The IMPACT Epidemic

The use of the word IMPACT is so common these days that few people know that they are using it wrong most of the time. Bloggers, tweeters, media reporters, as well as students, are using the word IMPACT for everything from worldwide political and social issues to describing the effect of a hang nail. This simplified and incorrect use of IMPACT is actually a weak and ineffective way of communicating. The English language is powerful, and using this one word for a wide range of circumstances actually undermines our communication efforts.

How did this happen?

The overuse of the word IMPACT has most likely arisen due to doubt or confusion about how to use the words affect (verb) and effect (noun) because of the pesky, rarely used, and minor form of effect as a verb, which literally means “to bring about or put into effect”.

For example: She effected change in the workplace.

Honestly, who actually says anything like that EVER? This usage is so uncommon that we need not even worry about it. Therefore, one way to strengthen your speech and writing is to scratch that worry off your list and confidently put affect (verb) and effect (noun) back to work again.

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3 Keys to Fitting It All In

One of the most common questions people ask about educating your children is “How do you fit it all in?” There are so many opportunities and topics and subjects to cover throughout the course of a student’s K-12 education, how can anyone possibly cover all the bases?

The question is somewhat a red herring because the truth is, you can’t fit it all in, and you shouldn’t even try. Somewhere along the line, homeschoolers (and other teachers too!) learn that trying to fit in all the possibilities is a short cut to burnout and the quickest way to suck all the love of learning out of your student.

Any sense of accomplishment and success in education, homeschooling or otherwise, is in the basic, foundational approach. In reality there are just 3 key skills that will actually unlock everything else your student will ever need to study.

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Never Stop Learning Giveaway!

 

Welcome to the Never Stop Learning Blog Hop hosted by Some Call It Natural and Mama Chocolate!

There are over 30 blogs in this hop and they all have at least $25 worth of educational materials up for grabs!  After you enter the giveaway here, go to the bottom of the post, and go to all the blogs to enter their giveaways too!

 Win a Writing Basics Email Course for your student!

Learning to write well can be one of the most unpleasant and difficult subjects for some students. Contrary to popular opinion, good writing skills don’t always just come through reading and writing a lot. The truth is reading, writing, spelling, grammar, and punctuation are all located in different parts of the brain. It’s not always easy to get all those neurons to work together!

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Hewitt Lightning Lit: World Lit II Review

Hewitt Homeschooling Resources offers a comprehensive selection of literature courses for grades 7 through 12 called Lightning Literature and Composition. From basic classics like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in American Literature, to British Literature, Shakespeare, and World Literature, Lightning Literature integrates literature, composition, and even an optional geography approach into one program.

Hewitt Homeschooling

As part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was privileged to review Hewitt’s last course, Lightning Literature and Composition: World Literature II: Latin America, Africa, and Asia by Brenda S. Cox. World Lit II is comprised of a Student Guide ($29.95), and a Teacher’s Guide ($2.95), with a selection of books that can be purchased to make a set ($88.93 for both guides and texts) or as individual titles.

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Watering My Dendrites

I have recently discovered one of the best professional development activities this writing teacher could ever pursue – becoming a member of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Review Crew (SHRC). Talk about forcing me to practice what I preach!

I spend the majority of my work hours editing student writing. For the last 10 years, I have consistently tutored around 250 students per year which adds up to over 3000 papers from September through April. Some days when I have piles of papers to process, I can get into a trance-like rhythm and apply proper punctuation without even reading content! Needless to say, those pathways through my brain are deeply entrenched.

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Blog Review Planning Page

Here’s a little worksheet I created to brainstorm and organize my blog review information. If you are a blogger and could use such a thing, download at will and share liberally with others!

All Purpose Blog Review Planning Page (pdf)

(You know the drill: please share this post link, not the pdf link. Thanks! ;-) )

Farewell Fine-Point Friend

Long-favored writing instrument Pilot Hi-Tec C Gel Ink .5mm Brown died mid-sentence May 15, 2012, in Ms. B’s hand as she was making yet another to-do list for her tremendously busy teenagers. Pilot Hi-Tec C .5mm Brown died of common exhaustion after a full life of service at Writing Foundations headquarters. A memorial service was held at the dining room table later that afternoon with Ms. B. and her 13 year old daughter in attendance.

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The Inner Spellist

When I work with high school students in my writing classes, I see tangible improvements in grammar and punctuation usage. I see the ability to compose a paragraph come to life. I also see timed essays worth scores of 5 and 6 but for one thing: spelling errors galore.

Is it common for students to make great strides in grammar, punctuation, and other writing skills but still not be able to spell their way out of a wet paper bag? It certainly is. Spelling occurs in a specific part of the brain. Handwriting has its part, and composing (getting thoughts on paper) has its part. Structuring sentences, choosing words, using punctuation, typing, and so on, each use a different part of the brain. Insisting that the act of writing — complete with proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation — is one big skill that a kid can master simply by writing more is one of the worst forms of educational malpractice out there.

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15 Silly Mistakes

HUGE, but HANDY, infographic…

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The Homophone Game

Here’s something for other writing teachers out there – a homophone game!

This game will work with 1 to however many students you have. One student might keep a tally of how many answers he gets right in a round. Multiple students can compete against each other, or you can use a group elimination approach as I describe below.

I was cleaning out my shelves and ran across Susan Anthony’s Spelling Homophone book and was looking through how I might use it in my classes next year. Some students really struggle with they’re/there/their, to/too/two, and your/you’re/yore, etc. mistakes, so instead of making a bunch of boring worksheet handouts, I thought of a game to play instead.

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