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July 7 - E-texts as Worktexts - Grammar and Writing In Johnny Crow's Garden

Using our PIY version of In Johnny Crow's Garden as a worktext to teach grammar and inspire writing and creativity.

We've often thought to ourselves, why can't we use a living book as a textbook to teach and reinforce simple grammar lessons?

We teach our children to read carefully and tell back what they have learned in some form - oral, written, drawn, fill-in the blanks, etc.  But grammar has always been a bit of a winding road to teach well but still be faithful to a more relaxed living book learning style.  We want to make sure we cover the basics but not every child responds well to the same approach.  So about 2 years we began creating PIY versions of books and said to ourselves, why don't we just highlight the examples right in the book?  The book is already providing good examples, why reinvent the wheel?  Using home printed versions of books allows the children to use them, mark in them, love on them, and then, if desired, recycle them.  So here is our first attempt to share our idea with other homeschoolers.  It really does work as a teaching tool.  It is very out of the box, we know, but different is good - at least in our homeschool.

BTW - Before you gasp at the thought of marking in a book, our children have never tried to write in our proper, store bought books as they can tell the difference and we established that right in the very beginning.

To use this PIY book as a text, follow these simple steps:
  1. Select what grammar concepts you would like to highlight. 
  2. Assign concepts different individual colours or shades of colours. (4 shades of green for verbs)
  3. Present or review concepts as needed.  Keep this simple and use a black board or white board or reference sheet to help children along.
  4. Our blackboard reference sample
  5. Have children circle concept examples with appropriate coloured crayons or coloured pencils as they occur in the text. 
To give you a few ideas of what we mean, Johnny Crow lends itself very well to:
  • using apostrophes to show possession - In Johnny Crow's Garden.
  • rhyme and rhythm and repetition - pig, jig, crane, rain, or the phrase "In Johnny Crow's Garden"
  • irregular plurals - hippopotami
  • verb use, which could be further broken down to be, action verbs and helping verbs
  • Noun and Proper Nouns usage- the animals names are all capitalized as would be a real name -title of reference; Garden is also oddly capitalized as it is a reference to Johnny's Garden in particular
  • Prepositions - especially the word in

These are just some samples.  We have also used this technique very successfully in our Aesop's Fables printable story pages.  See our collection Here.  You may also want to download and use some of our Learning Cards for Grammar for reference.  See our collection Here.  Families have told us that they find these very useful.

Narration Art Cards
Using our Story Starter Art Cards for this particular book, the children narrate and draw the story.  This could be done very simply for new, young or reluctant writers or it can be done very intricately such as what virtue or Gift of the Holy Spirit or Work of Mercy is being practiced at this point in the story?  What gives you clues?  But more on that tomorrow.  Our children have loved doing these and sharing their work with each other.

Improve Handwriting and Spelling with Johnny Crow Copywork Sheets
For simple writing practice for most of all of the animals in this story. We have provided two sets of wordlist copywork. Each set includes print and cursive tracing and also a non-trace version for advanced writers or those trying to master cursive.

Click Here to download Set 1 Story Starter Art Narration Cards for In Johnny Crow's Garden.
Click Here to download Set 2 Story Starter Art Narration Cards for In Johnny Crow's Garden.

Click Here to download print trace Copywork Sheets for In Johnny Crow's Garden.

Click Here to download cursive trace Copywork Sheets for In Johnny Crow's Garden.
Click Here to download non-trace Copywork Sheets for In Johnny Crow's Garden.

Join us tomorrow for a Faith filled day In Johnny Crow's Garden.

That Resource Team

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