otherwise rearrange. Finally, to help you guide your students through this lesson, here is the teacher’s copy of the worksheet.

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.

The Weekly Text, January 27, 2017

We’ve just passed through a week of Regents Tests here in New York, a round of high stakes tests that decide the status of a student’s diploma. I always find this a depressing exercise, because it penalizes perfectly able kids who don’t test well. Perhaps one day we’ll live in a society that educates students as they are (or how they are–poorly written IEPs notwithstanding)–and builds on that–rather than a theoretical “where they should be.”

This week’s Text is a lesson on numerical adjectives. Because this lesson is at about the halfway point in my adjectives unit,  I begin it with this do now-exercise on parsing sentences to find adjectives. If the lesson runs into a second day for all the reasons that some lessons do when presented to struggling learners, then you may also need this Cultural Literacy worksheet on carpe diem. The mainstay of the lesson is a scaffolded worksheet on numerical adjectives that begins with modified cloze exercises and concludes with independent practice using numerical adjectives in grammatically complete declarative sentences. You might also find the teachers’ copy/answer key useful.

Because I teach English Language Arts and social studies to the same group of students, I teach the concept of cardinal numbers (the counting numbers like one, two, three, etc.) and ordinal numbers (those numbers we use to order or rank things, as in first, second, third, etc.) in a lesson about historical dates and understanding how to understand the ordinally numbered centuries. I call on the prior knowledge from that global studies lesson for this one on numerical adjectives; both cardinal and ordinal numbers are used as adjectives. Ten days to two weeks separate the presentation of these two lessons, so the timing allows me a chance to assess students’ memories and capacity for retention.

This is also an important concept in grammar for students to understand. When I took Russian as an older undergraduate, I had to go back and study the difference between these two types of numbers and their use. If your students need help in understanding the meaning of these terms and the concepts they represent, then here’s a context clues worksheet on the term cardinal numbers and another on the adjective ordinal.

That’s it. Next week begins Black History Month, followed in March by Women’s History Month. I’ll post plenty of readings for both.

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.