Shurley English 101: Teaching with Confidence

Shurley English 101: Teaching with Confidence

So, you have purchased your Shurley curriculum, you open the book or access your digital teacher’s manual…and then it hits you! “What’s all this? How am I going to cover all of it? Can I even do it?” If you have had these or similar feelings, don’t panic. It’s going to be all right.

My post today is about confidence. Yes! You can teach with confidence, especially if you are just embarking upon your first journey with Shurley English. I realize that the sheer volume of information about English that we teach might be enough to send you to the edge. But, pull back. Breathe. Help is on the way.

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Increasing Retention with Purposeful Movement

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Is purposeful movement an integral part of your instructional toolbox? I was reminded lately of the power of using motion to assist the brain in the retention of information.  I recently set a goal for myself to memorize a favorite portion of scripture, I Corinthians 13, The Love Chapter, which is commonly quoted at weddings.  As I pondered how to best attack this lofty goal, I was reminded of the units that my former coworker and I designed for our third grade students, years ago.  

You see, we took the vocabulary words in the lessons and brainstormed rhyming definitions that incorporated movement. We found these to be quite successful with the classes in assisting them not only to retain the information, but also to have fun while learning it! So, personally, I used this same method to learn the verbs and phrases associated with knowing how to love unselfishly, and it worked!

Now, I am not a brain expert by any means, but there is certainly something that takes place in the mind when you add purposeful movement to words or phrases. It adds that extra bit of distinctiveness which sticks in the memory bank and causes retention levels to soar!

Why not try adding some motions with muscle to your classroom lessons? It does take some preplanning, but it adds fun and a reason for movement to the learning process.  The Shurley English Jingles are a perfect learning tool to help you add movement into your language arts lessons (…and you can find them for FREE on our YouTube Channel).

As you listen to and learn the jingles, think about each line of text. Pay careful attention to the most important words, especially the verbs. Think of purposeful movements you can associate with the texts of each jingle. You will improve the community feel of your classroom by involving kids in the choreography planning, so don’t be afraid to give them the reins. Of course, you will need to be the final judge about whether the motions they want to use make a good association to the jingle text, but their engagement in this process will be invaluable to them in the long run.

The Playbook of Literary Success: Grammar

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Let’s get back into the language arts huddle to go over some key plays that will help your students win-the-game!  If you missed Part I of the Playbook of Literacy Success, you might want to go back to the starting line to capture the necessity of a strong vocabulary.  As for today, we’re going to focus on Part II: Grammar.  We’ll begin with some calisthenics we call Shurley English Jingles, and then we’ll move right into our version of the wishbone formation! We call this feature the Question and Answer Flow

Remember, English is like a competitive sport, and every K-8 teacher is part of the coaching staff charged with developing players’ language arts knowledge and skills.  The playbook contains plays designed to help each team member achieve literacy success, which is the ultimate goal of the game, and the action plan involves the following equation:

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When it comes to teaching grammar, Shurley English uniquely teaches and reinforces the eight parts of speech and other important language arts concepts, using Jingles.  For clarification purposes, Jingles contain the important pieces of information of each definition, stated in a catchy, rhythmic way.  Each time a Jingle is recited, the brain goes through the motions of reigniting the learning path that was formed previously.  The more the brain repeats information via the learning path, the more likely that information will be retained in the long-term memory.  

Note:  Jingles are like calisthenics for the brain, and Jingle practice has been distributed appropriately throughout the Teacher’s Manual. And of course, as a reflective practitioner who must hold both your students and yourself accountable for the knowledge gained, the daily rehearsal of the jingles becomes an out-loud-and-in-your-face measurable way to determine how well students are retaining the new knowledge.

 

Shurley English Jingles

  • incorporate rhythm, rhyme, and movement.

  • provide domain-specific language.

  • allow for critical reading during sentence analysis.

Checklist for Shurley English Jingles:

  • Teacher models jingles or uses the Interactive I feature of the digital materials.

  • Students recite the jingles in unison at a brisk pace.

  • Students enjoy Jingle Time.

As grammar instruction continues, Shurley English teaches students how the eight parts of speech are organized to form sentences correctly, using a process called the Question and Answer Flow.  The Q & A Flow teaches students how to analyze the role of each word in a sentence. Learning to identify and label the parts of a sentence leads to understanding sentence structure, and as students' understanding of sentence structure grows, they learn to apply this knowledge to write better sentences, paragraphs, and essays.  Think about it this way: Just as a coach choreographs the plays he or she wants the team to master, so, too, grammar is the choreographer of our language.  Therefore, it is essential for students to have a firm foundation of knowledge about the parts of speech and the role they play in written language. The Q & A Flow makes the practice of the parts of speech logical and systematic.

Shurley English Q&A Flows

  • include brain-compatible strategies.

  • make English grammar logical and systematic.

  • serve as a formative assessment.

As you reflect upon your teaching of these important skills, consider the following Checklist for Grammar Instruction and the Question and Answer Flow. Ask yourself, have I…

  • conducted the grammar lesson as directed in the manual?

  • involved students in the oral questioning process?

  • related the new skill to a previously taught skill?

  • taught the students to read the sentences to be classified fluently and in unison?

  • encouraged a steady and natural pace as sentences are read aloud?

  • pointed to words and sentences for younger students as sentences are read?

  • taught students to use the same sequence/order of the Questions and Answers in the Q &A Flow, according to the manual?

  • conducted the Q & A Flow at an appropriate rate and volume?

  • waited until each answer is recited before labeling?

  • monitored constantly the students’ engagement and participation?

  • kept the students involved and on task?

 

By keeping yourself mindful of not only the quality of the content you teach, but also the technique and delivery of the content, you will add yet another game-saving skill to your students’ overall literacy achievement.  In upcoming posts, you will learn even more “plays” you can add to your literacy “playbook.” Don’t miss it!

FREE Language Arts Jingles from Shurley English

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If you’re ready to learn English definitions in a fun and easy way, Shurley English Jingles are for you! Using domain-specific language, our definitions for the parts of speech and many other important language arts concepts incorporate rhythm, rhyme, and movement. Jingles provide the tools for critical thinking during sentence analysis and writing.  

Our multi-sensory approach provides an active, hands-on learning environment in which kids truly understand and retain language arts skills for a lifetime. (We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Jingles are an extremely effective way to learn information!) We invite you to incorporate Jingle Time into your classroom or homeschool today!

For the first time in 30 years, we are excited to offer our Shurley English Language Arts Jingles for FREE! Getting started is easy…

  1. Go to the Shurley Instructional Materials YouTube Channel.

  2. Subscribe so you will know when a new jingle is uploaded.

  3. Have fun learning language arts definitions!

P.S. Don’t forget to share these jingles with your friends!

What’s next? Have you learned all of the Shurley English Jingles? If so, take the next step! It’s time to show students how to apply this knowledge to sentence classification, where they learn the parts of speech and correct sentence structure. These skills serve as the foundation for students to write better sentences, paragraphs, and essays. The result—successful writers! Let’s get started.

Comment /Source

Kim Shurley

Kim Shurley is a wife, mother, educator, and wanna-be rockstar. She graduated with honors from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock with a degree in Marketing in 1999. Upon her graduation, Kim joined the Shurley Team, where she collaborates on product development and promotion with her mother-in-law, Brenda Shurley.

Kim believes wholeheartedly in the work she does in curriculum development, which is why she homeschools her two children in the summer months using the Shurley method of instruction. After all, educating children is what this family-run company is all about.

In her spare time, Kim can be found adventuring in the mountains of Colorado with her family.

Emotional Intelligence: How to boost learning with music

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If you are a teacher, you know that teaching—and learning—are emotional experiences. Thanks to neuropsychology and neuroscientists, we have some exciting ways to increase the joy in our classrooms, which in turn increases the learning. Why? It’s one of the most basic concepts in teaching and learning…happy kids learn new things easier than stressed out kids.

Eric Jensen, a pioneer among neuro-educators, suggests nine ways to ramp up the emotional intelligence in the classroom or in any learning environment. To help students connect positive emotions with learning, try adding in some of the following strategies:

  • Music

  • Games

  • Drama

  • Storytelling

  • Role modeling

  • Celebrations

  • Controversy

  • Rituals

  • Introspection

For the next several weeks, I will unpack each of these strategies and offer some examples of what they can look like in your environment. Let’s get started with incorporating music.

Whether we’re talking about vocal or instrumental music, classical or jazz styles, music from a radio, or from the streaming device of your choice, music in your students’ ears can elevate their learning. Jensen includes music because of what the research shows.

Music, as long as it is added intentionally and not overdone, can relax students. This “de-stresses” them and primes them for effective learning. We all know how stressed we can feel when too much information is crammed into our heads. It can halt our ability to listen actively and process new ideas.

But, music changes the brain’s neural map. When kids get to learn how to play a stringed instrument or one that requires the fingers to change positions, cool neural interactions happen inside the brain.

Since many schools can no longer afford music programs for the whole school, teachers who invite music into their classroom can still save the day AND positively influence their kids’ brains. When students get the chance to sing, dance, play instruments, etc., the parts of their brain that process music develop extra neurons! Voila! Better brains—better learning!

Shurley English makes it easy to adopt music in the classroom with musical and rhythmic jingles that teach grammar. Kids easily connect their emotions to their learning during jingle time. You can too! For more information about ideas to bring jingles and other brain-building activities to your kids, go to our website: www.shurley.com and check them out.

Remember to keep the link between students’ emotions and the learning process in mind as you plan and deliver all of your lessons.  Emotions drive attention, which in turn drives learning and memory.  

(This post is part of a series on Emotional Intelligence. To continue to part two, click here.)

Language Arts Jingles: Add FUN to your ELA day

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If you’re ready to learn English definitions in a fun and easy way, Shurley English Jingles are for you! Using domain-specific language, our definitions for the parts of speech and many other important language arts concepts incorporate rhythm, rhyme, and movement. Jingles provide the tools for critical thinking during sentence analysis and writing.  

Our multi-sensory approach provides an active, hands-on learning environment in which kids truly understand and retain language arts skills for a lifetime. (We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Jingles are an extremely effective way to learn information!) We invite you to incorporate Jingle Time into your classroom or homeschool today!

For the first time in 30 years, we are excited to offer our Shurley English Language Arts Jingles for FREE! Getting started is easy…

  1. Go to the Shurley Instructional Materials YouTube Channel.

  2. Subscribe so you will know when a new jingle is uploaded.

  3. Have fun learning language arts definitions!

P.S. Don’t forget to share these jingles with your friends!

What’s next? Have you learned all of the Shurley English Jingles? If so, take the next step! It’s time to show students how to apply this knowledge to sentence classification, where they learn the parts of speech and correct sentence structure. These skills serve as the foundation for students to write better sentences, paragraphs, and essays. The result—successful writers! Let’s get started.

Comment /Source

Kim Shurley

Kim Shurley is a wife, mother, educator, and wanna-be rockstar. She graduated with honors from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock with a degree in Marketing in 1999. Upon her graduation, Kim joined the Shurley Team, where she collaborates on product development and promotion with her mother-in-law, Brenda Shurley.

Kim believes wholeheartedly in the work she does in curriculum development, which is why she homeschools her two children in the summer months using the Shurley method of instruction. After all, educating children is what this family-run company is all about.

In her spare time, Kim can be found adventuring in the mountains of Colorado with her family.

The Power of Adjectives

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Competent writing begins with understanding basic sentence structure. It's true! Today, let's talk specifically about the POWER of the adjective.

Learning the Shurley English Adjective Jingle during Jingle Time is the first step to leaning about adjectives!  The basic information recited explains (1) what an adjective is, (2) what an adjective does, and (3) how to locate an adjective in a sentence. 

Reciting the Adjective Jingle regularly helps students easily remember the grammar concept.  Once they grasp the basic understanding, they can begin to effectively and strategically apply adjectives when speaking and writing. 

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There’s more to adjectives than the information provided in the jingle.  You see, adjectives are a part of speech with POWER, and their job in the sentence is exclusive!  Only an adjective can modify a noun or pronoun by telling what kind, which one, or how many.   Only adjectives can be used to describe how something feels, looks, sounds, tastes, and acts!

Besides common adjectives like short, last, and ten, there are five distinct categories of adjectives you should know:  (A) article adjectives, (B) proper adjectives, (C) demonstrative adjectives, (D) interrogative adjectives, and (E) indefinite adjectives.

 

Five Categories of Adjectives:

1. Article Adjectives:  Only three commonly used adjectives are called article adjectives.  They are a, an, and the.   We use them on a daily basis when speaking and writing without giving them much thought.  The article adjectives actually restrict the meanings of the nouns they modify.  For instance, the article “the” is a definite article, meaning a specific person, place, or thing.  A and an are indefinite articles, meaning one of several.

Hint:  Use the sound of the noun’s first letter to select a or an

-If the noun begins with a consonant, use the article adjective “a” before it.    

-If the noun begins with a vowel, use the article adjective “an” before it.

 

2.  Proper Adjectives:  Adjectives formed from a proper noun are called proper adjectives.  Proper Adjectives are always capitalized no matter where they are located in the sentence.  (I love Mexican food, English is my second language.) 

 

3.  Demonstrative Adjectives: The adjectives we use to point out a particular person, place, or thing are called demonstrative adjectives.  These adjectives modify the noun or pronoun by telling “which one,” specifically.  (This coat is mine.)  To use the correct demonstrative adjective, you must use the following Tips:

Ask:  Is the demonstrative adjective modifying a singular or plural noun? 

-Use the demonstrative adjectives “this or that” to modify a singular noun. 

-Use the demonstrative adjectives “these or those” to modify plural nouns. 

 

4.  Interrogative Adjectives:  The adjective used in front of the noun it modifies to ask the questions what, which, or whose is called an interrogative adjective.  (Which desk is Nancy’s?)

 

5.  Indefinite Adjectives: An indefinite adjective is an adjective formed from an indefinite pronoun.  It modifies a noun instead of replacing it.  Indefinite adjectives are used to qualify nouns and express the indefinite idea of quality or quantity.  Some common indefinite adjectives include words like any, each, few, many, more, several, and some, etc.    (Each student contributed several food items during the food drive.)

 

Use any category of adjectives with competence and confidence by learning about them and applying them when you’re speaking and writing.  Before long, you’ll be effectively and strategically using them as you speak and write for all purposes!

Comment /Source

Jamie Geneva

Jamie Geneva is the Senior National Consultant at Shurley Instructional Materials and is a seasoned subject matter expert in the realm of English Language Arts.  Her career with the company began during the days of the Shurley Method binder, which was pre-1st Edition, and has spanned across three decades.  Over the years, her various roles have included teacher, presenter, state representative, consultant, manager, and most recently, a Shurley English Digital Assistant.  You might not recognize her face, but her voice could certainly sound familar.  That’s because she’s recorded Jingles, Q&A Flow Sentences, and other Shurley English content for many, many years. 

Jamie and her husband, Garret, live in the foothills of eastern Oklahoma. She loves spending quality time with her family, traveling, reading, cooking, and staying connected on social media.

Ms. Geneva received her B.S. degree in Elementary Education and her M.Ed in Public School Administration from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK. 

Adverb or Adjective?

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When my third graders were first learning the parts of speech, some of them would mix-up adverbs and adjectives.  I found a great process that would move my students from definitions, through Bloom's Taxonomy, and towards application. Let me show you...

Step 1: Definitions

Remember, an adverb modifies verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. An adjective modifies nouns or pronouns. As you well know, definitions can be hard to remember. Why not introduce your students to language arts jingles? (There is plenty of research on this subject, that you can read about here and here.) Below are two jingles to help you with adverbs and adjectives.

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Step 2: Questioning Strategies

Next, move towards application with questioning strategies. By asking the right questions, students can identify the word as an adjective or an adverb.

If the word answers, “HOW? WHEN? WHERE?” it is an adverb.

If the word answers, “WHAT KIND? WHICH ONE? HOW MANY?" it is an adjective.

 

By using this two-step process, students can move from simple quoting of definitions to application of facts.

Do you want more language arts jingles? Check this out!

Comment /Source

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.

Analyzing Adverbs with Language Arts Jingles

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Do you have some primary students who still have difficulty identifying adverbs? Not to worry! Our Adverb Jingle helps students learn not only the definition of an adverb, but also the three initial questions to ask when finding adverbs: 

How?  When?  Where?

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(Don't have our ELA jingles? Here's where you can find them.)

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Have students work in small groups to make lists of adverbs, according to which adverb question they answer. This helps students understand the difference between the three adverb questions.

Here is how one teacher displayed the results of her students’ group work on a chart when they came together as a class to discuss the activity.

Remember, categorization is a great way to help the brain in retaining information as well as granting your students practice with analyzation of the idea. Happy writing! 

Comment /Source

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.

Listen, Move, and LEARN!

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TPR (Total Physical Response) has its roots in second language acquisition, but it found its way into Shurley English too. TPR was first incepted by a psychology professor from San Jose University, CA, James Asher. He developed the idea almost fifty years ago, but it has truly helped students to acquire new languages with great facility.

 

What is TPR (Total Physical Response)?

The strategy Asher developed first involves teaching students to just sit back and listen attentively, much the same way that babies typically acquire their first language. Then, a requested response is modeled repeatedly until the student has connected the response to the request. The request is focused upon helping students acquire new vocabulary and associating the word to a movement, to a gesture, or to a repeated meaningful practice of some kind. When the movement is linked to a specific vocabulary word, students acquire the word easily. With lots of practice, the new word moves into the student’s long-term memory.

How can I integrate TPR into my ELA day?

Integrating TPR can be a fairly simple task; let's start with language arts definitions. In Shurley English, our grammar and reading jingles tap into the TPR philosophy. In fact, any kind of action song or jingle is basically a TPR event with added music. The jingles we teach in Shurley English introduce students of any language to a whole host of vocabulary and help them lock in the new academic language through music and movement. (Here's an entire article about it!)  Even if students merely chant the jingles, it’s the cadence, rhythm, and rhyme, along with the movement, that enable students to make strong connections between the movement and the vocabulary. This ultimately helps students lock down important language concepts that will stay with them for a lifetime. 

If you haven’t checked out our ELA jingles yet, you can listen to a sampling of them on our YouTube channel. Enjoy!

Comment /Source

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.