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Slice of Life.

There are days when the whole doesn’t divide easily. It seems impossible to cut neatly between the minutes and slide out a slice. Like a yeast roll it tears apart, or like a flaky biscuit it crumbles.  My present days are like that. I’m in my studio most of the day, creating virtual lessons for blended instruction. I’m wired for sound, under bright lights, with a document camera and two monitors as companions. Video by video, I am progressing through my grammar boot camp lessons.

One of the guiding principles for my sentence lessons comes from a 19th century grammar textbook:

The simple declarative sentence is the building block of all composition.

And so, in the last several days, I’ve worked from the simple declarative sentence to the compound sentence [ I wrote about modeling this lesson in a classroom: “Simple to Compound], to the complex sentence, to the compound-complex sentence. Today, I recorded the comparative sentence. It’s one of my favorite sentences. A rare one to find in literature. A rare one to use.

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Mordicai Gerstein’s The Old Country is one of my favorite books, a fairy tale-like allegorical novel about a holocaust. [ I found a wonderful poem in the Prelude: “In the Old Country“. ] In the beginning of the tale, Gisella, hunting for a fox, the one who has stolen their chickens, enters a magical woods. She believes she has found the fox’s home. And so, she settles down with her crossbow pointed at the hole and waits.

In the text, Gerstein builds suspense, and one of his tools to craft suspense and bring Gisella face to face with the fox is a comparative sentence.

It was now dim and gray, the air damp and chill. From time to time, she felt the distant thumps. She was hungry but afraid to move. She waited. The longer she waited, the more she felt someone was watching her–someone behind her. Someone with yellow eyes. Gisella turned her head slowly and there was the fox, close enough that Gisella could see her whiskers twitch. She sat and looked directly into Gisella’s eyes.

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The comparative sentence:

The longer she waited, the more she felt someone was watching her–someone behind her.

It consists of two interdependent clauses separated ever so slightly by a comma and linked by adverb phrases in the comparative degree ( the longer / the more ).

Ah, the comparative sentence is a very rare gem!


In my studio.

Located in a corner of our basement, where the sounds of life and the vision of the sky cannot reach, is my recording studio. My guys set up a system for me, one that is super easy for me to use. I walk into the studio with my laptop, plug in its power cord, attach a single cable to it that connects it to the system, and turn all on with one switch. Two other switches turn on the studio lights. I adjust them with a remote control, slip my microphone onto my ear, and adjust and set the focus of my document camera with a button. In less than five minutes, I am ready to record… at least as far as the equipment is concerned.

My workstation in my studio upon completion of the anchor lesson video


The notebook page created during the anchor lesson


Two comparative sentences from literature analyzed in the anchor lesson



Head over to Two Writing Teachers for more slice of life stories #SOL18