Just last week, I shared with middle school teachers writings created by a 2nd grade class. The middle school teachers were floored, “2nd graders wrote that?!? It’s better than most of what my 8th graders could do!”
POP QUIZ TIME!
A: Sentence 1 is stronger and more sophisticated in structure.
B: Sentence 2 is stronger and more sophisticated in structure.
C: Both sentences are equally as strong and sophisticated.
The correct answer is B: Sentence 2 is stronger and more sophisticated in structure. Why is that the case? It has to do with the muscles of sentences: adjectives.
There’s nothing grammatically wrong with sentence 1: “Kids are amazing and creative.” It’s just there is no power in that sentence structure: noun verb adjective conjunction adjective. Predicate adjectives are weak. They just so happen, however, to be the most natural and common way of speaking and so, by default, writing.
The structure of sentence 2: “Creative kids are amazing thinkers,” is adjective noun verb adjective noun. Now there’s a muscular sentence! Do you hear the power when adjectives precede nouns? Said simply, get rid of predicate adjectives!
It takes deliberate focus and practice for writers of all ages to learn the power of adjective placement. But, when they do, their writing can flex some major muscles!
Kindergarteners and AP English students will utilize the same skill sets to think, read, speak, and write. The only difference will be the task’s developmental level of complexity.
How has your school vertically aligned skill development not only for school achievement success, but also to give students the thinking and writing skill sets they need to be successful in life?
Indeed, it is an exciting time to be a part of education in this country as the paradigm shifts away from content-driven activities and assessments, to what educators have known for decades matters most: thinking, speaking, listening, and writing.