Join the Madness

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

sentence fluency from a third grader

So I was talking to my daughter the other night about one of the girls in her class.

To make a long story short, she wanted to know what I thought of this little girl. I didn't want to say anything negative, so I just said, "Well, if she's being mean to your friends, I'd rather not think about her."  Fairly noncommittal because after all, they'll probably be best friends again within the hour, right?

My daughter's reply?  Remember, she's EIGHT. 

She said to me, "Mom, I'm not impressed with your sentence fluency."

Since when does an eight year old know about sentence fluency? 

And if I doubted her literary prowess, a little while later she was watching Evan Almighty. 

We've seen it a thousand times...or parts of it a thousand times.  My son likes to replay the same scenes until you throw the breaker switch in the utility room, but I digress...

Out of the blue, she started critiquing the dialogue.  I wish I'd written those gems down, but (sigh) they're lost.  I just wasn't expecting anything so pertinent to come flying out, okay?

So anyway, that got me thinking that it'd be really cute if she'd 'teach' us all about writing.

I sent her this note:

Miss K, (ahem, I'm not being mysterious, that's really what I call her)

Will you pretty please with cheese & carrots (okay, maybe not the carrots) write me a list of everything you know about good writing?  I wanna use it for something.

Thank you sweetness. Love you!


And here, for your reading pleasure is her reply:

(note, I was soooo tempted to edit the right to write but decided to leave it just exactly as she sent it to me.  She's only 8 after all.)

Huh? Oh, sure. No problem.

Some traits of writing:

1. Voice

Make it sound like you. Your books or stories should have something you think is funny, serious, or cute in it.
2. Sentence Fluency
Make your sentence starts differently. Don't always do I, I, I, or they, they, they. Do something else differently. Also use juicy adjectives and verbs. Don't say "Mom took me to the store." Instead, you could write, "Mom charged me to the store."

Mom, that's all I could learn right now, I'm sorry. Maybe when I get back from school tomorrow I'll right more. 

Bye bye

I know I'm biased and all, but I just think that's the cutest thing!  She has been writing furiously on the other computer the last few weeks.  I'll see if I can get a snippet to share...I'm curious!

EXERCISE: 30 mins, over lunch, FINALLY got to the gym.  Had one of those rare moments where I turned on my music and it was a song I loved (don't ask me which one, that was 12 hours ago) and it just put me in the sweatin' kind of mood.
WATER:  EIGHT full glasses.  Oh yeah, I'm fully hydrated!
BOOK:  Well, I cut some parts, but made a little headway.  Still just under 40K.  Got some character sheets done, but what I really need to do is print out what I have (ack) and sort through by hand to get what I need.  I see things better on paper than I do online.


Wendy Ramer said...

You've got to keep a digital voice recorder accessible so you can capture those gems that Miss K keeps throwing at you. My daughter is very similar, so I've actually started making little post-it notes to myself about the things she says so I can use them in a future blog.

Jen said...

You can be biased but there is no denying that it was so adorable!!! The traits of writing, great tips and Miss K will most likely continue so make sure you have your notepad ready, she may be teaching you soon enough!

I just realized you're from Iowa! I love meeting fellow Iowans, though I've lived in Houston for a few years my heart stays with family and friends in Iowa :)

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Hi! I clicked your pic over on Kimberly Franklin's blog, and I'm so glad I did! I LOVED this post. I have a sixth grader and a fourth grader, and our conversations about writing and the mechanics of grammar are awesome. Aren't kids learning more than we did back then??

I see we have more in common than our kids and love of writing. I hit the gym most days (Mon thru Fri) and am constantly reminding myself to drink more water. Tracking daily goals, met or not, helps keep me in line, too.

I'm your newest follower, and I look forward to reading more from you!

MissV said...

Wendy, I do have a recorder--it's in my purse to catch my gems as I'm driving. Which reminds me I have a dozen on there I need to transcribe!

Jen - Nice to meet a fellow Iowan...What part of Iowa were you from? I'm in Eastern Iowa (I'll divulge in email where, just not ready to go public with my location - it's a smallish town)

Nicole - thanks for stopping by! Yes, my kids are learning way more than I did at the same age. Not sure if that's a good thing though. They'll be doing work I can't help them with before they're in their teens!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

My 6 and 7 year olds say things that sound so grown up, and I wonder where it came from. Certainly not me!

Kids definitely know more than we did at that age. They have to. There so much more to learn (you know, compared to the stone age).

Great job with the water. I'm terrible at drinking the stuff. I used to drink tons, but then quit. Diet Coke tastes so much better. :)

Bish Denham said...

That is precious! She is quite articulate. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Matthew Rush said...

The fact that your 8 year old even has an inkling of a clue as to what Voice is amazes me. That is totally incredibly awesome!

laurel said...

My daughter is just a little younger and also apt to critique films while she watches them (and make long, rambling comments about themes and mofits). The sentence fluency comment was priceless. Hope you do post some of her work!

Talli Roland said...

Whoa, I am super impressed! You have a future writer on your hands! :)

MBW aka Olleymae said...

Funny, I critique adult manuscripts with sentences that keep starting I,I,I and They, they, they.

Wow, I bet she'll be a writer! I think that's great that you took her seriously and asked her advice. That will probably stick with her and boost her confidence even more.

Sounds like an amazing kid :)

MissV said...

Stina, I have downed 5 glasses of water so I am rewarding myself with an icy cold Diet Coke right now. (mmmmmmmmmmmmmm) Kids are exposed to so much these days, it gets harder and harder to decide what is age appropriate!

Matthew, she didn't learn the voice thing from me. I don't pay enough attention to the mechanics behind writing, I just do it and find ways to make it work. I'm probably making more work for myself in the process, though. Didn't realize you had a 14 year old daughter too (I did just read that somewhere didn't I?). How are you handling these teen years?

Laurel, you made me laugh out loud with the long, rambling comments. I confess I sometimes tune out because my girl can go on and on and on and fifteen minutes later when I tune back in I haven't missed much!

Talli, thank you. Both my girls like to write and it thrills me to watch their writing mature. Congrats again on your publishing news! That's fantastic!

MissV said...

Bish - I can't believe I missed you in there. Shame on me. Can I blame it on my aging eyes? Loved the tatted bookmarks you had posted. I've never seen anything like it. I'm impressed!

MissV said...

MBW, Thanks for stopping by! Someday I'll have to let her read one of my pages and see what she thinks. Gotta be careful or she'll take over my blog! hahahaha.


That is the most adorable and cute thing I've ever heard. Sentence fluency! Good golly--your daughter will grow up to be either a congresswoman or an English professor. Maybe she can teach your work, or assign it to the land! This put a smile on my face--thanks.

Dawn said...

Wow. I think your precious eight-year-old just taught ME about sentence fluency. Maybe she'll follow in her Mom's footsteps? If not...maybe she wants a part time job editing ;-)

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Aww, how sweet. I think Miss K is my new heroine :)

KarenG said...

Sounds like a budding writer! How adorable is that? Does she have a blog yet? You could have her guest post on yours once a week!!

Kimberly Franklin said...

That has to be like the cutest thing EVER!! Your little Miss K (love it, btw) is going to be a literary icon one day, for sure!! ;)

MissV said...

Samuel, I'm hoping for the English Professor, personally. She has a penchant for drama that would be put to better use in the classroom than on the Senate floor!

Dawn, she makes it sound so simple, doesn't she? Maybe she could help me with active vs. passive...hahaha

Lindsay, thanks. She's a pretty even mix of good and evil (it's the Gemini in her, she can't help it.)

Karen, shhhhh, don't tell her about blogging! First she begged for an email, now it's facebook. We gave in on email so she could write to her aunt and are giving in on facebook (family only) for her birthday. Hopefully we can hold out on blogging until junior high? tee hee

MissV said...

Kimberly, I'm going to have to share these responses with Miss K (or sometimes K-Bear) later. She'll be beaming! You all have made one little girl very happy (she just doesn't know it yet)

Creepy Query Girl said...

awe, that is freaking adorable!

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

That is adorable! Oh my goodness, you're going to have crazy adolescent years!

Mary McDonald said...

That is so cute! I have a nine year old daughter and she says some pretty amazing things too.