Discover Discovery Time

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In order to meet the challenges of today’s work force, students need to be equipped with a broad base of knowledge and the tools necessary to communicate with competence and confidence.  Our Discovery Time enrichment will stimulate students’ interest in a variety of topics, broaden their knowledge base, and provide opportunities for them to communicate what they’ve learned to others! 

Discovery Time is strategically introduced and promoted in each grade level of Shurley English.  Lessons are designed to spark students’ interest in self-guided research as a way to broaden their knowledge base.  Of course, 40+ years of research proves that when learning new information about a topic, prior knowledge greatly impacts a students’ ability to comprehend, draw inferences, and figure out ambiguity.  A broad base of knowledge also helps students think of new ideas related to the topic. 

How It Works: 

Facts about different topics are presented to students during Discovery Time.  Students have the option to pursue any of the topics for further exploration at the library, at home, or on the Internet (with parents’ permission).  After investigating a Discovery Time topic, students may write and publish an independent report to share with others. 


Level 6 Discovery Time Example: 

1. First, students are provided with some interesting information about the Navajo Code Talkers from World War II.

2. Next, students are given several questions to answer that will require more research.

3. Finally, students are challenged to share what they have learned by publishing a report.

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Cindy Goeden

Cindy Goeden has enjoyed being involved with Shurley English for the last sixteen of her twenty-six years in the field of education.  Working with various levels of students in elementary, junior, and high schools, in both the private and public arenas, Cindy surely is thankful for the providential day that she was introduced to Shurley English, which changed forever her approach to Language Arts instruction. That has led to her current job of having the joy of sharing about Shurley with other educators.  Her love of learning has prodded her to earn over two hundred and twenty hours, which includes two bachelor degrees in education.


Cindy currently lives with her husband, Donald, in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she enjoys puttering in her flowers, changing up her décor with the seasons, and occasionally getting out and traveling with Donald to either explore a new beach or view historic sights and gardens.

Teaching Silent Final E: The Split Vowel Spelling Rule

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I don’t know about you, but when it was time to introduce the concept of long vowels in the middle of one-syllable words ending in “e”, I would spend long hours in prayer…first for my sanity and then for my students’ comprehension! Sure, there are some great ways to get this concept across to kids, but below, I have outlined what I think works best.


Teach this first: Any of the single vowels make a long sound if immediately followed by an “e”. Let me say it again. Any time you place an “e” after the single vowels a, u, i, o, and e, you will hear the first vowel’s long sound, and the “e” goes silent. (For a more in-depth discussion about this first step, check out this post.)


NOW…it’s time to teach the Split Vowel Spelling Rule for Silent Final E. You may find it hard to believe, but this rule eventually just rolls right of the tongue! It’s so simple for little minds to grab onto because it provides the rationale for why the tiny letter “e” can have such power over the vowel it used to be paired with!

Here’s what happens when we split apart the vowel teams with a consonant. (We will use the following examples in our discussion: lie, hoe, cue.)


If I use the consonant “k” to split apart the i and e found in the word lie, what happens? I get the new word: like.

This is a direct application of the Split Vowel Spelling Rule! I explain that VC+e and CVC+e words are simply showing a V+e pattern that got split apart by a consonant. (Even young students begin to grasp this concept over a period of spaced repetition. It is a simple and effective explanation!)



If I use the consonant “p” to split apart the o and e in hoe, what happens? I get the new word: hope.


If I use the consonant “t” to split apart the u and e in cue, what happens? I get the new word: cute!


Now, this may not seem like earth-shattering news, but this kind of logical teaching can set students on a much more successful path for understanding spelling…and ultimately for improving their reading.

(This post is part of a series on Silent Final E. To start at the beginning, click here.)

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David Lutz

David, a former classroom teacher, administrator, and self-proclaimed grammar nut, considers the oddities of English vocabulary and grammar his playthings! He received his degrees in elementary education, teaching, and curriculum design from CMU in Fayette, MO, and the University of St. Mary, Leavenworth, KS, respectively. His career has been a colorful collage of experiences in education, ranging from Kindergarten to Adult education and parenting classes.


He and his wife, Marjorie, have been blessed with 30 years of marriage, three grown sons, a cherished daughter-in-law, and the smartest, cutest grandson on the planet! He’s worked for Shurley Instructional Materials, Inc., for over 11 years and loves to help students and their teachers learn to love language and language learning as much as he does.

Trusting the Process of Shurley English

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This week, I evacuated from my home in North Carolina due to Hurricane Florence.  I headed out of town alone, following the others trying to seek safe shelter from the life-threatening storm.  Nine hours later, I arrived at my turnoff, and it was completely dark except for my vehicle’s headlights.  Imagine this…

I’m in the middle of a mountain range that is unfamiliar to me, and the GPS (yes there’s service) tells me to turn right, up this steeeeep hill!  For a split second I questioned Maggie, my GPS, as if I thought I might know better or more than her.  In that second of hesitation, my car stalled on the steep incline and a wave of panic came over me.  I took a deep breath, restarted my SUV, and said to myself, “Just go with it!”  I did, and I pushed the gas pedal to get going. 

With fluttering in my stomach, I made my way up the dark and winding road that had been paved before me.  Once I made it to the top of that steep hill, I still had no clue where I was going exactly.  I could only see the next step in front of me, and I knew I had to keep going. 

When I arrived, the destination home where I will be staying until the storm passes was also completely dark and unfamiliar.  So, with my measly headlamp and suit of “No Fear!” armor, I followed the steps given to me to let myself into the home to get it up and running.  I found the key.  Then, I found a light, and from there I just went with it!

The fear of the unknown can be incredibly scary, testing your patience and faith.  But, trusting the road that has been successfully paved for you can sometimes lead you in just the right direction!

Some teachers might feel the same way I did on the steep hill when they begin to teach Shurley English.  I imagine you’ve heard someone say, “Just trust the process.”  It seems this phrase has become a part of our daily verbiage.  I know that I’ve even said it while leading Shurley English trainings.  So, let’s take a closer look at how Merriam-Webster defines the words: trust & process.


a : assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something

b : one in which confidence is placed


a (1) : a natural phenomenon marked by gradual changes that lead toward a particular result-the process of growth

So, what does “trusting the process” mean when it comes to Shurley English?

- It means trusting that each feature of Shurley English has a purpose in the big picture of teaching students how to make the Grammar Writing Connection.


- It means trusting that the cute little Jingles actually help to lay the foundation for the Question and Answer Flow by using domain specific language.


- It also means having confidence in the format and sequence of the Q&A Flow, trusting that it will teach sentence analysis and reinforces sentence fluency and proper sentence structure. 

- It means trusting in the value of teaching the reverse approach to the Q&A Flow through Sentence Blueprints, in order to help students learn how to build and revise creative sentences independently.


- It means having faith that your diligence in teaching all the skills introduced in Grammar, Writing, Reading, and Speaking & Listening, while having students apply them daily, will pay off! 


- It means relying on the Writing Evaluation Guide and Traits of Effective Writing to help guide your students through the 6-Step Writing Process so they can become confident and competent writers. 


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To completely trust the process in Shurley English:

…you need to let go of the need to know what is unfolding next or why. 

…you need to be able to have the confidence to simply experience how the curriculum spirals language arts concepts, using repetition. 

…you need to have confidence that Shurley English will give your students the skills they need to make the grammar/writing connection! 

Just go with it and be fearless!

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Kimberly Crady

Kimberly Crady is an adventurous woman with an immense love for life, learning, and teaching. After teaching in upper elementary classrooms for nearly 10 years, she joined the Shurley Team in 2005.  Kimberly has had the unique experience of teaching Shurley English lessons in all levels, Kindergarten-8th grade and training teachers across the United States.  Kimberly is a National Consultant and SEDA Teacher for Shurley Instructional Materials.


Kimberly’s passion for helping people and living a healthy lifestyle has led her to continue her education in the area of Health and Wellness.  She enjoys numerous outdoor activities from hiking and snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains to paddle boarding in the ocean; although, these days you can find her practicing hot yoga in a Bikram Yoga studio. She also enjoys traveling abroad, live music, reading, and spending time with her favorite mutt, Lu.  Kimberly’s experience as a Certified Health & Wellness Coach and Teen Life Coach helps support her firm belief in teaching the whole person, especially in the classroom.