Pennington Publishing Eight On Demand Essays
Mechanics Quiz for Teachers
See how much you know about mechanics (commas, capitalization, quotation marks, colons, apostrophes, semicolons, punctuation, etc.) by taking the 10 Question Mechanics Quiz for Teachers. Don’t worry; I’ll dispense with the usual “If you score 9 or 10 out of 10, you are…” Let’s keep things fun! Take out a pen and some scratch paper. Number from 1‒10.
I selected quiz items from the grades 4‒8 Common Core Anchor Standards for Language.
Common Core Anchor Standards for Language
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
Note: The Common Core authors call these components language conventions (along with Standard 1 grammar). Helpful links follow each question if you want to learn explore the grammatical topics.
The answers to the multiple-choice questions follow my promotional materials to ensure that you glance at my grammar and mechanics programs. Okay, so you’re probably not going to get all of these answers correct. I’m sure it’s just the way I’ve phrased the questions and/or answers. I would be happy to explain any of the distractors. Comments are welcomed (not welcome).
Mechanics Quiz for Teachers
1. According to the serial (Oxford) comma rule, which sentence is incorrectly punctuated?
A. Rafael, Louis and Tom met Luisa and Pablo at the coffee shop.
B. Choose the desk, table, or the huge, ugly chair for your apartment.
C. The bright morning sky, cool breeze, and warm company improved my mood.
D. I like most breeds of small dogs, but prefer cats, birds, and hamsters as pets.
2. According to compound sentence comma rules, which sentence is correctly punctuated?
A. Do you want donuts, or would you prefer scones?
B. Although frequently attacked by her critics, Alyssa continued to press for change.
C. I met Allen and we biked through the park.
D. The teacher was available from noon until three yet neither Jesse, nor Holly, wanted help.
3. According to introductory phrase comma rules, which sentence is incorrectly punctuated?
A. Through snow and sleet the postal carrier slogged the mail to our houses.
B. Compared to Mike, Huang, and Emily, the other students were quite prepared.
C. Tall and tan, the young man bore a striking resemblance to the actor.
D. Under my bed, I hid my baseball card collection.
4. According to dependent (subordinate) clause comma rules, which sentence is correctly punctuated?
A. Whichever you choose, is fine with me. B. Since you left, he has never been the same though he has received constant care.
C. I still received excellent service in spite of the delays. D. Even though, she was ready on time, Suzanne still missed the appointment.
5. According to proper noun capitalization rules, which sentence is incorrectly punctuated?
A. Marvin “The Shark” Bentley had been brought up on racketeering charges by the District Attorney.
B. He was interrogated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation twice during the Cold War.
C. The U.S. Constitution specifies “High Crimes And Misdemeanors” as grounds for impeachment in Article 1, Section 2, Clause 5.
D. I saw the President of the United States speak at the Capitol on the Fourth of July.
6. According to abbreviation and acronym rules, which sentence is correctly punctuated?
A. David has worked outside of the U.S. in many foreign countries, but he now works for NASA.
B. Ms. Jennifer Jenkins, MD, went AWOL from Dr. Master’s practice.
C. Ikeda awoke to the screaming alarm at 6:00 A.M.
D. She earned her MA in Curriculum Development at U.C.L.A.
7. According to quotation rules, which sentence is incorrectly punctuated?
A. I want to read the final chapter, “Return of the King,” before I go to sleep.
B. In The Declaration of Independence, did Jefferson say “…all men are created equal?”
C. He asked, “What did Dr. King mean in the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech by the phrase ‘free at last’?”
D. “Blowin’ in the Wind” was released on the 1963 album, Freewillin’ Bob Dylan.
8. According to apostrophe rules, which sentence is correctly punctuated?
A. The wives’ dinner at the Jones’ place, followed by dessert at the Martins, showed off the women’s best recipes.
B. Bob and Jolene’s recipe was more popular than her’s.
C. Ethan and Mary’s reactions to the business proposal were quite different.
D. Charles’ books were found on the bookshelves at the Sanchez’s.
9. According to semicolon rules, which sentence is incorrectly punctuated?
A. All their work was wasted; the fund was depleted; and they had no future prospects.
B. Desmond asked for more than his fair share; Mark wondered why the paint would not dry.
C. She did absolutely none of the work; I did it all.
D. Dexter spent time in Chico and Redding in Northern California; El Cajon and San Diego in Southern California; and Visalia and Merced in Central California.
10. According to colon rules, which sentence is correctly punctuated?
A. His list of accomplishments include: a marathon time of 4:25:34, a key to the city, and a blue ribbon at the Alabama State Fair.
B. I loved listening to “The Great Adventure: Landing on the Moon” on my new phone.
C. The politician outlined three goals: A tax on steel imports, a single-payer health care system, and a higher minimum wage.
D. A whale is not a fish: nor is it a crustacean.
Want to take the 10 Question Grammar Quiz for Teachers? Check it out after you self-correct your mechanics quiz.
Teaching Grammar and Mechanics
I’m Mark Pennington, author of the full-year interactive grammar notebooks, grammar literacy centers, and the traditional grade-level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and high school Teaching Grammar and Mechanicsprograms.Teaching Grammar and Mechanics includes 56 (64 for high school) interactive language conventions lessons, designed for twice-per-week direct instruction in the grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics standards. The scripted lessons (perfect for the grammatically-challenged teacher) are formatted for classroom projection. Standards review, definitions and examples, practice and error analysis, simple sentence diagrams, mentor texts with writing applications, and formative assessments are woven into every 25-minute lesson.
Biweekly grammar, usage, and mechanics unit tests require students to define, identify, and apply their knowledge of these Language Standards in the writing context.
Plus, get the Diagnostic Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Assessments with corresponding worksheets to help students catch up, while they keep up with grade-level, Standards aligned instruction.
- A 2. C 3. D 4. C 5. C 6. A 7. B 8. A 9. B 10. B
Grammar/Mechanics, Spelling/Vocabulary, Study Skills, Writingabbreviations, acronyms, adjectives, adverbial clauses, adverbs, apostrophes, appositives, capitalization, colons, commas, Common Core Grammar, Common Core knowledge of use, Common Core language conventions, Common Core literacy standards, Common Core mechanics, Common Core Reading Standards, Common Core Spelling, common core spelling standards, Common Core vocabulary acquisition and use, Common Core vocabulary standards, Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit, common core writing standards, common nouns, comparative modifiers, complete sentences, complex sentences compound subjects, compound predicates, compound sentences, conjunctions, contractions, conventions, coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions, declarative sentences, dependent clauses, diagnostic assessments, differentiate instruction, direct object, direct quotations, exclamation points, exclamatory sentences, fifth grade, formative assessments, fourth grade, fragments, future participle, future perfect tense, future tense, grammar tests, helping verbs, imperative sentences, independent clauses, indirect object, indirect quotations, interjections, intermediate, interrogative sentences, intervention, intransitive verbs, Language Conventions, linking verbs, mechanics, middle school, modifiers, mood, nominative case, nouns, parentheses, participle, parts of speech, past participle, past perfect tense, past tense, perfect tense, phrases, plural possessives, possessives, predicate, prepositional phrases, prepositions, present participle, present tense, pronoun antecedents, pronouns, proper nouns, punctuation, questions, quotation marks, remediation, run-ons, schoolhouse rock, semi-colons, semicolons, seventh grade, single subject, sixth grade, speaker tags, standardized tests, subject, subject case, subjunctive conjunctions, superlative modifiers, teachers, Teaching Grammar and Mechanics, test preparation, The Pennington Manual of Style, verbs, voice, worksheets
Writing research has shown that one key ingredient to writing success is time. Developing writers need time to learn the writing craft, time to research/brainstorm, time to draft, and time to revise. However, ironically, time may in-it-of-itself be the greatest impediment standing in the way of writing profiency and fluency for many of our students.
Since the return of phonics-based reading instruction in the 1990s, elementary teachers have had to allocate more instructional time to direct instruction. With greater diversity in most states, more pressure to differentiate instruction in reading has compounded the problem of instructional minutes at all grade levels. Science, art, social studies, physical education, music, and writing have become the casualties of this time-theft.
The advent of timed writings on high stakes tests, such as the new SAT 1, high school exit exams, and standards-based writing assessments, has placed teachers in the difficult position of choosing among three instructional approaches to help students both learn to write and succeed on these tests with no additional time allocated for writing instruction. The three approaches are 1. process writing 2. on demand writing and 3. a mix of the two.
Advocates of the process writing approach (Six Traits, National Writing Project, Writers Workshop, etc.) argue that frequent practice in all phases of the writing process i.e., research/brainstorming, drafting, revision, editing, and publishing best helps writers develop writing fluency and proficiency. Advocates of the on demand approach argue that the above components can be streamlined into an integrated process, which teaches the writer to concurrently multi-task the drafting, revision, and editing steps with the quick bookends of planning and proofreading. Those teachers trying to please both masters have limited their process pieces and upped the amount of on demand writing tasks when the standardized writing test looms on the horizon.
Process writing proponents tend to teach grammar and mechanics (punctuation, capitalization, and spelling) incidentally throughout the writing process or via targeted mini-lessons. On demand proponents tend to teach grammar and mechanics explicitly through an established instructional scope and sequence. Those who try to combine process and on demand writing wind up relegating most grammatical and mechanics instruction to test preparation out of sheer time constraints.
A brief readers theater (tongue firmly planted in cheek) may help teachers of all writing approaches greater appreciate the challenge of teaching writing today.
Narrator: Here is a familiar scene in the teachers’ workroom. Two teachers kill time while waiting in line for the laminating machine. Their subject of discourse: an ongoing discussion of Process Writing versus On Demand Writing.
Teacher 1: I can’t believe that Mildred accidentally threw out my Writing Process charts when she rotated off-track. I’ve got to get new ones laminated and back on the wall. I’m lost without them!
Teacher 2: Are you still using those dumb charts? I thought that you must have dumped them by now. The Writing Process is “old school.” We dropped that with whole language years ago. Get with the program! It’s On Demand Writing, now. Oh by the way, I put back your Lucy McCormick Calkins book in your box; I have enough paperweights for my desk, thank you.
Teacher 1: You and your on demand writing tasks… You’re not teaching—all you are really doing is testing. Are you still passing out those grammar worksheets for homework? Remember, the research about writing says—
Teacher 2: Don’t give me that research stuff—I know what works for my kids. My language expression scores on the state test were much higher than yours. You’re lucky you’ve got tenure.
Teacher 1: Even when I didn’t, I never kissed the principal’s butt like you do. And I don’t teach to the test, like you do. My kids are learning how to think. They are writing to learn. Who cares if they know their subjects and predicates!
Teacher 2: Kids are going to have to spell, punctuate, capitalize, and use grammar correctly if they want to make it in today’s world. They’ve still got to be able to write in those blue books in college for a timed one-hour exam. They can’t just pick their own writing subject and do multiple drafts for a mid-term. You really need to get a Red Bull® and wake up to the real world.
Teacher 1: In the real world, students need to have the brains to say something. Outside of school, people have time to revise and edit. They have the time to be reflective. That’s what real authors do… They don’t have someone forcing them to write to a contrived prompt and then hovering over them with a stupid yellow timer.
Teacher 2: Now, you’re getting personal. My aunt gave me that yellow timer… Who writes your paycheck? Last I checked it was the school district. All our principal cares about is higher test scores. If you can’t show it, they don’t know it!
Teacher 1: That’s not why I got into teaching. I want to develop the whole child and nurture a love for learning. I just completed a trimester-long unit on the Haiku and its place in Japanese society…You should come in and see our published poems on the wall. We used real 24 carat gold to highlight—
Teacher 2: I bet I could find some punctuation mistakes—you with your peer editing groups. Talk about the “blind leading the blind.” I have students write one paragraph each day in indelible ink—no changes. I time them and have their desk partners count how many words the student has written in the 10 minutes. It sure saves a lot of teacher grading time. All I have to do is record the number of words in my grade book program. I can show you huge gains in words per minute.
Find essay strategy worksheets, writing fluencies, sentence revision activities, remedial writing lessons, posters, and editing resources to differentiate essay writing instruction in Teaching Essay Strategies.
Teaching Essay Strategies
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