Do you want to build a sentence?

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The reinforcement of concepts can sometimes be a tedious task. Here is a great way to practice sentence building during center time:

1. Create a word-bank wall using any flat surface. (An old metal filing cabinet makes a great wall.)

2. Make labels for the parts of speech that you have introduced to your students so far this year. 

3. Include examples of the parts of speech under the labels. 

4. Now, it's Activity Time! Instruct your students to move the words around to build sentences.

This is wonderful practice for your kinesthetic and concrete learners! Don't forget to make sure the sentence has a subject, verb, and makes complete sense.


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Cindy Goden

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.

Grammar and Writing: It's a process!


Last week, I had the pleasure of teaching a struggling 8th grader how to classify a basic Pattern 1 sentence using the Shurley English Question & Answer Flow.  After he silently reviewed the interesting process I lead him through and focused on the classified sentence, he proudly said, “It’s just like Math!”  Yes indeed!   Understanding sentence patterns and using the Q&A Flow as a way to create a grammatically correct sentence is similar to having a balanced equation in Mathematics.  Many Math teachers have shared their appreciation and support for our unique methodology because they, too, see the connection.

“Grammar is to a writer what anatomy is to a sculptor, or the scales to a musician.  You may loathe it, it may bore you, but nothing will replace it, and once mastered, it will support you like a rock.”      – B.J. Chute

Wait! There’s more…

Let’s delve into the world of Art for a moment.  You don’t have to be Monet or Picasso to realize a beautiful piece of artwork takes time to complete…maybe even copious amounts of time.  Sources argue that it took Leonardo Da Vinci anywhere from 3-12 years just to paint the lips of the Mona Lisa!  I’m not an artist, a mathematician, or a rocket scientist, but I don’t have to be to know that there is usually a process one goes through in creating any great piece of work, including the Three or Five Paragraph Essay you just assigned your school-aged child.

It takes knowledge, skill, and practice to become confident and competent at anything-especially writing!  Writing is a process!  Sadly, I don’t believe there is a Writing Fairy that will sprinkle pixie dust on your students to turn them into amazing writers-if there is, YOU ARE THE FAIRY, my friend!  Your students will develop into proficient writers with the proper writing instruction and tools over time and not in one specific grade level. 

Shurley English teaches 6-steps to follow in order to help students develop their writing skills and successfully create and share a written piece of work.  This process is extremely valuable and vital to students’ academic success; I’d venture to say that it will benefit them in life, as well.  I mean, many of us have been sucked into our fast-paced society where everything needs to be done quickly…quantity over quality.  Is that the mentality and model that is sneaking into your classroom?

As teachers, what value do YOU see in teaching Writing through a process?

If the teacher doesn’t understand the value of the 6-Step Writing Process, neither will the student!  Devoting time to each step is essential if the teacher wants to receive quality writing pieces from his/her students…that means teaching the requirements of each step with fidelity.  Fortunately, Shurley English has the 6-Step Writing Process built-in to specific lessons for you; all you have to do is follow them!  If you don’t feel that your own writing is up to par, it’s OK, this is your chance to learn right along with your students.  When you teach from the Shurley English curriculum, feel confident knowing that YOU are ultimately teaching your students the tools they need to become competent, confident, communicators…for life!

“Work on a good piece of writing proceeds on three levels: a musical one, where it is composed; an architectural one, where it is constructed; and finally, a textile one, where it is woven.”   ― Walter BenjaminOne Way Street And Other Writings


Challenge:  I invite you to give your students the opportunity to be inspired by something, work through the process of writing about it, and share their masterpiece so their voices can be heard.



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.


Language Development: Let's get real!


A Special Word…

This past Thanksgiving holiday offered me the chance to spend precious time with my dear ones, like many of you I suspect. What made this Thanksgiving so fun this year was getting to play with my soon-to-be 1-year-old grandson! We played with blocks and stuffed animals—complete with the sounds they make. I gave him blanket sleigh rides on the wood floors, zooming and bobbing down the hallway and turning back. It was epic! It was especially since Keanan is beginning to make some huge cognitive leaps in the area of language development, and you better believe this grandpa is right on his heels, listening for distinguishable sounds that indicate he is actually listening for sounds that people make and trying to mimic them. At one point during our play, I asked Keanan something that I, of course, knew he couldn’t answer verbally…but that wasn’t the point. All of the sudden, Keanan blurted out “umpa,” and as you can imagine, I was elated.

You know, Keanan is typical of so many other little ones about his age. Language development is ongoing, but when Keanan spoke the word “umpa”, it ignited a thought I wanted to share today.

Every aspect of language development is critical for every child, but the human brain is the hero here. This little boy’s brain is constantly inputting important information that it needs to remember sounds as people utter them, link the sounds to facial expressions, mouth movements, and inflections of higher and lower pitches. It is always taking a running record of repeated sounds that seem to occur at specific times and in specific contexts. It is something of a miracle if you ask me. Developmental language is exciting stuff, and when adults become intentional about their modeling of correct and appropriate language, they are upping the odds that the child will learn to speak that way, as well. I am so thankful that we possess the ability to process all of this information in order to become language communicators. As we approach the holidays when there are likely many little ones around, sit back for just a moment and take in the miracle of their ever-growing language skills and burgeoning vocabulary, and if you get a chance, take some time to model for them a Bible verse, a line of a poem, or read them a Dr. Seuss book that has a lot of fun words. You will be surprised at what they might learn from you!




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.