Tuesday, November 20, 2012

We're starting right out with the activity today. Settle back and keep reading, because this is a mental exercise that will tax your brain.

First, look to the far left corner of the room. In that corner stands a nun with a basketball. She's wearing her full habit, holding the basketball in her hands.

Got it? Say it out loud. "There's a nun in the corner and she's holding a basketball in her hands." Picture it in your mind. Say it out loud again.

Next to her is a professional basketball player saying, "Come on, Sister, put me in. Let me take your place."

Repeat that. Repeat them both. Cement those images in your head. Once you have them, continue.

Directly in front of you (out the window if you have one there) is an herb. It's blowing in the wind and is surrounded by a chain link fence.

I know, you think I'm crazy. Trust me. Get the image in your head.

Herb. Blowing in the wind. Surrounded by a chain link fence.

What was in the corner? Who is standing next to her? What's directly in front of you? Repeat them until they're firm in your mind.

Moving on...

In the far right corner is a little boy in a red sweater and he's sneezing, "Achoo-too. Achoo-too."

Little boy, red sweater, sneezing, "Achoo-too. Achoo-too."

What was in front of you again? Who is standing beside the nun? What is he saying?

When you're ready, continue.

On the wall to your right is a big billboard. It's an advertisement for the herb. Got it? Go back to the herb. It's blowing in the wind and surrounded by what? Who is in the far left corner? Who is in the far right?

By now you think my elevator doesn't go all the way to the top floor. It does. I assure you, there is a purpose for this. Ready? Let's continue...

Okay, beside you on the right are two construction workers building a bridge. Make them hot construction workers. After all, this is your imagination! Male or female doesn't matter. Two construction workers building a bridge.

On your left is a little girl getting an injection and she says, "Ouch!"

What's on your right? What was on the wall? What does it advertise? Go backwards...who is in the corner and what is he sneezing? What's in front of you? Tell me about the pair in the left corner. Who is on your immediate left?

Last one and you can put him anywhere you want: a man in a three-piece suit making a presentation. He's holding a tin can with no top or bottom on it.

Recite them. Look around the room, not at the computer screen for a moment and go through all the images.

Now do them backward. Start with the man. Remember the tin can!

Got 'em all? Good!

You just learned the eight parts of speech. And their definitions.

Nope, I'm not kidding. You really did.

Start with the nun in the corner. She's a noun. She's a person, standing in a place, holding a thing and her habit represents an idea.

A noun is a person, place, thing or idea. :)

Take the pro basketball player next to her. He's a pronoun. Get it? Pro-noun? And what do pronouns do? They take the place of nouns (he's saying, "Put me in, Sister, let me take your place.")

By now you're groaning at the bad puns. Rest assured...they get worse.

In front of you is that herb. That's a verb. And there are two kinds of verbs: action ("blowing in the wind") and linking (that chain link fence!).

So far you have a noun, a pronoun and two kinds of verbs. Let's see what else we can find.

The little boy wearing the red sweater and sneezing. Let's change "Achoo-too" to "Adjective." He's a LITTLE boy wearing a RED sweater.

Adjectives describe nouns (and other adjectives, but let's keep it simple today, shall we?).

And then there's that advertisement on the wall for the herb. That's the ad-verb. The adverb! Get it?? :) Let's slap a sticker on that billboard that says "ly" since most of the adverbs have -ly endings.

To review:
We have a noun in the corner with a pronoun beside it. In front of us is a verb, both kinds (action and linking). In the other corner is a LITTLE boy and his RED sweater now sneezing, "Adjective" and on the wall, we're advertising the adverb with it's ly ending.

Okay, those 2 construction workers building a bridge? Those are conjunctions and what's their function? To build bridges between sentences, of course! Those are words like "and" "or" "for" "nor"...They serve some other purposes, too, but we're staying simple, remember? So conjunctions build bridges between sentences.

Two more to go!
Our poor little girl getting her injection is an interjection. Remember she says, "Ouch!" -- which is a word dropped into the sentence that isn't necessarily needed. "Wow!" and "Great!" are other examples. So is "Shit." :)

And our handsome man in his suit making is presentation is a preposition. Prepositions show location (pre-position -- see? It has the word "position" right in it!). The tin can helps here. You can be in it, you can be near it, you can be outside, around, go through, be on it or under it or over it. You can go toward it or walk with it, you can even move away from it. All prepositions!

Look over at that nun again. Run through the eight images, then run through them again as the parts of speech.

And you thought grammar was dull...

I do this with classes filled with bored high school students and by the end of the image-learning, they know every image and can't wait to shout them out. They physically turn toward that part of the room as they describe what they "see" there and when I drop the bombshell at the end and tell them what they just learned? They don't believe me.

Then I start "decoding" the images and they start laughing. They're taking notes and giggling and making jokes about the herb (which they nearly always want to make a marijuana plant) -- and learning grammar basics.

If you don't know your parts of speech (and if you're a writer, you should! They're the basic building blocks of your craft), go back through the images again, translating the image to the actual definition of that part of speech. Test yourself.

And do it often over the next week. Repetition is key here. We'll get past that and into usage in a future post. Right now, just have fun learning the eight parts of speech.

PS. leave a tip in the jar if you enjoyed this. I think its working now!

Or maybe not... :(

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