(Code and Color Key)
Just So Stories, by Rudyard Kipling
A primary reasons for my choosing these stories
for exericses is that they are widely available. The Dover
Publications edition is $2.00, as I write this. (Every child should
have a library of his or her own, and children will probably want to read
these humorous stories several times.) They are, however, also available
in electronic format at Project
Gutenberg, and Kellscraft.com
has made available a nicely done, illustrated, electronic copy.
Most of these exercises were intended for
the maintenance books and are very short. So, by the way, are the texts.
They are so short that classroom teachers may want to make overheads of
the entire stories so that students can follow along as the teacher (or
a class member) reads the story aloud. (Don't be surprised, however, if
some of the students start asking for grammatical explanations of some
of the sentences.) The general idea is to read and discuss a story and
then do the associated syntax exercise.
In addition to numerous direct objects for
one finite verb, this humorous short passage includes an interjection and
a noun used as an adverb. I have used the sentence-combining exercise in
the workbook for fourth grade.
This selection is a bit long, but most of it
is very simple. You might want to have students compare Kipling's repetition
of the grammatical subject in this passage with its omission, in favor
of multiple direct objects, in the selection from "How the Whale
Got His Throat." Why did he do that?
I chose this passage primarily because of the
fanciful adjectives. The Fill-in-the-Blank exercise is more about vocabulary
than syntax, but part of the KISS Approach is to intertwine the study of
syntax with everything else. KISS Fill-in-the-Blank exercises are most
fun when the students, in class, state what they put in the blanks. Since
some students hesitate to give their answers, you might want to randomly
pass the papers to different students such that students report the answers
of their peers.
The first exercise is short and was selected
for the maintenance books. However, I could not resist the poem (Exercise
#2). Too many college students have lost the "Why?", and it is the most
important question of all.
Except for the ellipsis in the first sentence,
the first exercise is very simple.
The second exercise is not just a study in
correctness or the rules, but an exploration of how Kipling's text supports
or violates those rules. My guess is that most students will finish in
about ten minutes, but discussion make take a whole class period to explore
what is similar and what is different in the clauses that Kipling joins
with semicolons. This is, in other words, a fundamental exercise in logic
as well as in grammar.
The first selection is a short passage for
use the literature books. Exercise # 2 is for KISS Levels Three +. Assign
it for homework, or even worse, as a test, and most of your students will
hate you. Instead, put it on an overhead and enjoy doing the analysis with
your students in class.
This is a short, simple exercise.
This is a more challenging exercise.
This is primarily another "maintenance" exercise.
The story, by the way, includes a couple of sentences that should be of
interest to teachers. For one, Kipling found an interesting way of solving
the problem of making a long name possessive:
Then the Eldest Magician said, ‘Listen,
Pau Amma. When you go out from your cave the waters of the Sea pour down
into Pusat Tasek, and all the beaches of all the islands are left bare,
and the little fish die, and Raja Moyang Kaban, the King of the Elephants,
his legs are made muddy....' (my emphasis)
On the ATEG list, some asked how to explain
the error in a "sentence" in which a noun was followed by a comma and then
by a clause that expanded on the meaning of the noun. I forget the original,
but a similar construction would be -- 'Total defeat, there was no other
way to explain it." Thus the following "sentences" also caught my attention:
There was nobody in the world so big as Pau Amma — for he was
the King Crab of all Crabs. Not a common Crab, but a King Crab.
If Kipling can write verbless sentences, why can't students? Sometimes
teachers are too quick in looking for errors.
This story may raise some eyebrows, but this selection makes an interesting
punctuation exercise because Kipling used semicolons plus conjunctions
to separate main clauses. (This is typical of many older works, but is
no longer in style.)
This paragraph is an excellent for a study of parallel constructions.