Winter Grammar Intensive: Grammar Matters I and II --
A Systematic Study
These traditional grammar courses are open to students in grades 6-12. Grammar I is designed for students who need to master the basics of grammar. Grammar II is designed for students who need a review of grammar basics but are ready to learn more. They are "intensives" because they cover an entire semester's worth of material within just a few weeks, so that students can then turn their focus to practicing the concepts in their writing. The courses are designed for busy students who want to master English grammar but who also need a minimal impact on their overall curriculum.
Both classes will move quickly and will have a medium-heavy assignment requirement. Following each lesson, students will practice the lesson concept and then will practice all the concepts learned thus far by completing a six-level parsing exercise. In this way, students move toward mastery more quickly, because they are constantly practicing everything they've learned. I will take students as far as they are able to go, so our scope-and-sequence will partly depend on them.
That said, mastery of English grammar does not happen in just a few weeks, no more than the mastery of math does. To facilitate students' mastery, I provide 12 additional weeks of once-weekly parsing exercises after they leave the program. These are not teacher-led; students receive the exercises and an answer key only. They can, however, continue to email me with questions about the exercises at no extra charge.
The courses will attempt to cover all of the following concepts:
GRAMMAR MATTERS I:
* sentence vs. fragment
* comma splices and run-ons
* the eight parts of speech
* subject and predicate (complete and simple; single only)
* noun, verb, and prepositional phrases
* two types of complements -- predicate nominative and predicate adjectives
* the four types of sentences
* independent clause
* two sentence structures -- simple and compound sentences
GRAMMAR MATTERS II:
* review of beginning concepts
* compound subject and predicate
* participial and gerund phrases
* remaining types of complements: direct and indirect objects
* subordinate (restrictive and non-restrictive) clauses
* remaining types of sentence structures--complex and compound-complex
* sentence combining
* simple diagramming
If time allows in either course, we will also study mechanics and/or usage according to student needs. If time does not allow, students may choose to work through the mechanics and usage chapters independently. They may receive grading and feedback for an additional fee (see registration page). These lessons will include the following:
* semi-colons and colons
* parentheses and dashes
Textbook: Warriner's English Grammar and Composition: First Course
The original Warriner's textbook series is one of the most highly-respected grammar programs ever published. I have not found another contemporary grammar textbook to match its thoroughness and coherence. Because this textbook is out of print, however, our use of it requires me to rent copies to students only. Parents who would like to own a copy will need to contact me for the exact edition and then search for it themselves.
Technical requirements: webcam, microphone, and the following Google apps: Gmail, Hangout, Drive, and Classroom; scanner or camera for diagramming assignments (if possible)
Registration fee (non-refundable): $20
Book rental: $15 ($5 shipping/handling + $10 refundable deposit) -- Note: The deposit will be refunded once the book is returned. Parents who choose to purchase their books will need to contact me for the ISBN# and vendor options.
Dates: Because this class requires only a two-student minimum, I will set the dates based on the preferences of the first two students to register and then post them online for additional registrants to join. Students may choose between the following general schedules:
* 4-weeks, 4 days per week, 1 hour/day (Mon.-Fri. only)
* 6-weeks, 3 days per week, 50 minutes/day (Mon.-Fri. only)
- All sessions must begin between 4:00-8:00 p.m. Mountain time, regardless of the dates set.
- If a class session needs to be cancelled for any reason, makeup days will be offered.
- Important: Classes cannot be recorded. Students who miss a class will need to catch up through self-study.
HOW TO REGISTER: Fill in the Google form on the registration page. A tuition invoice will be emailed to you once your registration is confirmed. Please read the "Special Notes" at the bottom of this page before you register.
MORE ABOUT GRAMMAR MATTERS:
Grammar is the "math" of language, a logical system of words and concepts that make communication possible. Once upon a time, formal grammar study was an important component of English courses in the United States. Today, however, many educators have left formal grammar behind, integrating instruction into their courses as needed or teaching concepts through application only. They widely believe that formal grammar is too abstract to be of much practical use and that it doesn't help produce better writers.
Having seen the disappointing fruit of this philosophy, I disagree with the prevailing viewpoint. On the contrary, I believe that formal grammar instruction is an important part of a comprehensive writing program. Although it is true that grammar study does not produce better writing as far as content and structure go, it becomes very important in the editing and proofreading stages of a project. The more that writers understand their language and its conventions, the more power and control they have over their writing. They are able to spot even subtle grammar mistakes and know how to fix them; they understand how to use correct punctuation to convey the exact meaning they intend; they have a better understanding of how to craft sentences that flow smoothly and fit necessary parameters; and they develop a sense of style that will serve them well in everything they write.
The Denim Beret grammar courses progress in the following order:
* basic grammar
- All students and/or parents must agree to sign up for and use a Gmail account, and all students must have a working webcam and microphone. Classes will be conducted via Google Hangout with both audio and video.
- While large online programs have access to state-of-the-art virtual classroom software, The Denim Beret does not. It is a very small business and must necessarily operate as simply as possible. Please understand that I cannot be held responsible for technical difficulties with Google services. I have had very few problems with Hangout video chat in the past; however, if a student cannot participate in a video call due to technical difficulties, I will try to modify the lesson for the student. After two instances of a student not being able to participate due to technical difficulties, families will have the option of doing an independent study instead or receiving a pro-rated refund.