The Printable KISS Grammar Workbooks The KISS Workbooks Anthology

Old-time Stories, Fairy Tales and Myths Retold by Children
By E. Louise Smythe

From All
L1.1 More Practice with Helping Verbs AK IB 1 L1.1
L1.3 Mixed Complements # 1 AK IB 2 L1.3
L1.3 Mixed Complements # 2 AK IB 2 L1.3
L1.4 Compound Subjects and Verbs (#1) AK - L1.4
L1.4 Compound Subjects and Verbs (#2) AK - L1.4
L2.1.1 "You" Understood" AK IG2 L2.1.1
L2.1.2 Varied S/V/C Patterns AK IB 2 L2.1.2
L3.1.1. Compound Main Clauses # 1 AK IG3 L3.1.1
L3.1.1. Compound Main Clauses # 2 AK IG3 L3.1.1
L3.1.2 Adjectival - Rewrite AK G4 L3.1.2

The Little Pine Tree
The Little Match Girl
"Warm-up" for Statistical Stylistics (Level 1 or 2) AK   L6.5
Little Red Riding-hood
The Apples of Idun
How Thor Got the Hammer
The Hammer Lost and Found
The Story of the Sheep
The Good Ship Argo
Jason and the Harpies
The Brass Bulls
Jason and the Dragon
The Ugly Duckling
Simple Subject / Verb Patterns AK G2; IB 2 L 1.3
Identifying Predicate Adjectives AK G2; IB 2 L 1.3
Identifying Predicate Nouns AK G2; IB 2 L 1.3
Identifying Indirect and Direct Objects AK G2; IB 2 L 1.3
Mixed Complements (Passage) AK G2; IB 2 L 1.3

     The passage selected from this version of "The Ugly Duckling" makes an excellent assessment quiz for KISS Level One, and also for Level Two. I have not yet been able to complete a good statistical analysis of the writing of fourth graders, but my sense is that Smythe's version, which according to the subtitle of the book was "retold by" a child, is very close to the average sentence structure produced by many fourth graders today. As an assessment quiz, therefore, the passage should give teachers and parents a fairly good idea of the students' ability to start analyzing their own writing. The analysis keys for levels one and two include notes about what I would expect students to miss, and to get right.

Suggestions for Writing Assignments

1. Have the students retell the story, in writing, in as much detail as they can. Have them write on every other line so that they will have space to analyze their own writing. (You may want to prompt them by giving them a chronological list of the the animals and people the duckling meets -- his brother ? sister ducks, the ducks in the duckyard, the little birds in the bushes, the old woman with the cat and hen, all of the animals at the big pond, and finally the swans.)
     Have the students analyze their own writing (or part of it) by (in pencil) 
a.) placing parentheses around each prepositional phrase, and 
b.) underlining every subject once, every finite verb twice, and by labeling complements. Arrange the students in groups of three or four and have them check each others' work while you circulate to answer any questions. (Do not expect the students to get everything correct, and I suggest that you do not even try to grade what they do. This is an exercise in which they can help each other learn to identify these constructions while simultaneously, and informally, seeing how their writing compares to that of their peers.)

2. This story is an archetypal version of the major literary theme of the "outsider." Have the students write their own stories, either about themselves or someone they know, who felt like an outsider. You may want to have the students (as a group) brainstorm the theme -- in this story, the ugly duckling feels like (and it treated as) an outsider because of this looks. But being an "outsider" may also be the result of the way one talks, of athletic (or academic) abilities, of ethnic differences, of wealth (or poverty), etc.

3. An excellent exercise for the concept of "person" (in pronouns) would be to have the students revise what they wrote in (2) to change what literary critics call "point-of-view." If they used first person ("I," "we," "me," "us," "my," "our," "mine," "ours") have them rewrite by changing each first person pronoun to third person ("he," "she," "they," "him," "her," "them," "his," "their," "theirs," "hers").
     Although this may be a little advanced for fourth graders, you might ask the students to explore the effects of this change in person. Perhaps the best way to do this is to have a few students read both of their versions aloud to the class, and after each student's reading, have the class give their reactions. One of the things that fourth graders might note is that a first person narration of a story like this makes the writer appear to feel sorry for himself; the third person creates more of a sense of caring for other people. Note that, if the students did not write their own versions, you could have them rewrite Smythe's story in first person.

from: A Primary Reader: Old-time Stories, Fairy Tales and Myths Retold by Children
This border is based on a pattern from The Next Step: Stained Glass Stepping Stones ( Copyright Ken Lucke. Used with permission.