Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ordering Adjectives and Other Obscurities

This is the first year that we are implementing Common Core at my school, and one of the first surprises to me was the specificity of the list of language standards. Take this one for example:

4L1d. Order adjectives within sentences according to conventional patterns (e.g., a small red bag rather than a red small bag).

Okay, fair enough. I know that we don't say red small bag, but I couldn't articulate why. And if I couldn't articulate that, it seemed like I would have a hard time teaching it. Hence began one of many research projects for this year.

As it turns out, there are actual rules for ordering adjectives! Whenever you have a list of adjectives, according to most sources, they should be put in the following order:

  • Number - e.g., many, few, seventeen
  • Opinion - e.g., beautiful, silly, annoying
  • Size - e.g., big, small, gargantuan
  • Age - e.g., old, young
  • Shape - this one is tricky! It can be shape like "round" or shape like a condition - e.g., dusty
  • Color - e.g., red, blue, yellow
  • Origin - think countries, directions, religions, e.g., Canadian, northern, Catholic
  • Material - e.g., plastic, wooden
  • Purpose - e.g., sleeping as in a sleeping bag
The wheels started turning with this new knowledge, and slowly the lesson plans came together for this topic.

For the first day, I made a PowerPoint about the order of adjectives and my students made a foldable to record their thinking. 

On day two, we looked at some examples that I pulled from the books they were reading in their book clubs, and I gave them the task at looking for more sentences that used multiple adjectives together. They recorded their sentences, and we shared some of the examples as a class.

Days 3 and 4 involved some word sorts. I made some cards with adjectives on them, and they sorted them by what type of adjective they were. Then they put some together to make sentences. 

On Friday (day 5), we took a short assessment that had students identify the correct order of adjectives in some multiple choice questions, and then write their own sentences.

Overall, I was happy with how the unit turned out, and we all learned a lot about adjectives that we hadn't known before. By getting the students to play with adjectives more, I also noticed them using more interesting word choices in their writing. Win-win.

I've put together all of the resources that I used (and then some) into a unit over at Teachers Pay Teachers. It's one of many units I've been working on to deal with some of the more obscure standards introduced by Common Core, and I hope you'll check it out.

It will be on sale Monday and Tuesday for 28% off with the TpT Cyber Monday sale if you use the code CMT12

What are some of the more interesting/challenging standards you've encountered with the Common Core? I'd love to hear about it in the comments section!

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