Monday, July 1, 2013

Breaking News: Grammar Cats Aligned to the Common Core!

The GrammarCatz are clearly struggling with some persistent problems in their written English. If only the Common Core had been in place when they were kittens! Below is a list of some of the standards that the cats are failing to meet. And yes, for anybody who thinks this is a completely illogical, unstructured, and arbitrary hodgepodge of random elements, you are . . . CORRECT!

Nouns and Verbs

Use personal, possessive, and indefinite pronouns (e.g., I, me, my; they, them, their, anyone, everything).

Form and use regular and irregular plural nouns.

Form and use regular and irregular verbs.

Ensure subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement.

Other Parts of Speech

Use determiners (e.g., articles, demonstratives).

Use adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.

Form and use comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.

Punctuation and Capitalization

Use end punctuation for sentences.

Use commas in dates and to separate single words in a series.

Use an apostrophe to form contractions and frequently occurring possessives.

Produce complete sentences, recognizing and correcting inappropriate fragments and run-ons.

Use correct capitalization.

Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence.

Use a comma to separate an introductory element from the rest of the sentence.

Use a comma to set off the words yes and no (e.g., Yes, thank you), to set off a tag question from the rest of the sentence (e.g., It’s true, isn’t it?), and to indicate direct address (e.g., Is that you, Steve?).

Use punctuation (commas, parentheses, dashes) to set off nonrestrictive/parenthetical elements.

Spelling and Usage

Correctly use frequently confused words (e.g., to, too, two; there, their).

Spell correctly.

Meanwhile, you have to give the cats credit for meeting and exceeding this important standard for fourth grade:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.3b. Choose punctuation for effect.

And in case you had not figured out how I really feel about the Common Core:


  1. Kudos to you, Laura Gibbs. My wife is a retired teacher having served in the Brookfield, Wisconsin School District for 34+ years. It's a shame - and maybe even a crime - what Wisconsin's Governor Walker has done to the teachers in this state.

    Keep up your good work.

    Ken Tibbetts

  2. Ben, I have indeed read some of what is going on in Wisconsin! It's a scandal. I teach English composition in college but I am very concerned about what is going on in K-12. I live in North Carolina (which has also been the scene of some dire stuff under the new Republican state administration), and I teach in Oklahoma (which has decreased funding to schools more dramatically in the past few years than any other state in the nation based on the last numbers I saw). The fact that we are spending billions of dollars on Common Core (i.e. giving the money not to our teachers but to Pearson et al.) seems to me the worst possible choice we could make about schools, but I guess it will be years before we realize our mistake...