Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Top 10 Homophone Mistakes

Homophones are two or more words with the same pronunciation but different meanings. Mixing up homophones is one of the most common mistakes students make in their writing. Below are the most frequent errors that I see in student work:

10.  Tale: a story      
       Tail: the hind part of an animal

9.  Site: a place or location
     Sight: what you see

8.  Threw: having thrown something
     Through: passing or complete  

7.  New: not having been used before  
     Knew: understand (past tense)  

6.  Weather: the state of the atmosphere (rain, sunshine)
     Whether: if, depending

5.  Effect: noun—a change or consequence of an action
     Affect: verb—to make a difference

4.  Your: belonging to you  
     You’re: you are

3.  To: referring to direction or place
     Too: also, in addition, an extreme amount

2.  Their: belonging to them
     There: a place, where something is

1.  Its: belonging to it
     It’s: it is

Monday, September 26, 2016

Word of the week: Impeach

The answer is to accuse.

The newspapers all impeached the politician of bribery following the convention.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Word of the week: Hubris

The answer is arrogance.

The hubris coach needed to set his ego aside and focus on bonding with his team if he hoped to win the championship.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Scream Out Loud makes a SPLASH in San Diego!

This past February, I had the unique opportunity and privilege to take part in the San Diego Local Author’s Exhibit. Over 300 local authors were recognized at the annual event, and I was honored to be included with my recent novel, Scream Out Loud.

Aside from seeing my book showcased beside other talent in the lobby of our Central Library, perhaps the highlight of the evening was listening to the personal story of the esteemed keynote speaker, Brian Selznik. Mr. Selznik is the author of several best selling novels as well as the Oscar Award winning movie Hugo.

Excitement and thrilling milestones continued in the month of March as I visited with a local book club that had read Scream Out Loud. What a treat to be able to interact with my readers! It was a surreal to hear the many ways that my characters impacted these women and the emotion that arose as the controversial topics of abuse and suicide were discussed.

When I write, I am completely consumed by my characters and immersed in their world. But to see this fictional world come to life for readers was beyond a dream come true. Definitely a highlight of my writing career!


Monday, September 12, 2016

Word of the week: Homogeneous

The answer is identical.

When our school has spirit day, the entire student body appears to be homogeneous.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Get the "Math" Kids Writing

I can’t count the number of times parents ask for help teaching their student to write “because they are more math oriented.”

So make it more like math. Appeal to the math concepts that these students absorb easily.

Every child has a specific learning style and subjects that they like more than others. The key to teaching any subject is to find what resonates with each student and adjust your presentation. Once the student acquires the skills and concepts—and once she begins to find success and builds confidence—the rest will come more naturally.

So find the math in writing… 

Here are some ways to bring the principles of logic and organization to writing:

1. Teach the art of diagramming sentences. Sentence diagramming is geometric. Students learn to compartmentalize words into their function in a sentence. Every word has a job.  Students learn how words fit together to form grammatically correct sentences and they learn how to avoid incomplete and run on sentences. Suddenly introductory elements jump out of  sentences and punctuation becomes easier to place.

2. Use graphic organizers to teach paragraph structure and focus. These help students visualize a large piece of writing and provide a framework to begin the arduous process of paper writing.

3. Create formulas to explain concepts of writing.  Hook + Thesis + Blueprint = Introduction Paragraph Formulas provide a familiar concept that allows students to plug in parts of a whole to achieve a final outcome.  So don’t write off  “math kids”. Instead help them to be successful “writing kids” too!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Word of the week: Gauche

The answer is awkward.

The gauche child  had lived all of her life in seclusion and had never met another person before.