Saturday, December 5, 2015

Language Arts {Bundling} :: First Attempts

If you are like me, I love getting a good deal! ...BOGO, 2-for-1, 50% off... Or, to use a hunting analogy, killing 2 birds with 1 stone. Well this portion of Year 4's work is quite a deal in my mind: bundling copywork, dictation and grammar into one small 10-minute time slot four days a week. 

After having read through the Language Arts section here, skimming through the ideas presented here, picking out pertinent info here (bullet points here!) and having watched this, I readied myself for the jump into Year 4's language arts package after Thanksgiving. But now after the break I feel as if I am again foggy on how to implement everything and am having to go back through the logistics of it all. So this week I am trying to get my bearings on, not only dictation as a new addition to our week's work, but also a few other things like a schedule adjustment, typing, latin, grammar, Plutarch, etc., etc.! So this post is kind of for me. It helps me think through things when I write them out.

As a starting point for dictation, I decided on using Hymns in Prose for Children by Mrs. Barbauld (edited by Sonya Shafer). I picked up this little gem at a conference one year to use for reading practice but you can order it here as well.



The beautiful manner in which it is written and the word choices made lend themselves to a great resource for language arts!


For this first term of Year 4 I plan to take Hymn One little by little (initially sentence-by-sentence) until I see Royal becoming more adept, at which time I will add more for him to work through.

But to start:

{Week 1}
Come, let us praise God, for He is exceeding great; let us bless God, for He is very good.

Day 1: 10 minutes




  • Royal and I read through the sentence together. I asked him to look for words he may have trouble spelling. He identified "praise" and "exceeding" as possible stumbling blocks. I asked about "great", but he said he knew that one already.
  • He studied "praise" and "exceeding" for a minute, then closed his eyes and spelled them for me aloud. I gave him the option of writing them in the air, but he chose the former.
  • We looked again at the sentence and noticed capital letters, discussing the purpose for each. We also focused on punctuation, noting the location & reason for the use of each comma and introduced the word "semi-colon" and its function.
  • I asked him to spell "praise" and "exceeding" again to check his memory. No problem there, which assured me he was seeing the word and storing it in his long-term memory bank.
  • He began to copy the sentence in cursive.


Day 2: 10 minutes

  • I asked Royal to spell "praise" and "exceeding". Without having looked at the words again, he spelled them correctly. {Score!}
  • I took out another copy of our sentence and we discussed what a noun is. As this sentence uses "God" and "He", I also included what a pronoun is.
  • He finished copying the sentence for copywork (and reviewed & changed his uppercase "G" from yesterday so as to do it correctly today, as he had forgotten).



Day 3: 10 minutes


  • As the slips of paper are taped on the left side only, I flip them so they can't be viewed and ask Royal to go through the whole sentence and notice/label the points we have been discussing (underlining capital letters twice, circling punctuation, labeling the nouns and underscoring the two words he has focused on spelling this week).
  • I then had him study by closing his eyes to see the passage, telling him that tomorrow I would be testing him for perfect reproduction of all we have talked about.





Day 4: 10 minutes
  • I had Royal look over the sentence briefly, then explained again the purpose and goal of this exercise.
  • I read phrase-by-phrase: Come, let us praise God, ... for He is exceeding great; ... let us bless God, ... for He is very good.
  • When he started spelling "praise", he wrote "pris-", at which point I stuck a post-it over the word. He was disappointed, but immediately said, "Wait!" and closed his eyes to spell it aloud to me, then wrote the correct spelling over the post-it.
  • He also started to misspell "great" and "very"; however, when he saw me coming with the post-it he erased the word right away and said, "No! No!" (while laughing) and then came up with the correct spellings on his own. :-) ... I guess this way is just as good as the post-it option since he is immediately erasing (hiding) the misspelled word, consequently wiping out the mistake and replacing it with the correct spelling. Fortunately he did know how to spell these words on his own, so I feel pretty good about his results.




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