Category Archives: Language Arts

Journal Prompts Part 1

Narrative: writing in which the author tells a story, fact or fiction

  1. A flying saucer flies over head … tell the story.
  2. You were abducted by aliens before school.  Write a letter to your family on Earth.
  3. Create a story whose last lines will be as follows:  “The blue English-styled public phone booth faded eerily from site.  I knew that I was right all along.” Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under General, Language Arts

Studying the Crucible

I chose The Crucible by Arthur Miller (Penguin Classics) for our first play this year.

This particular print has a wonderful introduction and in short form addresses the academic historical differences from the play itself.  During the reading, the stage is descriptively set and the character reactions are described in such a manner that you can visualize the image of the stage and interactions.  The relationships develop quite well with the added text (added in italics throughout the character’s speaking part).

While reading just the text would serve well, literature is something that should be analyzed.  I found many wonderful resources along the way:

The Crucible Study Guide (PDF)

Spark Notes:  The Crucible

GradeSaver: The Crucible Study Guide

This link offers quizzes and examples of essays as well as the study guide.  I used it to compile my own reading quizzes.  I printed many of the essays for demonstrative purpose. At the point that we will be reading this play in our home, we will be studying literary analysis and literary elements.  There is a biography of the author too.  Activities and lesson plans are available here.

NovelGuide:  The Crucible

The resources found here that I used were the Character Profiles, Theme Analysis, and Metaphor Analysis.  I made it point to ensure that many of the points were documented.  I created a worksheet for some of the characters in the play and required my student to document or prove the trait with text reference and/or text summary. Study Guide Contents

I found a plethora of relevant material such as literary elements, more literary analysis, study questions, and a well written comment on the study of literature.  Many of the points of the comment section I included in my discussions while studying this selection.  There is a downloadable version of the study guide available (not free).

All in all, I did a few more searches and found a few more resources.  Once I gathered my resources, I made my own study guide.  I printed, stapled, and added to the weekly folders.  In about two to four weeks I believe this study and its paper will be concluded.  We will move on to our Progeny Press selection.

While this is considered primarily 10th or 11th grade content, I have a difficult time keeping my seventh grader on grade.  Language Arts is at high school level and history will follow next year.  I think it is time to just skip a grade entirely and call it high school, but then again, I can just send her to college for dual credit in the eleventh year!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Language Arts, Literature

Cupcake Contractions

I was running about the internet looking for a list of contractions.  I found a list.  Yet, thanks to a recent reader, I stumbled upon a Pinterest link for “Cupcake Contractions”.  I could not find any to print.  The cupcakes were beautiful.  I needed something simple and printable.  I made my own, as is often the case.

This is a Cupcake Contraction.

The frosting is the best part of the cupcake.  Just ask any kid.  The contraction is written in the frosting.  It is the favorite way that we will write these words.  The foundation for the cupcake is the cake bottom.  The foundation for the contraction is thus listed on the bottom of the cupcake.  The bottom is from where the contraction originates.

What do the pages look like?  They are all different colors.  I grouped the contractions as logically as possible.  For example, the “he” or the “she” are on different colored cupcakes.

Sample Page from Cupcake Contractions

Directions: Download the PDF.  Print the pages onto sturdy heavyweight cardstock.  Cut out each cupcake.  Cut each cupcake into a top and a bottom.

The two parts:



Proceed like you would for any matching game.  Mix up the pieces and put the cupcakes back together.

The more advanced contractions will be available soon!

For now, enjoy the more than 50 Cupcake Contractions that are ready now!

Download Cupcake Contractions

Remember, you can divide the cupcakes and add to your Memory Organizers.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Language Arts, Resources

Let’s Study Poetry

April is National Poetry Month


While visiting their site, I found quite a few ingenious ways to begin incorporating poetry into our lives!  Look here.

Oh dear, there are quite a number of ways to study poetry.  I have decided that I will not “teach” poetry.  I feel that there is a very distinct difference from studying or experiencing poetry versus teaching poetry.

I want to develop a love and appreciation for this type of writing, and not just the elements and semantics.  Come with me and see what I have been considering and investigating!

How can I do this?

Maybe …

  1. Pick a favorite poet.
  2. Read this poet’s works for several weeks.
  3. Copy the poems into a notebook.  I prefer copywork myself; however, you could choose select passages or sentences for dictation.
  4. Read a biography about the poet and summarize in the poetry journal.
  5. Practice reading the poem aloud and recite formally.
  6. Narrate or summarize the poem.

This is a straightforward approach that is very simple.

I like that this is a read-and-enjoy method.

Poetry | Simply Charlotte Mason

The Charlotte Mason Approach to Poetry | Homeschool World

And perhaps…

I could use a more formal resource like Simply Poetry.    The selections are made.  It is in a format that can be downloaded and/or printed.  I like the new vocabulary defined and discussion questions.  There are actual “things” to do with the poem.  It is still very friendly, but extends to cover more of the things that you would expect from studying poetry, such as looking at the elements and content in association with their meaning or intent.  On the surface, it has been designed and influenced by Charlotte Mason, but with the classical expectations incorporated.

The selections are age appropriate.  This is a great first step.  Perhaps the most important step.  The careful selection of poetry that could be beyond my student would be a daunting task.  The discussion questions would help to create an element of comfort when reading and discussing the selection.

I do not think that too many of us would be able to sit with a poem and be able to expound on the content, style, meaning, beauty, passion, and intent with ease.  This is not something that was taught in a mainstream education.  Most of my own poetry exposure was not much more than the briefest glimpse of this form of writing coupled with rote memorization for a quiz or test.  I did not enjoy the poetry for what it was either.  Being the avid blog reader that I am, I was reading on The Charlotte Mason Girl many of the same sentiments.  I cannot admonish this type of learning, but I do not think that I need to implement it just because it was how I was taught – and “being taught” is what I am trying to avoid, or feel that I should avoid.

And, just in case…

I debate with myself constantly on whether or not an informal approach, such as that proposed by Charlotte Mason, would serve in our best interests.  Undoubtedly, the freedom is what is worth the consideration.  However, how do I present rhythm, assonance, alliteration, or any of the other numerous elements and styles without instruction?

Simply Poetry does provide this type of instruction in a very informal manner.  Can I be secure in this fact?  I really need to see these books!

Recently, I looked at the Poetics Program that was created by Michael Clay Thompson.  It appears very structured, but worth my interest.  I can see where it could serve me well in the later years.  I wish to be much more relaxed at this point.  This just seems so ….” textie bookie” for me.  However, that is exactly where I will be going with the educational adventure come the high school years.  I suppose that this type of guided approach is not so bad.  It can’t be bad and loved by many.

I just really like the freedom to learn over the confines of being taught.

As well, The Art of Poetry at Classical Academic Express seems to be a guided approach to the study of poetry, but it would fit well into my endeavor to explore and learn about poetry versus being taught about poetry.  The blurb does suggest middle through high school for the primal range of use.  I think this book coupled with the more CM-styled approach first mentioned would accent each other well.

However, with poetry not being a focus other than for historical reading, i.e. The Star-Spangled Banner, we would more than likely drown with such a focus or study of a selection.  So, I have noted this wonderful resource, and I will wait patiently for the time in which it can serve its purpose well.

Finally …

I believe that the informal approach with the aid of Simply Poetry will work well at this time.  I plan to review the books and their contents and decide on a starting level soon.  Until then, I will begin by going to the library and asking “little fish” to choose an anthology and begin building her poetry journal.

I have been looking at some additional resources too.  I love the “Best” books, Best Poems.

Daily Warm-ups, which are reproducible, are great little books packed with a punch.  I could not believe it when I found the Poetry book.  If you want to keep things short and sweet, the Daily Warm-up with 180 pages should provide you with enough writing prompts, instruction, and exposure to make sure that poetry is covered significantly without eating away at your instructional time.  On average, the lessons usually take about 10 to 15 minutes.

Let me know what you find!

I would be most appreciative if you would, in fact, share your own resources.



Free Poetry Unit

Grammar of Poetry

Classical Writing, Poetry for Beginners

Excellence in Writing

Progeny Press, Introduction to Poetry

Poetry For Children Lapbook  | Homeschool Helper(free)

And, of course, visit CurrClick.  Type “poetry” into the search bar to be overwhelmed with resources!

While poetic narration is not directly applicable, you should read this article:

Poetic Narration Demystified | Charlotte Mason Help

Update:  I found a delightful book that is very similar to Simply Poetry.  While I plan to use Simply Poetry for the remainder of this year and our sixth year, I believe that I will incorporate Jabberwocky: Poetry studies for Junior High.  I had to share this with you.  You can find it at the popular sites such as Living Books Curriculum and Rainbow Resource.


Filed under Language Arts, Lessons, Resources