Helping Children Symbolize Their Own Sentences (introducing verbals)

Greetings! I hope that you are enjoying this lovely time of the school year, when children have settled into the rhythm of the classroom and are working more and more productively.

Today we are releasing a new product designed to enable children to more readily symbolize sentences found in literature, and sentences that children write themselves. Most spoken and written language makes extensive use of words that LOOK like verbs but ACT like something else (usually nouns or adjectives). Consider the following sentences:
Symbolizing is my favorite language activity! (Symbolizing acts like a noun.)
I love to symbolize! (to symbolize acts like a noun.)
Symbolized sentences are beautiful! (Symbolized acts like an adjective.)
I use the symbolizing stencil when I do my best work. (symbolizing acts like a adjective.)

These words are collectively called verbals. Types of verbals include infinitives, participles, and gerunds. Verbals are a really important part of our language, and are far more approachable than one might think. Most of us were first introduced to them in middle or high school, when it was taught with rigid definitions and rules. Identifying verbals is a lot simpler and more fun than the way that we were taught! Anyone with a reasonably solid understanding of the 9 basic parts of speech can extend that knowledge to include verbals! Fear not! The introduction of Un-Villifying Verbals contains a full discussion of each verbal type with examples and a discussion of how to symbolize them. (For a taste of the introduction, read the sneak-a-peek.)

Perhaps the most compelling reason for teaching verbals to children is that they love them! Learning things that their teachers didn’t know until they were OLD (like in high school) makes them feel smart and capable! They get super-excited about finally getting to use the mysterious silver circle in the grammar symbol box. And it unlocks their grammar studies – they no longer are restricted to sentences carefully constructed to avoid verbals!

Un-Villifying Verbals provides a plethora of practice sentences using curricular content that one most typically finds in elementary Montessori classrooms: Botany, Atomic Theory, Ancient Greece, and the Five Great Lessons. (As you know, I am a firm believer in the idea that one should “double-dip” whenever possible, using curricular content in math story problems, sample sentences, etc. to enhance relevance for the children and refresh previously learned concepts.) Practice sentences each contain one or more verbals and are arranged in sets in order to isolate the difficulty. Each sentence in the first set has infinitive(s). The second set has sentences that each have one or more participles. The third set of sentences uses gerunds. After that, there are 5 sets of sentences that have a mixture of all three types of verbals. And yes, each sentence set comes with a Control of Error!

If you are already the proud owner of Not Your Grandma’s Grammar, you have detailed lessons on Infinitives, Participles and Gerunds. This product will provide practice sentences to go with those lessons. It is my intent to ultimately create practice sentences for all of the lessons in that album, so stay tuned for future news on that front!

My current attention is going towards producing a systematic approach to math facts mastery that accelerates children’s fact retention. This product is already well under development, so I hope to have it ready for you before the first of the year!

In the mean time, I wish you all a wonderful holiday season.

-Betsy

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