Grammar for Middle School
So, you’d like to write like your favorite author? Once you scratch the surface of the best writing, you notice the grammatical constructs that make up that writing and imitation is right around the corner. All that is necessary is becoming skillful at recognizing the techniques, practicing their use, and then, of course, implementing them. This worktext leads you through that process. Excellent sentence examples from J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Michael Crichton, and others keep the process intriguing and motivating. It might be easy to forget you are covering things like phrases, clauses, and parts of speech. Fourteen “tools” are examined each with instruction, examples, five practices, and a creative writing project. Periodic reviews tie things together and culminate with writing activities. ~ Janice
Don and Jenny Killgallon’s sentence-composing approach has transformed how writing is taught in thousands of language arts classes, helping students all across America become more proficient, sophisticated writers. Now the Killgallons use their highly effective method for a unique, powerful textbook that links good writing to that perennially difficult-to-teach subject—grammar.
Grammar for Middle School: A Sentence-Composing Approach gives your students the chance to absorb and replicate the grammatical structures used by some of the best writers of our times. Included among the over 150 authors, 200 titles, and 400 model sentences in Grammar for Middle School are award-winning young-adult literature such as Cynthia Voigt’s Homecoming, popular favorites like J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, and curricular staples such as John Steinbeck’s The Red Pony and The Pearl.
Fourteen grammatical structures are developed in the same predictable, understandable manner, using the sentence-composing approach. When students first encounter a tool, it is clearly defined and characterized. Then it’s practiced through five activities: matching, unscrambling, combining, imitating, and expanding. Finally, a creative writing activity immerses students in the composition or revision of a paragraph through independent use of the sentence–composing tools they have already learned. Best of all, after each section, review activities—which can be easily graded as unit or final tests—offer opportunities for students to bring it all together and build better sentences.
An online teacher’s guide accompanies Grammar for Middle School and includes advice, tips, resources, answer keys, and even curricular plans for teachers who are either new to the Killgallon approach or sentence-composing veterans. Visit Heinemann online to access the downloadable teacher's booklet.
No one can forge the link between grammar and writing like Don and Jenny Killgallon. Discover for yourself or rediscover how powerful the sentence–composing approach can be, and watch as your students get grammar like never before—and write better sentences too.
A perfect melding of grammar, composition, and literature, the sentence-composing method starts with high quality sentence models from literary masters and then carefully gives students specific tools and the opportunity to practice using those tools throughout a series of books. As you would expect with any organic methodology, there is both a cohesion and an expansion through the Elementary, Middle School, and High School courses. Each are targeted with a progression of skill-building that focuses on and starts with sentences, dissects and uses grammar, and builds into composing coherent communications.
Central to all levels, is the use of writing models – sentence examples from a huge collection of best-loved and critically acclaimed writers. Think of these writers as mentors and the process of unpacking, manipulating, and imitating their sentences as a personal tutorial in the art of composition. Sentences from hundreds of writers are matched to grade level by familiarity with their works. For instance, in elementary courses you might see Katherine Patterson or Roald Dahl. In middle school it might be Jack London, Madeleine L’Engle, JK Rowling, or even Stephen King. In high school you will find Harper Lee, George Orwell, or Maya Angelou.
Multiple techniques (tools) are taught and practiced. Some of these include matching, exchanging, unscrambling, combining, imitating, expanding, and multiplying. Each tool/technique is explained and illustrated using sample sentences. Often, the underlying grammatical constructs are examined as well. The student undertakes step-by-step tasks and benefits from the clearly stated imitating expectations – and may well be surprised by the high quality of compositional results. Where possible and useful, “reference” sections in the back of books serve as an answer key.
This series has grown and matured over time. Sentence Composing was the first (late 90s); Getting Started and the other courses are a parallel series that emerged over the next two decades (2006-2020). These later sets of series expand concepts introduced in the original Sentence Composing. The Grammar series delves a little deeper into the grammar aspects (2006-2008). Paragraphs (2012-14) and Nonfiction (2015-2017) expands sentence composing techniques to particular types of composition. The newest series is the Getting Started series (2018-2020) which serves as an introduction to the sentence composing method. All volumes are by Don and Jenny Killgallon and share a focus on sentence composing (the most neglected aspect of written composition). All use model/mentors based on the belief that imitation is the conduit to originality; a needed link in creation.
It may be a little confusing to know when to use what course. In general, use the original Sentence Composing course as a summary course for a student that is in the upper level of the grade range. For instance, 4th/5th grade for the Elementary; 7th/8th grade for the Middle School. If your student is in the lower levels of the grade range (i.e. 2nd/3rd; 5th/6th) use the Getting Started book and work through the series.
Each of the sentence composing method worktexts is a stand-alone course designed to produce sentence maturity and variety and would serve as the composition/applied grammar portion of a language arts program. For elementary years, add phonics/reading, spelling, and handwriting. For middle school years, add literature and possibly a systematic grammar. For the high school years, if coupled with a literature program, the series serves as an English credit. ~ Janice
These materials contain both instruction and writing assignments but are not as broad in scope (types of writing) as the comprehensive programs.