July 7, 2013
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KISS Level 1.8. - Vocabulary and Logic

Notes for Teachers
Abstract and Concrete Words
Ex # 1 - Abstract and Concrete Words
Ex # 2 - Common and Proper Nouns 
Synonyms and Antonyms
Ex # 3 - Synonyms
Ex # 4 - Antonyms
Ex # 5 Fill in the blanks with interesting words.
Ex # 6 - The Logic of Words and Phrases
Word Families: Prefixes, Suffixes, and Roots
Ex # 7 - Suffixes
Ex # 8 - Prefixes
Ex # 9 - Roots
Commonly Misspelled Words
The Logical Patterns of the Parts of Speech
Additional (Old) Exercises
Notes for Teachers

     KISS primarily focuses on sentence structure, but its objective is primarily to improve students' thinking and writing skills. To reach these objectives, words, and particularly the logic of words, cannot be ignored. You'll note that many of these exercises are also (or will be) included in the "Practice/Application" booklets.

     The first exercise in each sequence is on "Abstract and Concrete" words. As usual, most textbooks teach category names rather than how to think. Thus many textbooks, when they do deal with "abstract" and "concrete," usually suggest that words belong in one category or the other. But that is not true. Think about the following list:

thing
animal
mammal
cat
house cat
Mysha
"Thing" may well be the most abstract word in our language. Everything else in the list can be considered a "thing." But not everything is an animal, so "animal" is more concrete than is "thing." And not all animals are "mammals," nor are all mammals "cats." The group "cats" includes lions and tigers, but lions and tigers are excluded in the more concrete category of "house cats." When we get to "Mysha" (I'll bet you guessed that "Mysha" is a cat.), we have a word that is as concrete as a word can be. "Mysha" is (was) the name of our beloved cat.
     The first thing we need to note here is that "abstract/concrete" is a continuum, not a set of two boxes into which words can simply be put. And an understanding of this continuum is very important for writers. Student writers in particular tend to write with words at the top of the continuum. Teachers frequently push students to include more details or examples, but what is a detail or an example if it is not a statement about something specific, or, in other words, more "concrete"? The student who writes that he "likes animals" hasn't really said anything at all. He needs to move down the continuum to give some specific examples. The examples, in turn, evoke questions about why? (Why does he like dogs and not cats?) 
     Some people have complained that students who "write more" almost automatically get better grades. They think that this is unfair. In some cases it might be, but frequently the student who writes more is demonstrating command of the abstract/concrete continuum. He or she realizes that to say anything meaningful, one has to give specific examples. The continuum, however, raises still another very important question for writers. If one becomes too concrete ("Mysha"?), readers may not understand what one is writing about. Thus an understanding of the continuum helps writers think about the level of the examples that they need to interest their readers.
      Still another reason for including exercises on abstract and concrete words is that they are the foundation of the KISS approach to logic.  That approach is based on David Hume's logical categories, the first of which is "identity." How do we identify or define things? Formal definitions begin by placing a word in a category  based on a word in a higher level of its abstract/concrete continuum. For example, "A hammer is a tool that is used by carpenters."
     Ultimately, the abstract/concrete continuum clarifies the distinction between deductive and inductive thought. The failure of many of our elite educators to understand this distinction has led to much abominable (and stupid) teaching. "Don't begin a sentence with 'But'." That is a deductive (abstract) premise (starting point) that has no validity, but millions of students have been taught it. If one uses one's eyes and brain, one will see thousands of "concrete" examples of sentences, by very well-known writers, that begin with "But."

     The second exercise explores the commonly taught distinction between "common" and "proper" nouns. This is a subset of the abstract/concrete continuum. Here again, when they deal with them, most textbooks treat these two categories as a separate topic that includes two distinct boxes. But all "common" are nouns abstract. And "proper" nouns are at the extreme "concrete" end of the abstract/concrete continuum -- they name one specific thing. But many "common" nouns can also denote one specific thing. For example, "dog" is generally considered a common noun, but in the sentence "The little dog barked noisily," "dog" clearly refers to one specific dog. Ultimately, the distinction between "common" and "proper" is clear if we define "proper" as names that are typically capitalized, and "common" as nouns that are not usually capitalized. But in context, common nouns, like proper nouns, can refer to one specific thing.

     The next two exercises, on "Synonyms and Antonyms," are primarily important for vocabulary, but they too have logical implications. Not only can things be somewhat defined by their opposites, but thinking about those opposites begins to raise meaningful questions. In my Freshman literature classes, my students are asked to think about the works we read in terms of literary "conflicts." These conflicts are usually stated as antonyms -- "youth/age," "good/evil." But such antonyms bring us back to abstract/concrete questions: What, more precisely, does "youth" mean in this story? Or what does "evil" mean in Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown"? For those who are not so philosophically or religiously oriented, however, this section simply improves one's vocabulary. Particularly interesting may be the several exercises based on "Tom Swifties." They offer very useable (and some absolutely ridiculous) alternatives for "said."

     The fifth exercise asks students to fill in blanks with interesting words. Originally this was intended to be limited to verbs, but it has been expanded to include adjectives, adverbs, and nouns. The blanks indicate which part of speech should be inserted, so this exercise can also reinforce those concepts. Coming after the exercises on synonyms and antonyms, it may also provide further exploration of these two concepts, especially if students can share their versions with their classmates. (Students are not expected to guess the original words, but rather to make interesting sentences of their own.) The directions also ask students to identify the prepositional phrases and S/V/C patterns, but tell students to ignore these -- unless you feel that your students need more practice.

     Exercises seven, eight and nine are on "Word Families -- prefixes, suffixes, and roots." Where to put these within the KISS framework is a problem. KISS is primarily concerned with syntax, the part of grammar that concerns sentence structure. Word families, on the other hand, are the subject of two other areas of linguistics -- phonology and morphology --the studies of the sound structures and intra-word meaning units of language. Whereas the primary KISS premise is that students need to master basic sentence constructions before they can understand more complicated ones, the study of word families needs no such sequential structure. Prefixes, suffixes, and roots can be studied in any sequence, in dozens of different ways.
     Why, then, are word-families included in the KISS sequence? For one, vocabulary is important. But from the KISS perspective even more important is that word families teach students how to change words from one part of speech to another. Consider, for example, the difference between:

My explanation is different from yours.
My explanation differs from yours.
The first sentence has a weak verb. In the second, the predicate adjective has been changed into the verb. Simply put, a bigger vocabulary and the ability  to manipulate words have a major affect on students' ability to manipulate sentence structure.
     That still leaves the problem of fitting word-families into the KISS sequence. In essence, KISS offers these exercises primarily as a reminder of their importance. Level 1.8 includes eleven exercises on suffixes, one on prefixes, and one on roots. There are eleven exercises on suffixes because suffixes change the functions of words, for example from verb ("create") to noun ("creation"). As a result, suffixes help students recognize the part of speech of many words. The eleven exercises present students with various suffixes that create nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs. 
     The "Practice/Application" booklets each include three exercises on suffixes, prefixes, and roots. After students do KISS Level 1.8, the KISS booklets thus provide students with only three exercises a year. They should probably do many more than that. There are, I should note, many other web sites that include instructional material and exercises on this topic. And, if you are interested, I have included my original (adapted) version of the exercises from Sadlier. [Click here to get it.]
     For now, most of the exercises are used across all grade levels. This will probably pose a vocabulary problem for third and fourth graders, so these exercises may be revised in the future. Currently, I need to get back to the basic KISS exercises.

     The last exercise on "The Logical Patterns of the Parts of Speech" is Lewis Carroll's famous "Jabberwocky." This classic selection is Exercise # 8 in Practice/Application for Level 2 for each complete grade-level book.
Abstract/Concrete Words
[Derivation of SomeAbstract Nouns]

Ex # 1 - Abstract/Concrete (in Level 1.8)
Instructional Material Notes for Teachers
Abstract and Concrete Words (and Phrases)  - Wonder # 1 AK ToC G3; IG3

 
Abstract and Concrete Words (and Phrases)  - Wonder # 2 AK ToC G4; IG1

 
Abstract and Concrete Words (and Phrases)  - Wonder # 3 - ToC G5
Abstract and Concrete Words (and Phrases)  - Wonder # 4 - ToC G6
Abstract and Concrete Words (and Phrases)  - Wonder # 5 AK ToC G7
Abstract and Concrete Words (and Phrases)  - Wonder # 6 AK ToC G9
Abstract and Concrete Words -
Exercises That Were Dropped
Abstract ? Concrete Nouns (Maxwell L1-01-04) ToC -
Abstract ? Concrete Nouns (Maxwell L1-01-05) ToC -
Abstract and Concrete Words (Maxwell L1-01-09) ToC -
Abstract and Concrete Words (Maxwell L1-01-10) ToC -
Abstract Nouns (Maxwell L1-07-02) ToC -
* Abstract and Concrete Words ToC -
* Abstract and Concrete Words and Phrases ToC -
* Abstract and Concrete Words and Phrases ToC -
* Abstract and Concrete Words and Phrases ToC -
* Abstract and Concrete Words and Phrases ToC -
Ex # 2 - Common and Proper Nouns (in Level 1.8)
[IM - Common and Proper Nouns (Maxwell)]
Common and Proper Nouns (Maxwell L1-01-12) ToC G3
Common and Proper Nouns (Maxwell L1-01-11) ToC G4; IG3
Adapted from Voyages in English (#3) ToC G6; IG1
Adapted from Voyages in English (#4) ToC G9
Adapted from Voyages in English (#1) ToC -
Adapted from Voyages in English (#2) ToC -
Ex # 3 and 4 - Synonyms and Antonyms
* Synonyms and Antonyms of Adjectives (Sadlier) ToC -
Ex # 3 Synonyms (in Level 1.8)
Vocabulary - Synonyms ToC G3: IG1
From "Jack and His Golden Box" Text ToC G4
Vocabulary - Synonyms ToC G6
Vocabulary - Synonyms ToC G9
Synonyms (in Sentences)  [Child-Story Readers #1] ToC -
Synonyms (in Sentences)  [Child-Story Readers #2] ToC -
Synonyms (Matching) [From Voyages in English] ToC -
* Adapted from Beveridge, English for Use ToC -
Adapted from Voyages in English (Sentences #1) ToC -
Adapted from Voyages in English (Sentences #2) ToC -
Adapted from Voyages in English (Sentences #3) ToC -
Tom Swifties - Alternatives for "Said" - Ex # 1 AK ToC -
Tom Swifties - Alternatives to "Said" # 3 AK ToC -
Tom Swifties - Alternatives to "Said" # 4 AK ToC -
Alternatives to "Said" - Tom Swifties, Ex # 5 AK ToC -
Tom Swifties - Alternatives to "Said" Ex # 2 AK ToC -
Synonyms for "Went" (Adapted from English for Use) ToC -
Vocabulary - Synonyms (and Antonyms) ToC -
Ex # 4 Antonyms (in Level 1.8)
Adapted from Voyages in English (#2) ToC G3
Antonyms (Child-Story Readers) ToC G4; IG1
Antonyms (Matching) [From Voyages in English] ToC G6
* Adapted from Beveridge, English for Use ToC  -
Antonyms (and Synonyms) - Child Story # 1 ToC -
Antonyms (and Synonyms) - Child Story # 2 ToC -
Antonyms in Comparison/Contrast Sentences (Voyages # 3) ToC -
Antonyms in Comparison/Contrast Sentences (Voyages # 4) ToC -
Ex # 5 - Fill in the blanks with interesting words.
 Creating Fill-in-the-Blanks Exercises
See also Level 1.1, Exercise # 8
Ex # 5  FiB with interesting words (in Level 1.8)
From Kittredge's The Mother Tongue (3) ToC IG1
From Kittredge's The Mother Tongue (2) ToC IG3
From Kittredge's The Mother Tongue (4) ToC -
Adapted from Voyages in English (# 1) AK ToC G3
Adapted from Voyages in English (# 2) AK ToC G4
"His Dog Jack," from Kittredge's The Mother Tongue ToC IG4
Adapted from Voyages in English (# 3) AK ToC G6
From St. Peter's Fair, by Ellis Peters AK ToC G9
From Lassie, Come Home, by Eric Knight AK ToC -
"The Fish I Didn't Catch," by Whittier Original AK ToC -
From The Dark Frigate,  by Charles Hawes Original  AK ToC  -
From Rudyard Kipling's "How the Leopard Got His Spots" Original AK ToC -
The opening paragraph of Eudora Welty's "A Worn Path" AK ToC -
Ex # 6 - The Logic of Words and Phrases
* Vocabulary ? Logic - "Where Does Each Belong?" AK ToC G3-11
Word Families -- Prefixes, Suffixes, and Roots
Instructional Material
Additional Exercises from William H. Sadlier's Lessons in English
Ex # 7  Suffixes (in Level 1.8)
7 A - Nouns
* Suffixes That Create Nouns - State of Being (Sadlier) ToC G3-11
7 B - Nouns
* Suffixes That Create Nouns -  People (Sadlier) ToC G3-11
7 C - Nouns
* Suffixes That Create Nouns - Office, Place, Collection (Sadlier) ToC G3-11
7 D - Nouns
* Suffixes That Create Nouns - Art, Science, Practice (Sadlier) ToC G3-11
7 E - Adjectives
* Suffixes That Create Adjectives - Quality (Sadlier #1) ToC G3-11
7 F - Adjectives
* Suffixes That Create Adjectives - Power, Potential (Sadlier #2) ToC G3-11
7 G - Adjectives
* Suffixes That Create Adjectives - Relationship (Sadlier #3) ToC G3-11
7 H - Adjectives
* Suffixes That Create Adjectives - Likeness (Sadlier #4) ToC G3-11
7  I - Verbs
* Suffixes for Making Verbs (Sadlier #1) ToC G3-5
* Suffixes for Making Verbs (Sadlier #2) ToC G6-8
* Suffixes for Making Verbs (Sadlier #3) ToC G9-11
7 J - Verbs
* L1.8 Suffixes for Making Verbs from Nouns and Adjectives (Sadlier) ToC G3-11
7 K - Adverbs
* Suffixes That Create Adverbs (Sadlier # 1) ToC G3-5
* Suffixes That Create Adverbs (Sadlier # 2) ToC G6-8
* Suffixes That Create Adverbs (Sadlier # 3) ToC G9-11
Other Exercises
Suffixes That Form Abstract Nouns (from English for Use) ToC  -
Suffixes - Abstract Nouns (Maxwell L1-07-01) ToC -
Suffixes for Making Verbs from Other Verbs (Sadlier) ToC -
Suffixes- P/A Level 1
* Suffixes That Create Nouns - Diminutives + (Sadlier) ToC -
Suffixes- P/A Level 2
* More Suffixes for Making Verbs (Sadlier) ToC -
Suffixes- P/A Level 3.1
* More Practice with Suffixes (Sadlier #1) ToC -
Suffixes- P/A Level 3.2
* More Practice with Suffixes (Sadlier #2) ToC -
Suffixes- P/A Level 4
Suffixes That Denote the Action or the Thing Done (Sadlier) ToC -
Ex # 8  Prefixes (in Level 1.8)
* Some Common Prefixes -- Re-, Sub-, Sur-, Trans- (Sadlier) ToC G3-11
Prefixes- P/A Level 1
* Anglo-Saxon (English) Prefixes (Sadlier) ToC -
Prefixes- P/A Level 2
* Some Latin Prefixes (Sadlier #1) Notes ToC -
Prefixes- P/A Level 3.1
* Some Latin Prefixes (Sadlier #2) Notes ToC -
Prefixes- P/A Level 3.2
* Some Latin Prefixes (Sadlier #3) Notes ToC -
Prefixes- P/A Level 4
* Some Greek Prefixes (Sadlier) Notes ToC -
Ex # 9 Roots (in Level 1.8)
* Identifying Roots (Sadlier) ToC G3-11
Roots - P/A Level 1
Roots - P/A Level 2
* Word Families (Sadlier L2) ToC -
Roots - P/A Level 3.1
* Word Families (Sadlier L3.1) ToC -
Roots - P/A Level 3.2
* Word Families (Sadlier L3.2) ToC -
Roots - P/A Level 4
* Word Families (Sadlier L4) ToC -

 
 
Commonly Misspelled Words
     For a list and explanation, see; "Commonly Misspelled Words."
"Raise" and "Rise" from Macdonald's At the Back of the North Wind. AK ToC IG4
The Logical Patterns of the Parts of Speech 

 
* "Jabberwocky" AK ToC
Additional Exercises
Writing Sentences with Nouns (Maxwell L1-01-06) - ToC -
Fill in the Blanks with Nouns (Maxwell L1-01-07) - ToC -
Fill in the Blanks with Nouns (Maxwell L1-01-08) - ToC -
Abstract Nouns (Longfellow, “The day is done”) (Maxwell L1-07-03) ToC -