Language Skills Outcomes

The West Irondequoit English Language Arts Skills Outcomes are a vital element of the West Irondequoit English Language Arts Writing Program and as such, enhance and support the West Irondequoit English Language Arts Outcomes. The Language Arts Skills comprise language use and conventions, which are an integral part of the composing process. The understanding of the language skills of word choice and vocabulary, and the use of sentence variety and syntax during the drafting and revising stages serve to make writing precise, vivid and engaging. Punctuation, capitalization and other conventions are specific grammar skills critical to the editing stage of writing to ensure coherence and readability. Thus, the West Irondequoit English Language Arts Skills are presented in three sections: Style and Syntax; Vocabulary, Word Choice and Parts of Speech; Punctuation, Capitalization and other Conventions.

Students develop their writing prowess through studying models - both the writing of well-known authors and student models. In the same way, Language Arts skills are acquired by understanding first how language conventions and grammatical constructions are used by others and then by practicing their use in the students' own writing. Examples in literature of each of the skills accompany the Language Arts Skills Outcomes. Teachers will find use of these Companion Pieces beneficial in the classroom as models. Knowledge and understanding of grammar conventions will enhance not only student writing, but also their critical analysis of literature.

The English Language Arts Skills are meant to be taught in isolation where indicated, to give students explicit knowledge of terms and their definition, in simulation for students to practice identifying and using the skills, and then, most importantly, in the context of applying these skills in their own writing.

Designated explicitly at each grade level, the English Language Arts Skills are an essential and integral part of the entire writing component of the West Irondequoit English Language Arts Curriculum.


Grade Level Style and Syntax Vocabulary, Word Choice, and Parts of Speech Punctuation, Capitalization, and other Conventions
3 Outcome
· Expands simple sentence using prepositional phrases that explain how and why

Example
Explanation: A prepositional phrase is a pattern of words that begins with a preposition and ends with a noun or pronoun (object of the preposition). The preposition relates its object to another word in the sentence (e.g. about, at by, before, from, between, over and under).

Example from literature:
"With great care, Irene took the splendid gown down from the dummy and packed it in a big box with plenty of tissue paper." Brave Irene by William Steig (197)
Outcome
· Selects vocabulary according to the demands of topic, audience and purpose

Example
Explanation: Word choice varies depending upon the topic, audience and purpose of the writing.

Example from literature:
"Even though we've been churchin' up like decent folks ought to, ... I don't want you to step in front of one of those too fast cars." Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco (95)
Outcome
· Uses quotation marks and speaker tags to indicate dialogue

Example
Explanation: Quotation marks are used to set off a speaker's exact words. Also, titles of short stories, songs, book chapters, magazine/newspaper articles, essays, short stories, most poems, slang, non-standard English and technical words are enclosed in quotation marks.

Example from literature:
"Hey!" a loud voice said. "Why are you hanging upside down?" Stellaluna by Janell Cannon (3)
6 Outcome
· Uses participial phrases to expand sentences and vary sentence beginnings

Example
Explanation: A participle is a verb form that can be used as an adverb or as an adjective. The present participle ends in -ing; the past participle of regular verbs often end in -ed. However, there are many irregular verbs that change form.

Example from literature:
"It was May Belle yelling from the other side of the scrapheap." (uses the present participle to begin the participial phrase - adjective) Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (5)
Outcome
· Sustains consistent word choices appropriate to topic, audience and theme with an awareness of connotative meaning

Example
Explanation: In addition to the denotative or literal meaning, some words also have a connotative meaning that is the implied meaning. The connotative meaning is often connected with emotion (e.g. mother is associated with love, care, and gentleness).

Example from literature:
"Boy! Tumble out of bed. I need a manservant." The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman (7) In this context, Boy has a derogatory connotation.
Outcome
· Uses semicolons to join independent clauses

Example
Explanation: A semicolon connects related independent clauses, when they are not joined by a conjunction, forming one sentence (compound sentence).

Example from literature:
"It was more exciting to work at a real bench, to draw the sharp knife along the clean wood; to hear it 'snick' as the knife took hold, then slither off into shavings." The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli (40)
8 Outcome
· Uses participial phrases to combine, enhance and/or reduce sentences

Example
Explanation: a group of words that contain a participle and that functions like an adjective in a sentence. Ex.-Smiling at the children, their father reached for the cookie jar.

Example from literature:
"Knocking down the fire-irons, tumbling over the chairs, bumping up against the piano, smothering himself among the curtains, wherever she went, there went he!" (present participle) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (76)
Outcome
· Demonstrates control of denotative and connotative word choices

Example
Denotation: the dictionary definition or meaning of a word Connotation: the implied definition or meaning of a word

Example from literature:
" 'So he's a great man, is he? Reb lover or not, he's the best man you've ever knowed?' He spun furiously toward the man who held his arm. 'What's the matter with you, Ben Harris? You got a Copperhead streak in you too?'" Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (76)
Outcome
· Uses parentheses to indicate parenthetical elements that serve as explanations or qualifications

Example from literature:
"It was a long, and wound about him like a tail; and it was made (for Scrooge observed it closely) of cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds and heavy purses wrought in steel." A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (26)
11 Outcome
· Uses elliptical construction for emphasis and to revise and reduce sentences

Example
Elliptical construction: something in a sentence is omitted. Because something is left out, it draws attention and adds power to the sentence. The regular rhythm of reading is interrupted; thus, drawing attention to the sentence. Ex.-On opening night the soloist receives much praise; the chorus, none.

Examples from literature:
"Instead of three meals a day, if it be necessary eat but one; instead of a hundred dishes, five..." Walden by Henry David Thoreau (218)
"My callers were gentlemen-all!" Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams (576)
Outcome
· Demonstrates and understanding of the role and value of syntax in illuminating meaning

Example
Syntax: The way words and sentences are structured and arranged in text to create a desired effect; tone.

Example from literature:
"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter-tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther...And one fine morning- "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (182)
Outcome
· Uses a dash to indicate emphasis

Example
Dash: a mark of separation stronger than a comma, less formal than a colon, and more relaxed than parenthesis. It sets off an abrupt break or interruption; it sets off parenthetical material that deserves emphasis; it announces a long appositive; and it prepares for a list, restatement, or dramatic shift in tone or thought. Use a dash only when a more common mark of punctuation seems inadequate. Unnecessary dashes create a choppy effect. Ex.-His first thought in getting out of bed-if he had any thought at all-was to get back in again.

Example from literature:
"They were not perfect ovals-like the egg in the Columbus story, they are both crushed flat at the contact end-but their physical resemblance must be a source of perpetual confusion to the gulls that fly overhead. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (5)
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