The Printable KISS Workbooks KISS Workbooks Anthology
(Code and Color Key)
Notes for
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 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.

1. "How the Whale Got His Throat"
Ex #1 AK - Combining

     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.

2. "How the Camel Got His Hump"
A Subordinate Clauses as a Parenthetical Interjection
Punctuation Original AK G6 L3.2.3 SC_Inj

3. "How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin"
Ex #1 AK G5 L3.1.2 Sub C Mixl

     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?

4. "How the Leopard Got His Spots"
Ex #1 AK FiB - L1.8 Vocabulary FiB

     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. 

5. "The Elephant's Child"
Ex #1 AK G5 L3.1.3 -SC Embed
Ex #2 AK G5: IG5 L3.1.2 -SC Mixed

     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.

6. "The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo"
 Ex #1 AK   IG5 L3.2.1 Ellipsis
 Ex # 2 - A Study of Semicolons Notes G5 L3.1.1 CMC

     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.

7. "The Beginning of the Armadilloes"
 Ex #1 AK -  L6.7
Ex #2 AK G6 L3.1.3 SC Embed

     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.

8. "How the First Letter Was Written"
Ex #1 (62 W) AK G5 L1.5 Prep Phrase

     This is a short, simple exercise. 

9. "How the Alphabet Was Made"
Ex #1 AK G6  L3.1.2

     This is a more challenging exercise.

10. "The Crab That Played with the Sea"
Ex #1 AK G5 L3.1.2 SC Mix

     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.
11. "The Cat That Walked by Himself"
Original AK - L6.1

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.)

12. "The Butterfly That Stamped"
Ex #1 AK G4 +; IG 5; 1YM L3.1.2

This paragraph is an excellent for a study of parallel constructions.