Thursday, September 29, 2011

LTW 9/29

(Previous LTW posts)

Today we got bogged down again.  It started off well, though.  We reviewed the parts of speech and gave a nod to other notables of grammar.  Mariel gleefully remembered all her modifiers.  Aravis joked that we ought to add Lynne Truss to our list of essential grammar-tools.

Then we learned the definition of parallelism.  Still good.  Aravis quoted Strunk and White, and I asked what Paula La Rocque might say about it.

Strunk and White:  "Omit needless words."
Paula La Rocque:  "Choose the precise word."

Then we smugly pulled out the practice essay issue and main proofs:

Thesis:  Boromir should not have taken the Ring from Frodo.
1st Proof:  Boromir was not a fit Ringbearer
2nd Proof:  Frodo was a fit Ringbearer
3rd Proof:  Wise authorities chose Frodo

We could not get these three proofs to do the parallelism thing.

Honestly.  They would not cooperate.  The reason seemed to be that the proofs each had different subjects.  We tried to switch the sentences around so Boromir was always the subject, but that did not work.

At this point, I realized I was in over my head.  I was sure there was a way to make this thesis and these proofs work, but I could not see it. 

Finally, we decided to use the sub-proofs from Proof 1 (Boromir was not a fit Ringbearer) as the main proofs, since they all had Boromir as the subject.  Now our outline looked like this:

Thesis:  Boromir should not have tried to take the Ring from Frodo
1st Proof:   Boromir was spoiled
2nd Proof:  Boromir was obsessed
3rd Proof:  Boromir was unsupported

Here is the introductory paragraph:

"Boromir should not have tried to take the Ring from Frodo for three reasons.  Boromir was spoiled, obsessed and unsupported."

Looking at this now (late at night, in the quiet), I think it would work better if it said, "Boromir was spoiled by his father, obsessed with Gondor, and unsupported by Aragorn." 

Do you see the parallelism?  It is the repetition of the same parts of speech in each proof.  We got it in there, if rather simply.  And this is just the practice essay.  We will probably change it again on Monday.  We work on it together as a teaching tool-- then the kids apply the same process to their real essays.  I am very thankful for it, especially since I am learning along with the kids.  We figure out what might be a problem when we try a new concept on the practice essay. 

I did not give the kids any homework.  I feel like this new concept muddied the waters a bit.  I want to review and take another shot at parallelism in the practice essay on Monday before having them work on their actual essays.

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