English grammar is a skill with which parents and students alike often struggle. However, a lack of understanding can affect one’s writing ability in English and other classes. By focusing specifically on English grammar for a short time, students will see how understanding sentence structure can improve their writing, and that there are actually reasons for where commas belong, rather than randomly guessing, “I think I need a comma here.” English grammar gets a bad rap because of the exceptions, and yet it really is quite logical when presented in incremental lessons.
The English Grammar mini-courses consist of a series of three levels of courses, covering all of the grammar expected by early high school.
English Grammar Level 2
In Level 2, geared for 7th-8th graders, students will focus on
- Review of nouns (including collective, countable, or mass nouns) and pronouns; review of verbs and basic
verb tenses; review of adjectives (possessive nouns or pronouns as adjectives), and adverbs; independent
clauses (simple sentences); compound subjects and predicates; and subject/predicate agreement.
- Advanced verbs (transitive/intransitive; active/passive); advanced verb tenses; review of complements
(direct & indirect objects, subject complements); review of diagramming sentences for
subject/predicate/complement and also modifiers.
- Coordinating conjunctions; compound sentences; correct comma usage in compound sentences; using a
semicolon for a compound sentence; run-ons and comma splices; diagramming compound sentences.
- Subordinating conjunctions; complex sentences; correct comma usage in complex sentences; relative
pronouns to begin dependent clauses; diagramming complex sentences; and using complex sentences to
improve variety in writing.
- Appositives and appositive phrases; review of prepositional phrases; identifying the prepositional phrase as
an adjective or adverb; understanding restrictive/nonrestrictive phrases or clauses and when to use commas.
- Introduction of verbals: infinitives, participles (adjectives), gerunds (nouns); and comma rules for verbals.
- Properly punctuating dialogue; review of basic punctuation marks; more advanced punctuation marks:
hyphen, dash, semicolon, and colon; and capitalization review. Bonus lesson on plagiarism, parenthetical
notation, and the Works Cited page.
Students will watch a 15-20 minute pre-recorded grammar lecture, taught by the instructor, each day Monday-Thursday, as well as complete one or two practice exercises on that skill. On Friday, there is a review exercise as well as a quiz. On Thursday at 12:30 EST, there will be an optional “live” class to review the material covered that week. Students are not required to attend, but in doing so they will have time to ask questions about anything they didn’t understand; students can also arrange a time to “meet” with Mrs. G at other times during the week for extra help, if needed. The live class time may not take the full hour, depending on how many questions are asked and will often include playing a review game if enough students attend.
Evaluation and Feedback
Most of the grammar exercises will be automatically graded by Canvas for immediate feedback, with some requiring sentences that Mrs. G will grade promptly. In this class especially, improving grammar is more important than the grade, so the exercises can be completed a second time. The intent that is if a student doesn’t do well, he or she can receive extra help during class time, review the material, and repeat the exercise for a better score. Numerous comments will be given on assignments, and students are free to contact Mrs. G through email or through Canvas when extra help is needed.
Parents are also welcome to email Mrs. G with additional questions. I will have a series of questions which will help parents decide if this course is too easy (or too difficult). Mrs. G does not have a website. She will contact parents directly if the students aren’t keeping up with the work or if it appears to difficult (or easy). Students can switch levels, if needed.
Who Should Apply?
Any middle school student that hasn’t had intentional, focused English grammar lessons, especially if his or her writing suffers from it, and wants to do better. Grade levels are just suggested; older students can take earlier levels, if needed.
Contact Mrs. Graybill with questions: Mrs.BevGraybill@gmail.com