Entries Categorized as 'Language Arts'

Google’s Etymology

December 30, 2013

Google search a word with etymology appended and you get the etymology.

The etymology of "muddle".

The etymology of “muddle”.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. Google's Etymology , Retrieved September 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Abby Stood

September 23, 2013

Abby stood, contemplating.

Abby stood, contemplating.

“On a particularly humid day, Abby stood, seemingly staring at the goat that was munching and crunching on oak leaves right in front of her. But really, she was contemplating the rather large fire-ant hill at her feet.” — by A.R.

So begins a rather curious short story, based on real-life events, in which a student faces a crucial, life-changing decision. Somewhat life changing for her, but rather more life changing for a bunch of ants.

This journal entry precipitated an impromptu language lesson that ended with a semi-official apprentice-sentence assignment.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. Abby Stood, Retrieved September 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Your Fonts can Affect Your Grades

June 26, 2013

Inside Chris Gayomali’s interesting article on, “How typeface influences the way we read and think” is a bit about an undergraduate student who found that the font he used affected the grades he got on his papers. Turns out that some fonts, Georgia for example, are better than others.

Grades vs. Fonts. Image from Gayomali, 2013.

P.S. As the article points out: don’t use Comic Sans.

The Dish

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. Your Fonts can Affect Your Grades, Retrieved September 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Common Errors in English Usage

May 29, 2013

Paul Brians’ excellent reference, Common Errors in English Usage, is available online.

An example:

LOSE/LOOSE

This confusion can easily be avoided if you pronounce the word intended aloud. If it has a voiced Z sound, then it’s “lose.” If it has a hissy S sound, then it’s “loose.” Here are examples of correct usage: “He tends to lose his keys.” “She lets her dog run loose.” Note that when “lose” turns into “losing” it loses its “E.”

Brians, 2008. Common Errors in English Usage

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. Common Errors in English Usage, Retrieved September 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Some Rules for Writing

March 8, 2013

Aerogramme Writers’ Studio has compiled Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling as well as Neil Gaiman’s Eight Rules of Writing.

Both sets of rules focus on the search for perfection, which, like the horizon, you have to learn to deal with the fact that you’ll never reach to your ideal satisfaction.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. Some Rules for Writing, Retrieved September 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Dispensing Poetry

October 12, 2012

William Sieghart does a wonderful question and answer in his Poetry Pharmacy in the Guardian, where he recommends poetry to salve his questioners existential (and not so existential) needs.

For example:

Hi William,

Do you have any poems that clear up a hangover or diarrhoea (preferably both)?

Dr Sieghart’s remedy:

Sounds like you have been living life to the full! Why not congratulate yourself on the good times you enjoyed yesterday rather than being miserable about your today’s predicament? Dryden’s Happy the Man is a good bet:

Not Heaven itself upon the past has power,
But what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.

Another:

It’s a restriction insisted upon by my tenancy – I’m not allowed to keep a dog. I need a poem to help fill the gap left by the absence of a faithful hirsute canine companion. Dr Sieghart, what do you suggest?

Dr Sieghart’s remedy:
I prescribe some of the most famous words in English – ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ by Oscar Hammerstein II. The great consoling line of the title comes after the pain of isolation:

Walk on, through the wind
Walk on, through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2012. Dispensing Poetry, Retrieved September 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Sport Related Poetry Online

October 10, 2012

One of the neat things that came out of the London Olympics is the Winning Words website that collects sports related poetry in text and video form (full video collection here).

The Dish William Sieghart (in The Guardian)

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2012. Sport Related Poetry Online, Retrieved September 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

A Writing Process

October 3, 2012

Sitting around the campfire and telling stories on the Current River.

Writing is a process. There might not be one single, best, process, but breaking the process into steps is often useful for new writers trying to find their voice. The following steps come from my Middle School Montessori Training a few years back. While I’m not teaching language at the moment, I would like to get my students to write up their experience in the thunderstorm on the river using at least parts of this process.

  • Step 1: Collect Seeds
    • Collect ideas for topics to write about. This is why we keep a writer’s journal with us at all times. Anything can be a seed: quotes from books you’ve read; overheard snatches of conversation; ticket stubs; artifacts; rocks; notes about profound experiences (which is what I count the canoe trip in the storm as).
  • Step 2: Develop ideas
    • Take a seed idea and write about it. Write fast, write rough. You can fix it later. Write to surprise yourself.
  • Step 3: First Draft
    • Use the ideas from your rough writing to make a first draft. This does not mean editing the rough writing, in fact, you should probably put away the rough writing and start your draft from scratch.
  • Step 4: Revision (the hardest part)
    • Revision is making the big changes to your writing. Even if you liked your first draft a lot, making big changes helps you see your work in new, interesting ways. Try:
      • Rewrite in a new genre: convert your memoir, for example into a play, or change the perspective from first person to third person.
      • Physically cut and paste your story. Maybe the conclusion actually works better as an introduction? Rearrange your paragraphs, rearrange the sentences in your paragraphs. See what works and what does not.
      • Read out loud, or have someone read to you. As you read you can rearrange the paragraphs (read the last paragraph first, for example).
  • Step 5: Edit
    • Now that you have a draft that you like, edit it for spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization etc.
  • Step 6: Polish and Publish
    • Make your story look pretty. Format your text how you want it, or how it needs to be in your word processing program. Remember, simpler is better. Fancy fonts and colors tend to distract from your story.
    • Remember that there’s no final version of your story. Writers are always making changes (or wanting to make changes). You can always make changes and, if you don’t like them, revert to the original.

Notes

As an example of how revision can change a story, I have my two versions of our thunderstorm adventure here and here. They’re aimed at different audiences, but you can see that they came from the same source.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2012. A Writing Process, Retrieved September 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Creative Commons License
Montessori Muddle by Montessori Muddle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.