Model Teaching: Lesson Presentation

Model Teaching: A Simplified Approach to Lesson Presentation

Prepared to teach but not sure how to present the material?

Relax.  Here’s 4 steps you can follow and be successful.

You’ve gathered the needed materials. You’ve prepared your lesson. But now you must TEACH the lesson.

Make sure you have gathered all the materials you will need to teach your lesson before you begin your presentation.
Make sure you have gathered all the materials you will need to teach your lesson before you begin your presentation.
You know what you want your children/students to learn, but how do you present it?

Yes, there are many ways to present lesson material, but following these simple steps will help you become confident until you feel comfortable varying your teaching strategy. This simplified approach will also enhance the learning of your students.

Don’t let first year jitters keep you from moving forward with your plans.  Just follow these 4 steps and you will be successful.

4 Steps to Successfully Present Any Lesson

Step 1:  Ask the students what they already know about the subject material to be presented. Allow them to share their knowledge for a limited time.
Step 2:  Present the lesson.  Be sure to define any new vocabulary and include discussion of terms within the material.
Step 3:  Carefully guide students to discover the main idea, plot, principle, or conclusion.
Step 4:  Finally, students should be able to clearly explain the main idea, plot, principle, or conclusion in their own words and be able to defend their position and/or reasoning. They should be able to paraphrase the material presented, retell the story, or restate the main facts.

Continue to follow these 4 steps, and you will build confidence in yourself as a teacher.  An extra benefit is that your students’ retention is greatly enhanced.

I hope this simplified approach to lesson presentation has been helpful.

Have a successful year teaching.

©2017 by Peggy Clark

 

 

 

 

Division: Laying the Groundwork, Part 3

Manipulatives make learning fun.
Manipulatives make learning fun.

 Laying the Groundwork for Teaching Division, Part3

In Part 1 and Part 2 of Laying the Groundwork for Teaching Division, I discussed ways parents can begin laying the groundwork for the future teaching of division to their children.

Teaching division may seem like a complicated task but using manipulatives makes the skill easy to teach and to acquire.

For our purposes in this post, we will use recycled ice cream sticks. Family members could assist in recycling so that you have a useful amount.

Ask extended family members to save items that can be used as manipulatives to teach mathematical skills.
Ask extended family members to save items that can be used as manipulatives to teach mathematical skills.

(Another alternative would be to use tongue depressors. Just ask your doctor for a handful next time you have an appointment. If you tell him or her the purpose for your request, you may find yourself with a generous handful free of charge.)

Let’s Review Place Value First

Before we continue let’s take a moment to discuss the place value of numbers. This is just for the parents’ information.

The number 2 is a one-digit number which is made up of 2 one’s.

The number 23 is a two-digit number which is made up of 2 tens and 3 ones.

The number 234 is a three-digit number which is made up of 2 hundreds, 3 tens, and 4 ones.

In the number 2, the digit 2 is in the one’s place.

In the number 23, the digit 2 is in the ten’s place.

In the number 234, the digit 2 is in the hundred’s place.

In other words, a 3-digit number has 3 digits, one which represents the hundred’s place, one which represents the ten’s place, and one which represents the one’s place.

In the number 2, there is only one digit. This tells us we have 2 ones.

In the number 23, there are two digits. This tells us we have 2 tens and three ones.

In the number 234, there are three digits. This tells us we have 2 hundreds, 3 tens, and 4 ones.

Prepare Your Manipulatives
Choose your colors.

Back to our ice cream sticks. Choose a color you wish to use to represent the hundred’s place. For our demonstration we will use purple.

Choose another color to represent the ten’s place. For our demonstration we will use red.

Now choose another color to represent the one’s place. For our demonstration we will use yellow.

Use markers, paints, crayons, etc., per your color choices

Use markers, paints, or crayons according to your color choice to dye your assortment of ice cream sticks.  If your budget allows, colored ice cream sticks may be purchased inexpensively at various craft stores.

Teaching the Skill of Division Using Your Manipulatives

Now that you have your own manipulatives, let’s see how we can use them to continue laying the groundwork for teaching the concepts of division. You will find it much easier than you thought.

Ice cream sticks may be used to represent numbers.
Ice cream sticks may be used to represent numbers.
To represent the number 234, we will use 2 purple sticks, 3 red sticks, and 4 yellow sticks (per our color choices).

(To make this task even easier, you may decide to only use even numbers for all digits, especially if your child/student is very young.)

234/2 = ____
The example problem we will be solving is 234 divided by 2.
  • Lay the sticks out in proper order to represent the number 234.
Place value represented by manipulatives
Representing place value
Explain to your child what the colors represent.
  • Explain to your child what the colors represent. Always use the same colors to represent the same place value.
  • Tell your child to “pretend” he or she has two friends. The number 234 can represent marbles, cookies, building blocks, or whatever your child likes to play with.
  • Tell your child to divide the 234 between his or her two pretend friends equally.
Direct them through the process.

Draw attention to the 2 “hundred’s” sticks (purple). Share these two sticks equally.  They will place one stick in each pretend friend’s pile.

The “hundreds” divided.

Then direct them to divide the three “ten’s” sticks (red). They will place one stick in each pretend friend’s pile. But what will they do with the third stick? No, they cannot break it.

Problem represented thus far

Show them that they can solve this by trading the “ten” stick for ten “ones” sticks.

Now show them to place the ten “ones” sticks with the 4 “ones” sticks. How many “one” sticks (yellow) do they have now?

Ask them to divide these 14 “ones” sticks between the two “pretend” friends. 7 “ones” sticks should be placed in each pretend friend’s pile.

7 yellow sticks go to each friend
Explain the answer to the problem.

234 has now been divided into two equal but separate groups. The answer to the problem is the amount in one of the groups.

  • So, if we share 234 building blocks equally between two friends, each friend will have 117 blocks.

Therefore, 234 divided by 2 is 117.

234 divided equally between 2 friends.
234 divided equally between two friends.

This is an example of the division of a three-digit number by a one-digit number.

Where to start
  • Begin with the division of a one-digit number by a one-digit number, continue with the division of two-digit numbers by a one-digit number, and then the division of three-digit numbers by a one-digit number.
  • Go at your child’s pace.

Remember this is to be a time of enjoyment. Don’t get stressed if your child struggles at first. Eager learners will pick up on what you are requesting as you continue along.

I do hope these posts have been helpful. Parents can do a tremendous job of helping their children enjoy learning these somewhat difficult tasks.

Just take a few minutes each day to lay the groundwork for division and your child will find this task conquerable.

You may leave any questions in the comment box below.

Copyright 2017 by Peggy Clark

 

 

Description: A Study of Words and Phrases

Description: An Author’s Quest for Words

The study of description is an ongoing and intensive study of individual words and phrases.

The one who wishes to master description is on the pursuit for the right word.

His or her mission is to find the exact word or phrase. Not just any word or phrase will do. It must be the exact word that completely and satisfactorily fits.

His quest will take him on a journey into the vast treasury of vocabulary, usage, and cultural expressions.

He must make himself acquainted with words, introduce himself to those who use words, and associate himself with the tools that open up the world of words.

His acquisition of tools will include general and specialized dictionaries, thesauruses, and word lists.

Great literary works of the present and past will capture his attention as he seeks to increase his vocabulary through this most useful pastime.

He will pore over his tools until he subdues the language and extracts just the right wording to accurately convey.

Then – Eureka!  The right word or phrase has been discovered!

The reader of his words can “see.” His description is complete. He has mastered the description.

Now he begins his quest for the next “right” word.  It must be exact! It must accurately describe.

Good authors must study description.

The following will aid you in your study of description.
  1. Increase your vocabulary through reading quality literature.
  2. Utilize dictionaries and thesauruses. Collect an assortment of specialized dictionaries.
  3. Create and collect word lists.
  4. Observe people, places, and actions.
  5. Study analogy.
  6. Memorize passages such as text from the King James Bible.
  7. Create separate concrete noun and verb lists.
  8. Notice how authors use imagery in their writings.
  9. Don’t give up the pursuit!

Copyright 2017 by Peggy Clark


What descriptive words have you discovered lately?

Have you begun your own word lists?

What have you found to be your best tool to utilize when writing?

Division: A Daunting Task

Laying the Groundwork for Teaching Division

Manipulatives Make Learning Fun Photo
Manipulatives Make Division Easy and Fun
Division is that part of math class that seems daunting to teachers and students alike.

I remember watching my older brother do long division. His homework pages had problems that seemed so long they looked as if they covered half of his paper. I assumed those problems must have been very important.  Doing that type of math looked so grown-up. It was a process that I wanted to be able to conquer. I couldn’t wait to get to that level of math.

Division is not so complicated as many think. It just needs to be taught correctly. Part of that comes with laying the proper groundwork.

Long before division class comes around, children should already be engaging in the concepts of dividing.

Those “official” concepts begin with kindergarten and continue level by level. But division has already been introduced to the child even before that “first” day of formal schooling begins.

For example, children see division at work around the supper table as they share the meal. A family of four shares four pieces of chicken equally. The pumpkin pie is divided into six or eight pieces.  A gallon of milk is poured into glasses. Rolls are shared round the table.  The last one may be divided in two parts to share between eager siblings.

So how can parents begin that formal groundwork for division?

Parents can add to what the child is observing day by day by simply adopting the usage of mathematical terms.

“Please share with your brother,” may be changed to “Please divide the roll between the two of you.”

Look for opportunities to use mathematical terms when appropriate.

Divide these sandwiches so we have two (or four) pieces each.

There’s only four cookies left. Share them equally with your sister.

Divide the candy bar equally between yourself and your brother.

Divide the last of the milk between yourself and Dad.

Divide the potato tots so that each of you get the same amount.”

Children will be alert to the methods their siblings are using because they want to be sure they are getting their “fair share.” This unknowingly draws their attention to the division process.

Another way parents can lay the groundwork is to allow their children to measure.

Mother can let the children measure the ingredients for her favorite recipes. Dad can let the children measure items for his next building or repair project.

We tend to think of measuring as adding to something that we are making; however, we also measure because we are about to subtract from something. We are taking a cup of milk from the gallon.  We are sawing a foot of lumber from six foot of lumber.

Measuring is an indirect way of preparing the child for future concepts concerning division.

This may seem odd, but division is really just a fast way to subtract the same number over and over.

A third way parents can lay the groundwork for division is to actually divide groups of items – not on paper, but with manipulatives.

I’ll discuss an easy and inexpensive way for parents to do this in my next blog post.

Copyright 2017 by Peggy Clark

 

 

 

 

Four Tips to a Great Book

Craft a great story.

Publish your accomplishment.

Keep me coming back for more.

Who doesn’t love lounging under warm covers with a good book in hand?

Which of you haven’t staved off sleep to finish a page-turner?

What keeps your book in my hands when others are screaming for my attention?

These four tips will drown those other voices and get me to your final page.

  1. Get my attention!

  • Use the active voice.

Even if you begin your story with the setting (where, when) that so many of us were taught in class, use active voice instead of passive voice.

Consider the following:

The sun was setting behind the hills that were around the little town of NoWhere. John and Jill were living in a house at the end of Sober Street. There was a garden beside the house. They also had a small flock of chickens.

So nowhere…and boring…and sober….and are you asleep yet?

Or would this be your preference:

The sun peered above the hills and threw its rays into the town of NoWhere reaching through the half-closed curtains at the end of Sober Street. Inside, John and Jill absorbed the potential consequences of their pillaged garden.

  • Activate your story with action.

A dramatic scene is better than an uneventful one; such as, an evening ride that happens to end in a crash. Startle me with the crash and then give me the details.

Consider the following:

John and Jill decided to go for a ride. They were riding down the highway in their red convertible when they happened upon a white truck.

Or would this be your preference:

Brakes screamed as white meshed with red, each vying to occupy the same spot of pavement.

Television dramas reveal the crime first and then continue through a series of events that lead to the capture of the accused. The action creates the desire to know what happened and why.

NCIS is the number one television drama because of the usage of this method. Its viewers keep coming back for more.

  • Use questions to get attention.

Another method is to use questions to gain attention.

Jesus used this method when relaying His Parable of the Lost Sheep:

“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?” Luke 15:4

If nothing else, make me step into the story long enough to answer the question.

  1. Don’t make me hunt for the topic.

When presented with questions from John the Baptist, Jesus’ response was direct: Go and tell. Notice His response in the following verse:

“Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.” Luke 7:22

John’s disciples were to report to John what they themselves had seen and heard. That is telling the story. Teachers call it “Sticking to the Topic.”

Jesus also used strong nouns and active verbs.

Notice the simple but succinct wording that lets us visualize the action:

The blind see. The lame walk. The lepers are cleansed. The deaf hear. The dead are raised. The gospel is preached.

Tell me your story with strong nouns and verbs that let me use my imagination to see the action. Don’t drag me down with a series of unnecessary and lengthy descriptives that send me to a screeching halt and a closed book.

  1. Keep me interested.

  • Give me a scenario that gets my attention and keeps me reading.

When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he told a parable that caught their attention.

“There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of my adversary.” Luke 18:2-3

  • Use the element of surprise to your advantage.

This parable pitted a ruthless judge against a widow who had no man to intercede for her. Her boldness in coming before the judge intrigued the disciples.

How would this judge respond? Obviously, not as the disciples imagined. The element of surprise caught the disciples off-guard causing them to think carefully about what they had just heard. Please surprise me!

  • Get my attention and keep me hunting for the next clue.

Unravel the threads of the story ever so slowly but at just the right speed to keep me traveling to the next page.

Don’t lose me in wasted words and unnecessary actions that add no value to the story.

  1. Make me satisfied with the ending (but you can make me beg for more!)

Cinderella and the Prince lived happily ever after. (But, what change came over the kingdom?)

The woodsman killed the wolf. (But, did Goldilocks overcome the trauma of her grandmother’s death?)

“And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.” Luke 22:38

It is enough. Say what you need to say, no more, no less. (But, why two swords? One cut off a soldier’s ear; what did the other do?)

I expect Good to win over Evil. I expect Evil to be reprimanded. I expect Good to be rewarded regardless of the troubles that Good encounters.

Shakespeare’s classics stood the test of time because of these expectations woven throughout his stories.

Use these four tips to make yours a classic, and let me enjoy it for years to come.

Copyright 2016 by Peggy Clark


Do you have a story waiting to be shared?

Have you used strong nouns and active verbs?

Have you replaced unnecessary and lengthy wording with specific and descriptive wording?

Then now is the time to let someone else preview your writing. Use their analysis to improve your story.

Peggy Clark is the author of So, What's the Latest News? Messages from a Prisoner in Rome published by WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan.

Sacrifices to Be Thankful for This Thanksgiving

Sacrifices Not to be Forgotten

November will soon be gone, and December will be upon us before we know it. This month, as we set aside time to give thanks for the many blessings bestowed upon us, may we not be quick to forget those sacrifices that many have made on our behalf.

Although November 11 is set aside each year to remember our military veterans, it seems these brave men and women who have given their lives are too swiftly forgotten in the bustle of activities that soon follow.

The brave heroes of the past include such great military men as General Douglas MacArthur, General George Patton, and General Dwight Eisenhower. These men led forces against the evil of Hitler, Mussolini, and General Tito’s aggressive and cruel regimes.

Others have also fought for the freedoms of peoples.

General George Washington led a small group of untrained and ill-equipped volunteers against the overwhelming forces of Britain’s highly trained military and their hired elite forces secured from Germany. His bravery and the men and women who fought with him led to the establishment of the United States of America.

Lieutenant Colonel William Travis led a small group of 182 men and women from Texas against the mighty forces of the Mexican General Santa Anna. Although they failed to win this battle, their sacrifices stirred the hearts of the Texan people to prevail in freeing Texas from the Mexican government.  Afterward Texas was granted the privilege of becoming part of the United States.

So many unknown who gave so much.
Cross Grave Marker of Unknown

As We Set Our Tables This Year

As we set our tables this year and share our blessings with those we love and care for, may we also be reminded that the ability to share those blessings without fear of bondage and confinement, was paid for with the blood of courageous men and women whose sacrifices we must never forget.


Do you have a member of the military sitting at your table this Thanksgiving?
Do you have a family story to tell of sacrifices made on behalf of your country? community? family?
What plans have you made to give thanks for the blessings bestowed upon you and your family?

Visual Charts in the Classroom: Two Important Reasons

Visual Charts Help with Presentation of New Material

 Story webs and other types of charts make difficult tasks easier for students.

Story webs and other graphic charts make difficult tasks easier.

Two Important Reasons

Use of visual charts will greatly assist you as you present new material or review concepts already presented to children in your classroom.

Using a visual chart such as the one pictured above can help children in two very important ways.

First, visual charts break major tasks into manageable parts.

Children can become overwhelmed when given new and unfamiliar assignments, especially if they are writing assignments:

  • Paragraphs
  • Essays
  • Book reports
  • Research papers
  • Stories

These and other tasks can be simplified by utilizing charts, spider webs, timelines, Venn diagrams, and other visuals.

The chart shown above is an example of a story web. The chart could be used to teach in other subject areas. However, for our purposes we will use the information on the story web to see how a difficult writing assignment can become quite simple when the task is broken into manageable parts.

Notice that the chart displays the topic as the main part or central focus point of the visual. The topic is what the paragraph, report, or story is about.

TIP:   The graphic could be utilized to focus only on the subject matter, i.e. trees, until the subject matter is sufficiently narrowed down into a suitable topic that is manageable for the child, i.e. oak trees.

The smaller circles on the above chart show the parts that would be used to relate a story.

A simplified way for young children to write a story is to focus on the separate parts individually. Also, when writing a research report, it is beneficial for older students to focus on individual parts also.

The topic has been broken into five parts. As a teacher you may reduce these parts to four, leaving out the ‘why’. You may also wish to insert more parts. Adjust the chart according to the material and children’s ability.

Children should use one sheet of paper or notecard for each part. If you are teaching very young children, focus on teaching one part per day.

Ask questions that will help children ‘brainstorm’ about their character or event. The following are just a few sample questions. Adjust the questions according to the topic.

  • Who is this character, a person, an animal, an object, an event? What are they like? Describe them for me.
  • Where does this person live? Where did this event or series of events take place?
  • What is the character doing? What happened that is making the character happy or sad? What event or action is taking place?
  • When did this happen? How old are the people involved? Did this happen in the past? Is it happening right now? What major world or local events are happening around the main character or other characters in the story that may be influencing them?
  • Why did the characters act the way they did? Why did the car crash? Why did the building fall down? Why was the main character sad or happy or puzzled? Why did they have to go to town, to war, to the West?

TIP:   After these parts have been completed, have the children cut and paste the parts together onto a fresh sheet of paper.

The parts may have to be adjusted as the children put their individual parts together into story form. That will come as they learn to edit their new achievement.

Expect this part of the process to yield a very rough draft. However, it will help the children begin to write their stories on fresh paper using the information they have accumulated greatly reducing their frustration.

Second, visual charts help children stay focused on the task at hand.  

The graphic nature of charts draws children’s attention to the most important aspects of the writing process. It also allows children to know what parts of the process have been accomplished and what has not.

Whether using a spider web to show relationships or timelines to show a sequence of events, visuals are great assistants when it comes to presenting new material.

Copyright 2016 by Peggy Clark

What types of visuals do you use in your classroom?
How have these visuals helped you with your presentations?
Can you relate a teaching experience using visuals that may help others in their teaching endeavors? If so, please share in the comment box at bottom of page.
Peggy Clark is the author of So, What's the Latest News? Messages from a Prisoner in Rome published by WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan. More of her writing can be found at http://sowhatsthelatestnews.info.

 

Culture, History, Values

The Passing Down of Values

God’s Instructive Command Concerning Communicating to the Next Generation

Communication of historical events and family values is the glue that works to hold a family, generation, and culture intact.

When cracks begin to develop in a particular society, it comes many times as a result of the breakdown in the passing down of values, principles, and history from one generation to another.

Cooperation within certain people groups takes place because they share the same language, same values, and same vision.

When people within a certain group have different languages, cultural values, and diverse visions of their future, division and other destructive events begin to happen.

Psalm 78 enlightens us as to the importance of passing down the knowledge of historical events and the values and standards of a society.

Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

We are instructed to yield our hearing to a particular instruction that the Psalmist is about to impart.

I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:

Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.

The Psalmist instructs us in the art of communication.

The Psalmist is about to instruct us in the art of communication to the next generation. He is letting us know that he also received this type of communication from his forefathers.

We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.

For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children.

The Psalmist is revealing how the LORD began this type of instructive communication Himself.

The LORD Himself gave us an example.

The LORD established a testimony in Jacob. In other words, He set an example.

God’s dealings with Jacob and his family reveals God’s pattern in dealing with those whom He loves.

Then the Lord appointed a law. This was an instructional command to be followed.

God appointed the law or instruction that was commanded to our forefathers that they should make these things known to their children. This type of instruction was to be perpetual, continuously handed down to the next generation.

The Ten Commandments taken from Exodus 20
The Ten Commandments taken from Exodus 20
The purpose for this was threefold:
  1. To show the next generation the praises of the LORD
  2. To show God’s strength and power
  3. To show the wonderful works that God had done

That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children.

This was to be a generational task of revealing God’s threefold purpose in communicative instruction. Fathers are commanded to share this knowledge with their children. Those children were to continue in this pattern of sharing with their children. And so the pattern was to continue down through the ages.

That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:

And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.

The effects of following God’s instructive pattern is evident.

Following in this pattern would yield several results. The effect is seen in the above verses. That the generation to come might:

  1. Set their hope in God
  2. Would not forget God’s works
  3. Would keep God’s commandments
  4. Would not follow those whose hearts were not right with God

As we share with our children what God has done for us in the past, the telling of stories from our forefathers as to how our native countries came about, the opportunities that have been afforded us because of God’s intervention, and our thankfulness for His provisions even in the most difficult of trials, our children will give ear and desire to follow the God that is truly worthy of all our praises.

When we fail to follow God’s example in communicating the truths of history, we deprive the following generation of the knowledge of God and his intervening in the affairs of men. We then reap the results of a stubborn and rebellious generation that will not set its heart aright and follow God’s commandments.

Copyright 2016 by Peggy Clark


A quick look through the Scriptures reveals the many times that the children of Israel were reminded of God’s deliverance from their captivity in Egypt, the mighty miracles performed at the Red Sea and the Jordan River, as well as many other such events. Are you telling your own stories of God’s deliverance from your captivity in sin and the many miracles that God has performed for you and those around you?
Our forefathers wisely placed the Ten Commandments in visible areas in each school classroom. Does your classroom have these commandments visibly placed?
Do the Sunday School classes where you attend have the Ten Commandments visibly placed?
What are you doing to continue the instructive pattern of communication that our Lord gave to us?
To receive these posts by email, please find subscription box in the sidebar. Feel free to comment concerning this post in the comment box below.
Peggy Clark is the author of So, What's the Latest News? Messages from a Prisoner in Rome. A preview of this title is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads. Ask for it at your local Christian retailer.

 

 

 

Detective Work an Author Can Appreciate

Think Like a Detective to Improve Upon Your Writing

Writing a good story is like being a good detective.

Any piece of writing can be appreciated if it is well-crafted. Readers love a good novel and will eagerly anticipate an ongoing series if they fall in love with the characters and plot.

Authors may follow generally accepted writing processes that help them finish their stories with flair.

However, any story can be greatly improved if one takes the mindset of a detective during the editing process.

Check details carefully.
Check details carefully.

Observe details.

To be a good detective, one must be a good observer of details including behavior of characters, crime scene evidence, time of day or year, etc.

To be effective, an author must also carefully observe the details of his or her writing with intense scrutiny. It is the little details that can increase readers’ interest, but it is also the little details that can bring confusion and reader dissatisfaction.

To avoid disappointment, therefore, an author must edit his work with great attention to the details concerning all areas of the writing process.

As a detective walks through the scene under investigation, the detective takes an overall view of what has taken place.

Obviously, a crime has happened. But what exactly was the crime? How did it happen? Who did it? What was the motive that would cause such an event to take place?

Pay close attention to the chain of events.

The detective then takes a second look and makes a hypothesis as to what happened. He (or she) may have several hypotheses at this point.

However, the hypotheses must fit his observation.

Did the suspect enter the room through the door or window? If the window was broken then the assumption may be made that the suspect came through the window. If no windows were broken and every window was locked, then any hypotheses that began with an entrance through a window would be discarded until and unless further evidence was uncovered which would lead to a different conclusion.

Broken glass photo
Evidence of broken glass

An author must also step through his or her story reviewing the events that occurred.  Are the events in order?

A careful overview may reveal that some parts are out-of-place.

Did a character named John have a conversation with another character, Jill, at the beginning of the story and then suddenly in chapter five be newly introduced (again) to Jill?

Did a character named Joe die in chapter 3 and have a car wreck in chapter 4?

The above examples may seem silly, but they do happen. It is easy to overlook a seemingly insignificant character’s appearance in one’s writing, especially when one is writing a lengthy novel.

Is the sequence correct?
Is the sequence correct?

Is anything missing?

What is lacking that is necessary to the story?

After the hypotheses have been formulated, the detective carefully looks back over the scene making note of things that are missing.

What should be there but isn’t? What is making the scene being observed incomplete?

Is there a blank space on the wall with evidence that a picture once hung there? Are there speakers but no stereo? Is there an open safe?

Empty picture hanger
What’s missing?

An author must also look for any writing that is out of context. Are the characters believable? Is the setting appropriate? Are clues missing that are needed to solve the mystery?

All clues or inciting moments should lead up to the conclusion.

Remove unrelated material.

Finally, the detective must disregard any details that have nothing to do with the crime.

Food in the refrigerator would have nothing to do with a broken window unless food was taken from the refrigerator. An untouched bedroom would be inconsequential to a crime scene located in the living room except to say no one had entered from that location.

An author must also delete those unnecessary details that are not related to the story line and only succeed in slowing down readers who are in a quest to reach the next heart-stopping moment in a series of events.

Those types of unnecessary additions are hard for authors to discover. That is when the detective and the author must bring in another set of eyes to view the evidence.

Hire an editor to proof read your work.

Enlist someone else to preview the material before closing the case or might I say, book.

Will the assistant detective come to the same conclusions as the main detective?

Can the author’s assistant visualize the story line just as the author did?

Were the assistants confused at any point as they followed through the chain of events from start to finish?

Did either get bogged down in a specific area of their search?

Even if the assistant detective is surprised at the final outcome of the investigation, does the assistant feel satisfied with the conclusion?

The assistant to the author may also be delightfully surprised as the assistant concludes his or her investigation into the writings of the author, but is the assistant satisfied with the final product?

Get others to review your writing.
Get others to review your writing.
Yes, writing can be greatly improved when the detective’s cap is put on and errors are discovered and corrected before reaching the hands of readers.

Copyright 2016 by Peggy Clark

Feel free to comment if this post has been beneficial to you. I enjoy hearing your input.
Peggy Clark is the author of So, What's the Latest News? Messages from a Prisoner in Rome, a reader-friendly study of Colossians available from WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan.

 

 

Confronting Cultures of Darkness

Confronting Cultures of Darkness

The thought processes within a particular group of people control the direction in which that particular group or society continues. Although outside factors may influence one’s thinking, every person has the ability to choose the direction his life will take. His lifestyle is just an outward expression of what resides in his heart.

“For as [man] thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7).

Outward expressions of man’s heart is seen in his artistic, musical, architectural, philosophical, and scholastic tastes and achievements (or lack thereof).

Past societies are known by their cultural achievements. Some societies have given mankind a better way of living than was previously known. Others, however, have left destruction and decay in their aftermath.

In order for mankind to be able to change the culture into a “kinder, gentler” one, mankind must be willing to look into his heart and see the darkness that dwells there. He must be willing to allow the Light of God’s Word to enter in and enlighten him into what is possible when he yields to the precepts set in God’s Word. As he ceases to be conformed to the darkness of this world and yields to the transforming power of God’s Word, he begins to realize that his life has purpose and meaning.

That purpose is to glorify God and influence with godly seed the society or culture of which he is a part. The biblicly-enlightened man is to influence society, but he can only do this if his foundation is firmly established. Otherwise, he will be influenced by the society around him.

A look through the eyes of history will show how societies rise or fall, how their thinking processes dictate their treatment of others, and how their peoples prosper or suffer great cruelty under their governmental leaders.

There are marked differences between those societies and governments who allow the absolutes of God’s Word to influence their decisions and those who turn away from or neglect the absolutes of God’s Word.

How do we confront the culture of darkness for the betterment of mankind?

It may seem like a lost cause for a man to think that he is able to turn a society from the path of darkness and chaos. However, light penetrates the darkness no matter how small that light is.

Individuals with vision have changed the course of history. That course, however, has been determined by those individual’s worldviews. Whether a godly worldview or a humanistic, man-centered worldview, individuals have had great influence on the society around them.

Jesus, as an individual, exerted such a profound influence over His disciples that it was told that they “turned the world upside down.” These men stood strong in their determination to spread the gospel. Although highly persecuted, their stand for the gospel has influenced mankind ever since.

Paul was used mightily by God in confronting the evil in his day. Since his time, many other men and women have had a profound impact on their societies: Jonathan Edwards, George Washington, James Madison, Billy Sunday, Dwight Moody, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Clara Barton, etc.

We also remember others who have had great influence on their societies: Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Huxley, Kant, Darwin, and Marx.

The above individuals’ influences have continued to impact societies today. Some for good, some for evil.

However, as individuals, we also have an influence for good or evil in our society. So, how, as individuals, can we confront the evil of this world? How can we make an impact that leaves society better for our having existed on this earth?

Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 1:13

Speak with sound words.

First, we must speak with sound words. Those words convey the intent of our hearts. If our minds and hearts are set on glorifying God, we will choose our words carefully and purposefully.

“But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

In meekness, instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

2 Timothy 2:23-26

Our words can make a deep impression in the lives of others.  The way our words are expressed can make a difference in how receptive others are to those words.

Speak with words composed of truth.

Next, our words must be composed of truth.

“These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbor; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates” (Zechariah 8:16).

Our words should be composed of truth whether within our own communities, in the judgment halls, or in conversation with other nations and peoples.

Stand in truth.

“Stand therefore, having your loins gird about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness” (Ephesians 6:14).

Then, we must stand in that truth.

No matter how the tide of opinion may try to sway us from our stance, we must uphold truth. It is truth that will bring liberty to those caught in the lies of deception.

Uphold truth to society.

Finally, we must uphold truth to society. Truth is not based upon man’s opinion but firmly upon the Word of God. The foundation of truth must be firmly established. It is the absolute upon which societies will be judged. It is also the glue that holds a nation together. Without it, all that is left is a society in chaos.

“The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17).

Copyright 2016 Peggy Clark
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Peggy Clark is the author of So, What's the Latest News? Messages from a Prisoner in Rome. Available from WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan; Amazon; Barnes & Noble; and other retailers.