McCulla’s Spelling Lesson: I before E

I before E

                      I before E

 I BEFORE E  Grammar rules clarify the spoken language.  A language is spoken.  Historically, we see that people spoke to each other centuries before the invention of writing occurred.  Letters and symbols are simply instruments we use to record the spoken word.  A standard written language represents the rules a group of people have agreed upon to avoid misunderstandings.                               [Imagine each player in a football game following his/her own rules!]         –Miss McCulla                                                                                 

Grammar rule:  i before e, except after c

Simple rule, works most of the time on common words...

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Word Choice Lesson: Affect or Effect

      Affect Effect

 Affect / Effect  Grammar rules clarify the spoken language.  A language is spoken.  Historically, we see that people spoke to each other centuries before the invention of writing occurred.  Letters and symbols are simply instruments we use to record the spoken word.  A standard written language represents the rules a group of people have agreed upon to avoid misunderstandings.          [Imagine each player in a football game following                              his/her own rules!]         –-Miss McCulla

Grammar rule:  AFFECT is a VERBEFFECT is a NOUN!

                                       Simple rule that works 99% of the time.

The beautiful writing in this book affects everyone who reads it...

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Word Choice Lesson: Its or It’s

Its or It's

Its or It’s

Grammar rules, including its and it’s, clarify the spoken language.  A language is spoken.  Historically, we see that people spoke to each other centuries before the invention of writing occurred.  Letters and symbols are simply instruments we use to record the spoken word.  A standard written language represents the rules a group of people have agreed upon to avoid misunderstandings.          [Imagine each player in a football game following his/her own rules!]         –Miss McCulla

OKAY, Students, this one is a NO Brainer!  There is NO EXCEPTION to this rule!

 grammar   &    punctuation

I’m not sure why this word choice, or perhaps spelling choice,  is too hard to remember.  We use these words all the time...

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Book Review – A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini writes with power and surety, producing another best seller with A Thousand Splendid Suns. This is his second novel, following close upon the heels of The Kite Runner, and like the earlier book deals with the troubled history and people of Afghanistan.

Two women, Mariam and Laila, a generation apart, are thrown together under painful circumstances. (What in this country isn’t painful, especially for its women?) Tyrannized by those who hold dominion over them, the two women eventually find common cause and unite to face their enemies.  [The personal insert is effective in an Information Essay. –Miss McCulla]

Khaled Hosseini

Mariam, the illegitimate daughter of a prosperous businessman, is married off to Rasheed, a Kabul shoemaker. She is only 15...

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Biography – Science Fiction of Arthur C. Clarke

Science Fiction

                                    Science Fiction

The name Arthur C. Clarke is known throughout the world as one of the most proficient science fiction writers. Born in 1917, he lived a full life full of adventure until he passed away in 2008, at the age of 90. He was the author or over 100 fiction and non-fiction books regarding outer space and ‘possible futures.’

For students:  Short Biographies or Profiles make perfect subjects for Informative Essays.  Same rhetorical style.  (A book report is also an Informative assignment.)  CAUTION:  It is easy to slip into plagiarism in these papers.  An essay should not read as a Wikipedia entry!  Add your personality through your tone (casual and personal)...

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Even Famous Authors Got Rejections

Writers who keep sending their work out, will eventually be published!  “Among the rejections I’ve received, my favorite was from a science fiction anthology: a full-page drawing of a dragon dabbing at his eyes with a Kleenex as its tears flowed down. It was much funnier than these meager words can describe.      I once showed it to a friend, also a science fiction writer, who doesn’t find rejections quite as amusing. It’s a matter of attitude; I couldn’t do anything about the rejection, and it was a change of pace from the usual, uninspired form letter.”

If you have trouble staying motivated in the face of an expanding file of rejections, perhaps this list of comments some now-famous writers received about their work will help.

* Crash by J.G. Ballard:    “The author of this book is...

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Students: Good Information Essay on Childhood Obesity

Information Essay

Information Essay

Childhood obesity is becoming an epidemic problem in this country. Research shows that teaching a healthy lifestyle and the importance of fitness can start at an early age. Children whose parents do that are more likely to grow up and make movement health a natural part of their daily lives.

Students:  This is a typical, actually better than average, Information Essay written in eleventh or twelfth grades.  The student writer organized his thoughts, came up with many concrete ideas to share, and the writing is clear and fresh.  It is not particularly sophisticated writing, but it doesn’t have to be!  Good job, here.  —Miss McCulla

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) obesity in children has increased among children of all ages by 5-12...

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Book Review – Lost on Spirit River by Tommy Batchelor: Ages 8-12

Lost on Spirit River

      Lost on Spirit River

Mystery, mysticism, ancient American native culture, adventure and much more can be found in Lost on Spirit River, a novel for readers aged 8-12 by Tommy Batchelor.

Lost on Spirit River tells the tale of how cousins Tony and Kathryn, while visiting their grandfather in Flint River, Georgia, became lost during a rare December snow storm. Tony, thirteen, was a model student and athlete until his parents’ separation left him bitter, angry, and blaming himself for their problems. Kathryn is a popular, intelligent eleven-year-old, more than willing to help her cousin through this difficult time at home.

The pair, along with their grandfather’s aging beagle, set out to find the perfect family Christmas tree...

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Common Mistakes When Writing a Book

Writers can slave for months, even years, crafting stories, developing plot lines and building characters; labors of love, for sure, but ones they hope will pay off. Once they have what they believe to be the perfect draft, they start sending their stories to potential publishers, looking for validation and income. Sadly, most of them never find the success they’ve worked for.  After decades of teaching writing, I know one of the biggest mistakes that authors (and students) make when writing a book or essay: underestimating the importance of an outline.

 You will likely write a series of essays [Narrative, Example, Definition, Argumentative, Classification, Process, and Description] required in high school and then again in college...

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Stupidest Introduction I’ve Ever Read

IntroductionIntroduction to the brief history about quizzes began when man evolved from apes and his braining started functioning better than before. His mind could perceive better and was full of quizzes and ideas about things that were available in the nature.  Soon, he started making use of these things and made fire and other tools that could help him for food and shelter. As time passed by, geniuses were born with high IQ or developed it during their lifetime. Now, the man has become

This is the stupidest introduction I’ve ever read. 

–Miss McCulla

 so clever that he is finding ways to do cloning, escape death, etc. He may or may not find the accurate answer to his questions but it is inevitable that in his lifetime he may face a wide variety of quizzes.

Or it could be the most ingenious...

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