August 23, 2015
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you do not have MS Word (or a program that can open these documents), go
to the Microsoft
site where you can get a free reader that will let you open and print
them, or you might want to find and try the free "OpenOffice" software
on the web.
KISS Is -- And What It Is Not
Every Student Deserves to be Taught with a KISS-like Approach to Grammar
I Like KISS Grammar From Dione and Dominique (Thank you.)
Comments from Users of the KISS Approach
KISS Grammar Game
Using KISS Instructional Materials
Instruction with KISS can begin as early as
first grade, or in college. This site cannot possibly include specific
materials organized for all of these sequences. In addition, the site was
started around 2003, and since then it has grown. There are, therefore,
parts of the site that need to be revised or condensed. The following descriptions
of the two best curriculum sequences should help you decide which you want
Before turning to them, however, I want to
emphasize that the KISS objective is students' mastery of the materials.
Both sequences include mid-term and final "Assessment Quizzes." Simply
looking at the students work, however, may tell you that you can skip many
The instructional materials and the number of exercises in each section
are identical across grade levels. The difference is entirely in the exercises.
Some people want to begin KISS with first graders, and others start in
fifth, ninth or other grades. Second graders cannot deal with the vocabulary
in A Tale of Two Cities, and ninth graders do not appreciate exercises
based on Bunny Rabbit's Diary.
The instructional materials in the sections
of these books are identical. You can begin in any of the KISS Levels
and then, in the following year, start at that year in the next highest
The organization of the Grade-Level books
has its disadvantages. Perhaps the most important is that they inadequately
account for natural syntactic development. Our sentences naturally grow
and become more complex as we ourselves grow. (For more on this, click
here.) In completing the sixth grade workbooks, I realized that an
equal emphasis on each level is too constricting. Therefore I turned my
attention to an "Ideal" sequence (described in the column to the right).
Another disadvantage (for me) is that the
grade-level books originally entailed about ten times as many exercises
as the "Ideal" set will--every grade would have a complete set of exercises
for KISS Level 1 (above).
Finally, for example, the sixth-grade books
are not meant to be completed in sixth grade. They contain far too much
instruction and exercises because they are meant to pick up at the point
at which students reached in their previous years studying KISS.
That brings us to one of their advantages.
Students can begin KISS (at Level 1) in sixth grade--with sixth grade materials.
Their second major advantage is that they
include a middle school (6th grade) complete set. I
have been asked if people should start KISS and take a chance that the
site will disappear. The complete sixth
grade "Grade-Level" includes all the major concepts that students need
to know. People who worry about KISS disappearing can simply download the
set of printable sixth grade books.
"Ideal" Sequence for
across Grade Levels
"Ideal" is in quotation
marks because what is ideal for some students is not so for others. In
this sequence, most of the constructions in Level 1 (above) are introduced
and probably can be mastered in first grade. Although students will be
expected to build on what they previously learned, the basics of Level
1 are not included in books for later grades.
The plan for these books
is to have approximately 60 analysis exercises each year until the students
have completed the entire KISS sequence. Students should probably do two
five-to-ten-minute analysis exercises per week. As long as the students
understand that they are expected to learn, teachers do not need to grade
the homework. The assessment quizzes at mid-term should give teachers a
sense of what they need to emphasize for the rest of the year.
| The disadvantage of
this sequence is that only the first grade book is complete. I hope to
have the book for grade two complete before September 2015.
These "Ideal" books,
however, are being designed to include many more exercises on reading,
writing, vocabulary, and logic. For example, the seventh grade book (and
those following it) will introduce students to fallacies. Fallacies are
reasons for believing--or not believing--what other people write or say.
The real advantage of
this sequence will be that it clearly puts emphasis on what we know about
natural syntactic development. Research shows that students really begin
use subordinate clauses around seventh or eighth grade. Students can,
of course, understand them even before they go to school. In this sequence,
we can begin to teach students how to identify clauses in third grade.
They will continue to
identify them in analysis exercises, but in seventh grade, this sequence
will put a lot of focus on manipulating clauses with both sentence combining
and de-combining exercises and with exercises on the logic of subordinate
See the "Introduction"
for more information to this sequence.
additional options and instruction materials, click here.
The Teachers' Reference
to KISS Grammar
Constructions, Codes, and Color
Keys [MS Word document.]
This is an expanded version of the original KISS
"Toolbox." It briefly explains all
the KISS concepts (with short examples), constructions, levels, codes and
Most approaches to grammar cover individual
constructions (subjects and verbs, for example), give students a few simplistic
exercises, and then ignore subjects and verbs to move on to another construction.
They never put all these constructions together such that students can
understand how sentences work. KISS, however, is a group of carefully designed
of instructional materials and exercises in which students build on what
they have previously learned. Ultimately, the KISS sequqnces can enable
students to identify and discuss the function of almost every word in anything
that they read or write. Along the way, KISS enables students to understand
major questions of errors, style, and logic. Along the way, it addresses
major questions of errors, style, and logic.
Originally, KISS materials were organized into
five "levels" that more or less follow the way in which these constructions
Level 1. The Basics: simple subjects, verbs, complements
(predicate noun, adjective, direct and indirect objects), adjectives and
adverbs, compounds, and prepositional phrases
As KISS was being developed from real, randomly selected texts, complications
were found that are not addressed in most textbooks. As a simple example,
"to" can function as a preposition ("to the house"), or it can function
as the sign of an infinitive ("to go"). This confuses students, so KISS
devotes exercises to such complications, exercises that you will not find
in most textbooks. Over the years, these complications became sub-levels
in the original five.
* Although I am somewhat embarrassed
to note it, you may find grammatical and spelling errors on this site.
I do my best, but I teach five sections of Freshman composition/Introduction
to Literature every semester. As a result, I often have to rush to get
something onto this section of the site, or I have to drop it before I
would like to, so that I can prepare for my classes. That is not a good
excuse, but it is, I hope, justification for a plea for help. Someone once
sent me an e-mail to tell me that she found several spelling errors "on
the site." The "site," however, consists of several hundred documents,
and if I take the time to reread/edit all of them, I will have even less
time to respond to questions, etc. If you find an error, please
the page to me . It will be even more helpful if you tell me what
and where the errors are. Thank you.
Level 2. Expanding the Basics: The complexities of S/V/C patterns
and of prepositional phrases. (These are generally either ignored or glossed
over in most textbooks. The result of that is that students cannot apply
what they have learned to their own writing and reading.)
Level 3. Clauses (Subordinate and Main): An understanding of
clauses is one of the most important things that students should master.
Level 4. Verbals: Verbals are verbs that function as nouns, adjectives,
or adverbs, as in Swimming is good exercise. In Level 2,
students are taught how to distinguish finite verbs (that make clauses)
from verbals. In this level, they learn more about verbals per se.
Level 5. Eight additional Constructions: Three of these (Nouns
Used as Adverbs, Simple Interjections, and Direct Address) are easy to
understand, but they are not required for students to understand the constructions
in Levels one to four. The other five are most easily learned after students
have mastered KISS Level 4. They are appositives, post-positioned adjectives,
delayed subjects and sentences, passive voice, and noun absolutes.