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An Introduction to KISS Level 3.1
For Parents and Teachers

  
The study of grammar is a science.
The teaching of grammar is an art.
 
     Your primary objective in this level should be to enable your students to identify the most common clauses in English sentences. If, on the way to that objective, you and your students have time, you can have them explore important points of punctuation, logic, and style. I would suggest, however, that most of the most important aspects of punctuation, logic, and style in English sentences involve clauses.
     I first started using the KISS approach in a college course for future teachers. We did not have as much time as most users of KISS will, and thus, when we got to clauses, I gave the students all the basic instructional materials on both main and subordinate clauses. Assignments dealt with identifying the clauses in papers written by college students. In other words, we had no special exercises devoted to noun, adjectival, or adverbial clause. This may actually be the best way to teach students how to identify clauses, but teaching is an art, and teachers know their students much better than I do. Put still differently, here, more than anywhere else in KISS, teachers need to apply their skill to deciding which instructional material and which exercises students should be given in which order.
     Introducing students to compound main clauses first is probably a very good idea. How to introduce students to subordinate clauses, however, raises questions. If you have very little time for KISS, you may want to use just the exercises in "Level 3.1.2 -- MIxed Subordinate Clauses." After that, if time permits, you may want to do just the punctuation, logic, and sentence manipulation exercises under each of the various types of clauses. I strongly suggest that you have students work with  Level 3.1.3 -- Embedded Subordinate Clauses."
     Alternatively, you may want to skip  "Level 3.1.2 -- Mixed Subordinate Clauses," and go directly to "Noun Clauses as Direct Objects." Work your way through the various types of clauses, and then go back and use the "Mixed" section as a review.
     Even if your students are already familiar with it, I strongly suggest you review the KISS Psycholinguistic Model with them. (See the "Printable Books Page.") The model changes the study of grammar into the study of how the human mind processes language, and it also justifies the rules of punctuation.
     

General Reminders:

1. Although the ability to identify constructions is essential, once students have the ability, such exercises may become boring. You may therefore want to modify some of the directions. For example, punctuation exercises often ask students to identify constructions as well as fix the punctuation. You may want to change these to simply fixing and discussing the punctuation. The same is true for some of the exercises on logic.

2. The instructional material in these "complete" books is the same for every Level 3.1 book, regardless of grade-level of the students for whom they are intended. (Format and graphics may change, and as I receive feedback from teachers, some of the explanations may change.) You should at least browse through the relevant "booklets" for the KISS Levels. They include explanations for the nature and sequencing of exercises, as well as comments unusual cases. (Repeating and updating this material in each of the eight "complete" Level 3.1 books does not make sense.)

3. Emphasize the method. 

Special Comments on Some of the Exercises in Level 3.1

     Exercise 9 in Level 3.1.1 involves "Writing Compound Sentences with a Dash, Colon, or Semicolon." It can easily be extended into a writing exercise by asking students to write a paragraph that gives more examples of what is stated in their sentence. For example, one of the examples in that exercise is "My mother likes to go to restaurants; my father prefers home cooking." Because the students will be writing their sentences on their own topics, they should be able to support them with specific examples. Thus the sentence about mother and father could be developed with sentences on why, to which, and when mother likes to go to restaurants, and also by sentences about father's stated preference. This is an excellent writing exercise, and could be used several times during the rest of the year--and every year thereafter. You might even want to have the students save their responses so that later in their education they can go back and look at how their responses have changed over the years.