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Whereas some parents and teachers will prefer
to do only one or two grammar exercises in relation to any literary work,
others may prefer to stay with the same work and look at it more intensely.
Obviously you may use only one or two of these exercises, but I have tried
here to develop a series of review exercises for everything that fourth
graders might have studied within the KISS framework. Thus I have made
this as a separate "Review" book in the sequential KISS workbooks.
Adjectives, adverbs, and prepositional phrases
appear in almost every passage, and obviously any construction can appear
in any passage, but the following selections have been made in order to
include at least some of the designated constructions.
ideally fourth graders should be working at KISS Level Two. The analysis
keys for levels three + are provided for teachers and parents to help answer
any advanced questions that you or your students may have.
Additionally, of course, any passage can be
used as an exercise for any level of KISS analysis. Many of these selections
include "so" and "for" as conjunctions. If you plan to use them for studying
clause structure, you will probably save some time if you study the discussion
of "so" and "for" first.
Exercises for Review
For the following exercises,
you can, of course, direct the students to identify all the constructions
that they have studied thus far. If you do not have time for that, simply
have them identify the specified constructions.
The "For" Problem
Material] [Notes for Teachers]
Subject / Verb / Complement
To provide fourth
graders will some simple exercises, some of the sentences in the followed
have been adapted (simplified) from the original text. Although an infinitive
phrase slipped into one of the sentences in exercise six, these exercises
are otherwise free of verbals.
Simple S/V/C Exercises
Compound Subjects, Finite Verbs, and/or Complements
1. After the students have discussed sentence # 4 in
Exercise # 5, have them each write two or three sentences based on the
same pattern -- verb / subject, and verb.
2. Have the students each write two or three sentences with a five-part
compound finite verb.
S/V/C Patterns in Compound
Finite Verbs from Verbals
In the ideal KISS Curriculum, fourth graders
have three years (grades four, five, and six) to master S/V/C patterns.
You may therefore want to give them primarily "verballess" exercises, like
those above, until they have mastered them, even if it takes all of fourth
grade. If, on the other hand, you want to have them start distinguishing
finite verbs from verbals, you can use the following exercises.[See
the notes for instructors.]
The "To" Test
The Sentence Test
S/V/C Patterns in Subordinate Clauses
Students will need to identify the S/V/C patterns
in subordinate clauses in order to identify the clauses. In some cases,
these S/V/C patterns are more difficult to identify so I have made these
In Adjectival Clauses
In Adverbial ?
Mixed Level One Clauses
Noun Clauses -- Direct Objects? Or Interjections?
If you are opting
to work with randomly selected passages from prose, you will soon run into
the problem of how to handle quotations. The sentences in Exercise # 7
will give you some relatively simple examples, both of the problem and
of the KISS approach to handling it.
A Noun Clause as a Delayed
Delayed Subjects are too
much to add to the work of fourth graders, but the following sentence is
an interesting example for teachers and parents who may run across this
construction in working with students on randomly selected texts.
Traditional grammars would probably treat this "where" clause as an adverb
to "was," or perhaps to "beautiful," but that explanation basically leaves
the "it" meaningless. If we ask "What was so beautiful?", the answer is
"Where she was travelling."
|Now the toads could not reach her, and it was so beautiful where
she was travelling.
(DO), / and
(PA) [where shewas
was travelling] was
so beautiful (PA).
|"How Much Can I Explain?"
S/V/C Patterns: Passages for Analysis
"Free" Sentence-Combining Exercise
If your students have been studying Direct Address,
Interjections, and Nouns Used as Adverbs, the following exercises should
provide a good review.
An Exercise on Direct Address
An Exercise on Interjections
NuA, Inj, Direct Address
An Exercise in Literary Analysis
Have the students make
a list of the major characters in the tale. After each character, have
the students list the adjectives and nouns that are used to describe each
character. Note, for example, that Thumbelina is described as "quite tiny,
trim, and pretty," whereas the old toad was "very ugly, clumsy, and clammy."
"Pretty" and "ugly" are very subjective adjectives. They really do not
say anything about the word they modify; instead, they express the speaker's
or writer's attitude about whatever is being described. (Beauty is in the
eye of the beholder.) "Clammy," on the other hand, denotes a fairly specific
(objective) tactile sensation, one that most people do not like. Have the
students discuss the various "subjective" and "objective" adjectives and
nouns on their lists and how those words affect their attitudes about the
might be a stretch for fourth graders, you might want to follow this exercise
by having students search for subjective and objective adjectives and nouns
in other texts such as descriptions of their favorite movie stars, fashions,
music, etc. The students might come to the conclusion that they are being
manipulated (brainwashed?) by the subjective words in many of the texts
in popular culture Is Brittany Spears really more "beautiful" than most
Additional Writing Exercises
1. Many of these exercises contain compound finite verbs, so teachers
might want to use them as models and ask students to include such compounds
in some of their own writing.
2. Fourth graders who write very short passages (in comparison to their
peers) may be aided simply by copying selected passages from the tale.
Impress upon them that they should remain faithful to the spelling, capitalization,
3. Perhaps the best writing exercise for fourth graders would be to
ask them to retell the story, in writing, in as much detail as they can.
To help them, you might want to give them a list of the major characters
and events in the order in which they appear -- the Witch, the birth of
Thumbelina, the toad, the fish, the butterfly, the cockchafer, the field-mouse,
the mole, the swallow, and finally the little Prince.
4. Literary critics discuss the theme(s) of works, but themes are often
the same as the moral (the point or meaning) of the story. Fourth graders
can probably write a paragraph or more about what they think the meaning
of this tale is. Although some literary critics believe that a work has
theme, most critics would disagree. Works have different themes for different
readers, and the aim of the students' writing should be to point to the
things in the story that support their version of the theme. Letting students
discuss the theme before they write may help them see that they need support
for their opinions. In the course of discussion, some students might suggest
that the theme is that obedience is rewarded. Others may feel that the
theme is that injustice is corrected. (The stolen Thumbelina is returned
to "people" of her own kind, and Thumbelina's suffering is rewarded by
her new life with the little Prince.") To support these themes, students
will have to refer to different parts of the story.
5. A more sophisticated analysis might explore the symbolism of the
setting of this tale. It starts, of course, on land, but the toad brings
Thumbelina to a watery environment. Water is often symbolic of rebirth,
and this rebirth might be seen as the beginning of Thumbelina's spiritual
life. The butterfly (from above) helps her escape from the toads, but the
cockchafer also comes from the air to capture her and take her to "the
great wood," where she lives alone a whole summer. "Woods" are typically
symbolic of being lost. From there, Thumbelina moves to the home of the
field-mouse, under ground, and thence to the even deeper hole of the mole
who "cannot bear the sun and the beautiful flowers." This parallels the
classic literary motif of the journey to the underground, the land of the
dead. And, of course, there Thumbelina finds the "dead" swallow. Thumbelina
aids in the resurrection of the swallow (back to the air), and the swallow
is fundamental to the final rebirth of Thumbelina as he brings her to the
land of the little Prince where she is rechristened "May Blossom." Because
it thus embodies the fundamental archetype of the journey to the underworld
and a subsequent rebirth, the tale can be seen as reinforcing the widely
accepted theme that spiritual rebirth must be preceded by suffering.
Analyzing My Own Writing
Don't forget that one of the most important,
perhaps the most important, of the KISS exercises is to have students analyze
a sample of their own writing. Have them make a double-spaced final copy
(in pen) of something they have written. Then have them analyze it (in
pencil) for the constructions that they have learned thus far. Finally,
have them work in small groups to check each other's analysis. This group
work has the effect of letting students informally compare their writing
style with that of their peers. Although it is even more important in middle
and high school, at KISS Level Two students will still see differences
in the way they use compounds, prepositional phrases, adjectives, adverbs,
etc. Finally, as part of this group work, you might want to have them make
suggestions to each other about the overall quality of the writing – its
organization, details, focus, etc.