Moody Subjunctives

If I were a boy…”

If I were a rich man…”

If I should stay/I would only be in your way…”

As these lyrics caressed our ears over the past few decades, few of us realized that these were examples of English grammar in its proper usage.  Naturally, they then became a part of today’s lesson.

The students walked into class while I played the late Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You.”  They then worked on their Warm Up activity while listening to Beyoncé’s rendition of “If I Were A Boy” and “Rich Girl” by Gwen Stefani (this song used the melody of “If I Were A Rich Man” from the musical “Fiddler on the Roof“).

Once the lesson was in full swing, we reviewed the subjunctive mood again and expanded that to include all three verb moods: indicative, imperative, and subjunctive.  I also provided them with the flow chart below to help them discern what sentences utilized which moods.

Verb Mood Cheat Sheet

We then reviewed examples of the subjunctive mood interspersed with videos of alternate versions of the songs above to illustrate the use of the subjunctive in context of songs as additional examples of modern literature.

If I Were A Boy-Reba
Though listeners of Pop and R & B music would attribute the song “If I Were A Boy” to Beyonce’ Knowles, it was actually written and originally recorded by BC Jean at the same time Beyonce’ recorded it. Reba McIntyre then recorded her own version of the song in 2010.
Dolly Parton
“I Will Always Love You” was a hit for legendary Country artist Dolly Parton almost two decades before Whitney Houston recorded her hit version for “The Bodyguard” soundtrack.
If I Were A Rich Man
In “If I Were A Rich Man,” protagonist Tevye sings in conversation with God about what he would do if he had been blessed with riches in the musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”




  • Read for 30 minutes.
  • Study for subjunctive assessment.
  • Study for Friday’s vocabulary quiz
  • Input your “If I Were President” speech onto KidBlog.
  • Respond to the “Dear Dr. King” posts of at least 2 other classmates.  Try to respond where no previous responses were made.


Literary Devices Review (and Pop Quiz) Day: Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Leverage Television Show

After touching on the subject of literary devices last week, we reviewed them further.  First, the students watched a short clip (the last 6 minutes) of Episode 9 from Season 2 of the show “Leverage.”  This episode, entitled “The Lost Heir Job,” wrapped up the various plot threads in a courtroom scene.  Through this scene, the students were able to identify flashback, foreshadowing, deus ex machina, hyperbole,and figurative language. Thereafter, we took a moment to play some games to aid in the review process.  The students and I had a brief Q & A session with me to fill in any other questions they might have had about any of the literary devices on the quiz.


  • Read for 30 minutes.
  • Continue work on the Annotated Bibliography for your Genius Hour Project.


Literary Devices Review: Monday, October 27th, 2014

The beauty of English Language Arts is that it is recursive and the same concepts are explored from year to year, just at varying depths.  So today, we touched upon literary devices, which the students learned in seventh grade.  While there are a lot of literary devices to explore, today we touched upon the following:

  • alliteration and assonance
  • metaphors and similes
  • flashback and foreshadowing
  • personification
  • onomatopoeia

First, we did a quick pre-assessment so I could see who knew what general concepts.  We used my new favorite classroom toy, Plickers.  These “picture clickers” combine an app with cards that are specially-coded and can be assigned to students.  They turn the cards in order to answer with an “A,” “B,” “C,” or “D.”  Below is a (very roughly-done) screencast I did for one of my grad classes on the usefulness of Plickers.


Hopefully one day I will have enough time to re-do this video to make it better. 🙂

We then watched some videos to help illustrate the various literary devices.  Two of the best-loved videos were a rap about literary devices

and examples of literary devices in pop culture.

We then finished class by re-taking the Plickers pre-assessment so that I could see if the students had any better results.  In most cases, all of the students answered correctly.  There were only a handful of students (under 5) in each class that were unclear about the meaning of some of the literary devices.



Monday, October 8th, 2012 in Review

It’s always important to review concepts in a fun way.  Today we reviewed the sentence parts, phrases, and clauses that had been covered in class thus far (minus gerunds, next time) through a Sentence Auction.  Each sentence part, phrase, or clause was assigned a dollar amount.  This will serve as the minimum bid price for each sentence.  As the students work in pairs (or groups of three) to create the most expensive sentence that makes sense, one “expert student” served as the “appraiser” to verify that the sentences were grammatically correct.  Our end goal is to put the sentences on a sentence strip which will be auctioned off to other student groups.  This assignment will be concluded tomorrow.

We watched a video clip from the Discovery Channel Show “Auction Kings” where the students were able to see what an auction looked like in real-life.  This served to give everyone background on exactly what the Sentence Auction would entail.

Sentence Auction Guidelines

HOMEWORK: Take a look at the homework for the week (which can be found here).

PowerPoint: 10-8-12 Fun Times at the Sentence Auction