Making Practice Count

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I have never taken a class in martial arts, but I have certainly enjoyed watching Bruce Lee’s moves in his action-packed films!  Let’s face it!  The guy was physically amazing, but more than that, he had a way with words!   

Lee was more than just a famous martial artist!  He was also an actor and a philosopher with a long list of inspirational quotes tagged to his name.  Many of his famous quotes are still being used today to trigger personal growth, and one of my favorites says: 

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

This particular Bruce Lee quote reminds me of the importance of practice.  Practice, of course, is the repetition of an action with the goal of improvement.  When we practice something over and over again, we naturally perform that particular skill with more ease, speed, and confidence.  

According to educators, Annie Bosler and Don Greene, practice affects the inner workings of our brains.  In a popular TED-Ed video entitled:  How to practice effectively…for just about anything, these two teachers put together a lesson that includes four simple steps to follow.  The steps include:

  1. Focus on the task at hand. Minimize potential distractions by turning off the computer or TV and putting your cell phone on airplane mode.

  2. Start out slowly or in slow-motion. Coordination is built with repetitions, whether correct or incorrect. If you gradually increase the speed of the quality repetitions, you have a better chance of doing them correctly.

  3. Frequent repetitions with allotted breaks are common practice habits of elite performers. Studies have shown that many top athletes, musicians, and dancers spend 50-60 hours per week on activities related to their craft. Many divide their time used for effective practice into multiple daily practice sessions of limited duration.

  4. Practice in your brain in vivid detail. It’s a bit surprising, but a number of studies suggest that once a physical motion has been established, it can be reinforced just by imagining it.

Bruce Lee became well-known as a professional martial artist, actor, and philosopher because of hard work and lots of focused practice.  As human beings, we can all benefit from applying these 4-steps to practice just about anything effectively.

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.

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.

The Impact of the Mnemonic Device

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I’ll never forget returning to my 6th grade language arts classroom after winter break.  Being the social type, I had stopped between classes to say hello to some of my friends, and I barely made it into the room before the tardy bell rang.  To my surprise, the desks had been rearranged into groups of four, and I had no idea where I was supposed to sit. Everyone else had obviously been in the room long enough to locate their desks, but I was caught off guard, and I knew that I was in for it!  Although my teacher was not humored, my classmates roared with laughter because of the look on my face!

 

As if my entrance had not been bad enough, my teacher personally led me to my seat, and that’s when I knew it was going to be a long semester! She had grouped me with three individuals that were all smart, studious, and extremely quiet.  I knew immediately that she had plans to keep my talking to a minimum by placing me beside these three individuals, and I wasn’t too happy about it.  Ne’er did I know that these three people were about to teach me about the art of competition!

 

From the get go, I instinctively knew that the other three members of my classroom quartet thought they were faster, smarter, and better than me when it came to academics. I knew that they were always focused and that I was often distracted, but something inside of me clicked that day, and all of the sudden, I had something to prove.  I was determined to outsmart and outshine all three of them!

 

I learned after the first spelling pre-test that my mission was going to be harder than I thought.  You see, my teacher had a routine of giving us a spelling pre-test on Monday and a final spelling test on Friday.  If anyone made a 100 on the pre-test, they didn’t have to take the test again on Friday.  I was always good at spelling (I hardly ever studied), but wouldn’t you know, I missed one word on the pre-test that day, and all three of them made a 100! I was furious and frustrated!  To top it off, I misspelled the word language!

 

That little faux pas taught me to use one of the best tricks known to mankind!  I learned to use mnemonic devices to help me memorize difficult spelling words and much, much more.  Mnemonic devices are useful tricks or methods that help people remember important information.  In order to memorize how to spell “language”, I attached a word to almost every letter, or I let the letter stand for itself.  Here’s what I came up with: 

Language:  Linda Ann Nixon Gave U A Good E

(Believe it or not, I still repeat that saying when I write out the word.) 

 

My sixth grade year was a year of personal growth!  I learned that I could focus and work harder.  Competition drove me to do my best at all times in my 6th grade language arts class, and it taught me to find easier ways to learn important information.  By the way, I also learned that when you do less talking, you can do more listening!  It helped! 

 

Here are some beneficial mnemonic devices I found by doing a quick web search.  I encourage you to always look for tools like these to help your students memorize important information.  Enjoy!

 

-When to use “affect” or “effect”: 

~RAVEN~

Remember:

Affect = Verb

Effect = Noun

 

-If you’re still counting Pluto, here’s a cute one to help memorize the order of the planets from the sun: 

My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas! 

(Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto)

 

-How to remember who is on each bill:  When Jeff Left Home, Jack Got Fat! 

            Washington       $1

            Jefferson           $2

            Lincoln              $5

            Hamilton         $10

            Jackson           $20

            Grant                $50

            Franklin           $100

 

-The order of taxonomy: 

Kids Prefer Cheese Over Fried Green Spinach

(Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus Species)

 

-The order of Mathematical Equations: 

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally 

(Parentheses, Exponents, Multiply, Divide, Add, Subtract)

 

 

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. 

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.

Jingle All the Way with these Language Arts Tunes!

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We've said it before and we'll say it again, Jingles are a fun way for students to learn the definitions of the eight parts of speech and other important language arts concepts.  Definitions are oftentimes difficult to understand and remember, but by strategically singing or chanting them, students develop a ready-made resource in their brains.  They can access that information at any time by just repeating the jingle to themselves.

Did you know you can download our Shurley English Jingles on your electronic device so you can have them with you to learn and review?

Shurley English Jingle Time CD

Travel over to the Goggle Play Store or iTunes and type "Shurley Jingles" into the search box.  Then, select the Jingle of your choice to download/purchase. You may also view our jingles for FREE on our YouTube Channel. (Click here for more details.)

Remember, practice, practice, practice…it’s the way to mastery!  Let the Shurley English Jingles rock your classroom into the new year!

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.

Let’s get “Ziggy" with language arts definitions!

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At Shurley English, we teach everything about Language Arts in a unique way.  The curriculum has been divided into a combination of individual features that spiral together in harmony to teach difficult concepts successfully.  Jingles are one of the unique features that  we introduce, reinforce, and help students master, and they are taught during Jingle Time

So, what’s the big deal?  Well, Jingles are a fun way for students to learn the definitions of the eight parts of speech and other important language arts concepts.  These definitions are oftentimes difficult to understand and remember, but by strategically singing or chanting them during Jingle time, students develop a ready-made resource in their brains.  They can access that information at any time by just repeating the jingle to themselves.

Merriam-Webster defines a jingle as a short verse or song marked by catchy repetition.  The word “catchy” is important because it means instantly appealing and memorable; however, “repetition” is the key word in the term.

Now, if you’re following my blog, you already know that repetition is what keeps brain cells in a particular learning path fired-up, creating long-term memories.  Each time a jingle is recalled and recited, memory of the information is deepened.  As students are taught the concrete steps necessary to relate each jingle to a concept, each concept to a skill practice, and each skill practice to writing and editing, students gain a greater depth of knowledge (D. O. K.) in Language Arts. 

Zig Ziglar once said, “Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.”  So, incorporate Jingle Time into your lessons today, and let’s get “Ziggy” with it!

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.