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Cancer: The Dreaded Diagnosis

As I wrote my last post (see Life’s Unexpected Adjustments or Crises?) I did not realize how soon life’s unexpected adjustments would come to a dear friend of mine.

I found the hospital number in my messages this  morning.  I called certainly not expecting to hear the word ‘cancer,’ but as the conversation continued I feared the worst. 

Yes, the diagnosis is cancer.  Yet, on the other side of the phone line the voice was amazingly calm and peaceful.

What can a friend do but cry?  But there is hope.

Yes, I prayed with my dear friend.

Her thoughts were not on herself.  She is a Christian and does not fear eternity.  Her thoughts were on her loved ones that she wants to see in Heaven one day.

Will this diagnosis take her life?

Jesus already has her life.  Cancer cannot take that away from her.

I pray for her complete healing.

God works in mysterious and miraculous ways.  After all, Christ is the Great Physician.  He knows what the body needs.  It is no small thing for Him to heal in a moment’s time.

So life will be an adjustment for her and her family.  Health, finances, schedules will all be changed.

Yet, one thing will not change.  She will continue to be God’s child.  God is her Heavenly Father and He will not forsake her.

We, as God’s children, have that promise continually.  “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”

So today is an adjustment from the normal.  Tests are being run.  Doctors will discuss with family their future plans.

Yet, one adjustment will not be made.  Cancer will never defeat her.  She is God’s and no weapon formed against her will stand. Eternity cannot rob her of her joy.  For that, I am grateful.

I have a sister in Christ.  And, IN CHRIST she will remain.  To God be the glory!

I look forward to hearing her testimony of complete healing.

Thank you for your prayers for her speedy recovery.

©2018 by Peggy Clark

Life’s Unexpected Adjustments or Crises?

Unexpected Events

It has been the most unusual day.  I am sitting in a parking lot outside a medical facility with my car hood up.  My car has not overheated, but I have a split hose.  Thankfully, an employee inside has offered to take my husband to an auto parts store during her lunch break.

While I am waiting for his appointment to be over, I have encountered a spider.  I knock it off my skirt but have no idea where it is now.  We will have to endure the heat and the car together.

Next the most unusual occurrence of all.  As I look up in my mirror, I see a fawn running across the lawn.  It must have been spooked from its hiding place or lost from its mother.  I hope it can find its way back to where she left it.

Photo of fawn standing in grassSo unexpected to see a fawn running across the grass in a highly visible location. (Photo by Vincent Van-Zalinger. Courtesy of Unsplash)

Unexpected Events Sometimes Call for Major Adjustments

I have been sitting here reading about crisis points of belief.  The author speaks of making major adjustments in our lives to follow God.

I am thinking of how thankful I am that I can be at peace no matter what happens.  Not everything is a crisis even though circumstances may present themselves as such.

Life happens.  Things wear out or decay.  New things quit working properly.  It is to be expected.  Some things we can prepare for, but some take us by surprise.

No matter what happens or what adjustments need to be made in our lives, God is faithful.  We can rely on the living God to take us through every situation.

Road sign photo
Not all changes in direction are crises.  (Photo by Brett Sayles.  Courtesy of Pexels.)

Other’s Circumstances May Cause Us to Make Adjustments

We have now been to the auto parts store; the hose has been replaced; and we are on our way.

Yet, another encounter—a gentleman and his grandson are locked out of his vehicle.  We offer our help.  After much effort and assistance his door is finally unlocked.

I am thankful that my husband was not afraid or too proud to ask for help when we needed it.  We were given assistance in our time of need.  God was very gracious to allow the hose to break after we arrived at our destination and not in transit on the highway.

I think of the gentleman locked out of his vehicle.  It reminds me of how horrible it would be to be locked out of a place much more important than a vehicle.

It would be tragic to be locked out of Heaven because we were too proud or too afraid to ask for the help we needed.  Our Saviour stands ready to hear our heart’s cry.  If we will admit our sinful condition, Christ Jesus will cleanse us, forgive us, and meet our needs.

Sometimes life does require adjustments.  Schedules can change.  Health can change.  Financial conditions can change.  Our jobs can disappear overnight.  At such times we may experience a crisis of belief.  We must remember, however, that God never changes.  He remains faithful.

An Adjustment for Which We All Must Be Prepared

There is one adjustment for which we must be prepared.  That adjustment will be our entrance into eternity.

Eternity waits for everyone.  Which eternity we experience is our choice.  There are only two doors.

Don’t wait until Heaven’s door is locked to ask for entrance to a glorious eternity.  The other door leads to an eternal suffering no one wants to enter.

May you and I meet one day in eternity in Heaven’s glorious abode.

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  1 Thessalonians 5:23

©2018 by Peggy Clark

Peggy Clark is the author of So, What's the Latest News?  Messages from a Prisoner in Rome. This commentary of Colossians may be purchased at Amazon and other online retailers.

Abraham’s Altars: A Visible Journal and Example to Us

(Photo of man with luggage beginning journey by Mantas Hesthaven from Pexels.)
(Photo by Mantas Hesthaven from Pexels.)

Ever been told what to do but not given the directions?

What if someone told you to sell your house, pack your belongings, and leave without any idea of where you were to go?

Abram received such a call.  The amazing thing is that he obeyed the call, sold his house and possessions, and started a journey not knowing where he went.

 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee. (Genesis 12:1)

Abram’s Call

God called Abram unto a place of which Abram did not know. God did not reveal the location to him, tell him a hotel room would be waiting, or what community services were available.  He only knew he had heard God’s voice speak to him.

Abram in obedience began the journey away from what was secure to him, away from family, and away from familiar places.  He had to trust that God knew what He was doing and where He was leading him. Because of his obedience God changed Abram’s name to Abraham.

Abraham’s Altar

In every place God spoke to him, Abraham took time to build an altar.  The altar was a visible reminder that he had heard God speak.

Whenever Abraham began to wander, he had a physical place to which he could return and remind himself of God’s voice.

As we read about Abraham’s journeys in Scripture, we find that Abraham returned at various times to the altars he had built so that he could commune with God and regain his focus.

In our journey thru life, we can and should build altars that remind us of where God has brought us from to where He is taking us.

Keeping mementos and collecting souvenirs of places we’ve been become more precious to us the longer we live.  The mementos bring back special memories tucked away in our hearts.  The souvenirs remind us of precious time spent with family and friends.

Scripture speaks of stirring up our minds by way of remembrance (2 Peter 3:1).  When and where did we hear God’s calling?  What caused us to start down the path we are taking?  How did we know this was the right job or the right school?  How do we know we are in God’s will at this moment?

A Remembrance of Important Events

Abraham’s building of altars was his way of keeping a remembrance of important events in his life.

Writing two letters was Apostle Peter’s way of reminding the recipients of the words the prophets had spoken and the commandments that the apostles had given to the early church.  Those letters are recorded in 1 and 2 Peter.

Building Personal Memorials

Today we build memorials to do the same.  But how do we build personal memorials so we do not forget the important events in our own lives?

The Scrapbook

Some people keep scrapbooks.

Saving ‘scraps’ of life whether it be placemats from restaurants, postcards and stamps, or photos of birthday parties and anniversaries, and attaching them to pages in a book provides people a way to look back over their lives.

Those ‘scraps’ bring to their remembrance what might have been forgotten if they had not taken the time to memorialize them.

Keeping mementos and recording events helps us to remember special times.
Keeping mementos and recording events helps us to remember special times. (Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels.)

The Journal

Keeping a journal is another way we can refresh our memories.  Writing down why we are doing this or that can be invaluable when we feel as if we are stuck in life.

Recording goals and noting when those goals are attained helps us see the progress we are making.

Prayers jotted down and answers received encourage us when we find ourselves in need of another answer to our prayers. The noting of scriptures that gave us light during difficult times serve as reminders of God’s presence.  Chronicling hard-learned lessons can prevent us from making the same mistakes again.

There are many types of journals, but in one respect they are all the same. They are a memorial of our lives lived daily.

Journals are a place we can return to when we forget where we are and a place where our remembrance can stir our minds to renew the plans God purposed for our lives.

A journal is a report card.  It shows us that God has been at work in our past and reminds us that He is still at work in our present.

Did your parents keep a scrapbook of your childhood?

Do you keep a journal?  If so, what type of journal do you keep?

In what way was Abraham’s building of altars like keeping a journal?

I encourage you to begin journaling your special moments if you have not done so.

How precious it would be to recall the words that you feel God has spoken to you when you find yourself needing to remember.  I am sure Abraham was glad he had a place to remind himself of God’s words.

©2018 by Peggy Clark

 

 

Missing Out on Chicken and Tomato Biscuit?

Sitting in a Southern restaurant wondering why the staff hasn’t heard of a chicken and tomato biscuit with mayonnaise.

Grilled chicken is especially delicious when placed inside a freshly baked biscuit.
Grilled chicken is especially delicious when placed inside a freshly baked tomato biscuit. (Photo from Pixabay courtesy of Pexels.)

Does the staff realize what they’ve been missing? 

Everyone should have the opportunity to devour one of these at least once in their lifetime.

Summertime invokes the desire for a fresh slice of tomato on every sandwich.  That is, if the tomato is freshly picked from the garden.  Who cares for an unripe tomato — unless they’re fried, of course.

We wonder about people who don’t know about things we suppose they should know. Yet, how can they know if no one has told them?

Nothing like making your own fresh biscuits. (Photo courtesy of Pexels.)
Nothing like making your own fresh tomato biscuits. (Photo courtesy of Pexels.)

Let me introduce you to the chicken and tomato biscuit. 

Cut a freshly baked biscuit in half.  Slather each half with your favorite mayonnaise.

Don’t forget the tomato!

Slice a ripe tomato.  Place one or two slices on the biscuit.  Salt and pepper if you like.

Add a piece of chicken, and wallah, you’re in for a treat.

Have a napkin handy.

Slices of ripe tomato taste delicious on any sandwich.
Sliced tomato ready for making your chicken and tomato biscuit.

Something else you may be missing

While we’re enjoying our biscuits, let me introduce you to something even more wonderful.

I forget how many people don’t know about it. Yet, I am reminded that people are ignorant of the knowledge of this.  They don’t know that they are kept from this because of their lack of understanding.

Why do they not understand?  Is it because they haven’t been told?
How can anyone partake of something to which they have never been exposed?

Let me introduce you to Truth

Let me introduce you to Truth.  Truth is a living eternally-existent Being.

In Truth resides all truth.  When someone does not know Truth, they do not realize Who they are missing.

Some people simply do not understand that they are alienated or separated from the eternal life that resides in Truth.

Who wouldn’t want to know Truth?
Who wouldn’t want to partake of the eternal life that resides in Him?

Know Truth

To know Truth is to be set free.

In fact, knowing Truth sets a person free from the blindness of his or her heart (John 8:32).

Truth then sends His Spirit to guide that person into all truth (John 16:13).  Everyone who knows Truth hears His voice of truth as it is spoken unto them (John 18:37b).

Find Truth

Where can truth be found?  Truth is found in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:21).

All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge reside in Christ (Colossians 2:3).  The great wonder is that He wants us to partake of those treasures.

Just as that chicken and tomato biscuit fills the longing in our hungry stomachs, Truth fills the longing in our hungry hearts.

Don’t miss Truth by not knowing Truth

Just ask Truth to fill you with truth.  He will remove any blindness in your heart, and you will no longer be alienated from the life that is found only in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:18).

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

By the way, I hope you enjoyed your chicken and tomato biscuit.  Invite Jesus to eat the next one with you.

©2018 by Peggy Clark

 

 

 

 

Tips and Encouragement for First-Year Home Schoolers

Feeling jittery as you plan for your first year of home schooling?  No need to worry as information concerning home schooling abounds.  In fact, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the abundance.

First year jitters are natural and expected.  Every parent has fears as they begin teaching their children.  Those fears will turn into confidence as the years progress.

To help you with your first year of home schooling I have listed some tips and encouragements. You can read them by clicking the link below.

Check out these ABC’s for Your First Year of Home Schooling.

ABC’s for Your First Year of Home Schooling PDF

Have a great first year as you join the ranks of many who are new to home schooling.

©peggy clark 2018

If the tips have helped you in any way please let us know by leaving a comment below.

Let’s encourage one another.  If you are a veteran home schooler and have additional tips, please share in the comments section below.

Winnowing Wheat: Picture of the Greatest Harvest

Winnowing Wheat

A Memory from My Youth

It was time for wheat harvest. The days were very hot. Dad and Uncle Finley kept a close watch on the fields so that the wheat could be harvested at just the right moment.

They also kept a close watch on the sky. A hard rain and/or high wind could ruin the crop. That is a fearful thing for a farmer.

Wheat heads are ripening fast.
(Photo by Alejandro Brown.)

I can still see Uncle Finley eating grains of wheat as he leaned back against a wall.  He would take the wheat tops and rake the seeds out into his hand and eat them.

As a child I was curious. I remember asking Uncle Finley why he was eating the seeds. He told me that the seeds were wheat and placed some in my hand and told me to eat them.

I looked at him strangely.  I thought, ‘I have never eaten these seeds. Will they hurt me?’

Uncle Finley started telling me that the seeds were what we used to make our bread.  In order to convince me, he also told me of other foods we make with wheat.

Yes, I ate the seeds.  They were hard, of course, yet they were tasty.

There's nothing tastier than a slice of warm bread with freshly made butter slathered on top.
There’s nothing tastier than a slice of warm bread with freshly made butter slathered on top.  (Photo courtesy of Pexels.)

Winnowing by Machine

Usually a farmer in our community came with his combine. The combine would thresh the wheat, separating the seeds from the chaff and straw.  Then another man riding on the combine would pull a lever and let the grains of wheat pour into sacks.

The sacks of wheat were tied with twine and stored in our granary. Some would be used for flour; but most for feeding our animals.

The straw (the stems of the wheat plants) would be left behind in the field. Later, we would bind the straw into bales and store in the barn for bedding.

Winnowing wheat is a hot and tiring job whether by machine or by hand.
Winnowing wheat is a hot and tiring job whether by machine or by hand.

Winnowing by Hand

I remember times when we had to separate the wheat from the chaff by hand. Those were back breaking days.

The wheat would be spread out on a large white sheet. Each of us would take a corner and lift the sheet. Then we would fling the wheat up into the air so that the wind would carry away the chaff leaving the heavier grains of seed to fall back into the sheet. This process is called winnowing.

It seemed we could never get the wheat clean enough. Yet, when Mom saw that the wheat was finally clean, we would gather up the corners of the sheet so that we wouldn’t lose any of the precious grains.  Then we would pour the grain into clean sacks and store for later use.

Winnowing the World

Those harvesting days help me to understand Scriptures such as Matthew 13:30 and Matthew 3:12.

“Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matthew 13:30

“Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  Matthew 3:12

Jesus used fields of wheat as a picture of the peoples of the world.
Jesus used fields of wheat as a picture of the peoples of the world. (Photo courtesy of Pexels.)

Jesus speaks of His children as being precious wheat. The floor is the world that He has created. The wind and other forces of nature are under His control.

Just as our family lifted the sheets and let the wind carry the chaff away, so will Jesus separate or winnow His precious seed from the chaff.

Jesus will gather his precious children into His garner which is heaven.  And the chaff, those who rejected His love extended toward them, will be cast into an unquenchable fire.

Having harvested wheat, I understand just how precious each grain of wheat is.  Plowing, disking, seeding, fertilizing, and harvesting is no easy task. It is very labor-intensive.

Neither has Jesus spared any expense, even giving His own life, so that at harvest time many souls will be ready for heaven.

I am glad that I am one of those that Jesus considers precious seed. I look forward to the day when He will garner me into heaven.

Are you one of those precious seeds?  If not, you can be.

Let Jesus speak to your heart as you read these words from John 3:16-17; 36.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Believe on Jesus the Messiah.  Give your heart to Him today, and He will prepare you for heaven.

Then when Jesus winnows the peoples of the earth, you will be part of those who will be gathered to live with Him in heaven.

(Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keets Moved to New Home

Adventurous Keet Flies the Coop!

We recently moved our keets to their new home (biddy cage).

The keets seem to enjoy the fresh air and the ability to see beyond their protected space.

(Keets are baby guineas in case you didn’t know.)

Keets are happy in their new living quarters.
Keets are happy in their new living quarters.

Keet Saved from Disaster

One of the keets is especially adventurous.  In fact, before we expected to move the keets to a larger space, this keet ‘flew the coop.’  Thankfully, I heard her (or his) activity before she got entangled in anything harmful.

Now in the biddy cage, this keet has already decided to roost on a low branch placed strategically inside the cage.  She (or possibly he) is obviously a leader.

Keets love the view from the biddy cage.
Keets love the view from inside the biddy cage.

Being a leader can have its advantages and its disadvantages.

Inside the safety of the storage container (see previous post), the keets were kept warm under the heat of a light bulb.  They had plenty of fresh water and food given to them daily.  The container was kept clean (keets are messy).

Yet, this keet decided to try its wings and fly over the top and onto the floor in one of our bedrooms.  If I had not heard its wings fluttering against a vent, this bird may have died from lack of food and water.

Because of this keet’s activities, the keets were moved outdoors.  Within the protection of the biddy cage, this keet is now free to try her wings and encourage others to do the same.

Although we have not seen any of the other keets resting on the branch, I am sure that encouragement from this keet will have them following suit shortly.

Protective Boundaries

To follow the adventurous keet as it flew out of the protective storage container could have been disastrous for the other keets.  However, within the protection of the biddy cage, it is advantageous for the keets to follow in resting on the roost.

Follow the Leader?

Just like the keets, children are young and inexperienced in the ways of the world.  They do not understand that danger lurks outside the protective boundaries set by their parents and other caring adults.

Children repeat the words they hear, imitate the actions they see, and model their lives after those that are honored as leaders or heroes. 

Children repeat the words they hear, imitate the actions they see, and model their lives after those that are honored as leaders or heroes.  Sadly, many times children follow the unwise and corrupt.  Habits are formed which lead to destruction.

Children will follow the leader.  However, it is important that the leader be knowledgeable and upright and praiseworthy.  What is cultivated in the child is what has been honored before their eyes.

An Example Worthy of Imitation

As we lead our children are we cultivating that which is praiseworthy?  Are we cultivating what is honorable?  Are we giving our children an example to imitate that follows truth and godliness?

Can we say as Paul did, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Philippians 3:17)?

Children are great imitators.  May they ‘mark’ those who walk wisely and follow their example.

©2018 by Peggy Clark

Keets Bring New Life to the Farm

 

Keets are happy in their new living quarters.
Keets are happy in their new living quarters.

New Life on the Farm

Seeing new life around the farm is a blessing.  Blossoming faces lift themselves toward life-sustaining sunshine.  Butterflies flit once again.  And the sounds of animal babies mooing or peeping or meowing let us know that life continues even after winter’s long and harsh visit.

Keets Are Here!

Keets have arrived.  That’s baby guineas for newbies to farm life.  They are a skittish bunch.  I’m afraid we may have more males than we desire, but as long as they get along we will be okay.

Keets are finding out where the feed is located.
Keets are finding out where the feed is located.  We removed the shavings after this photo.

Living quarters are a large plastic storage container with paper towels for flooring.  We’ve discovered that keets like to scratch for their feed so the feeder has been removed.  We also took out the shavings and replaced them with paper towels to accommodate their feeding habits.

The keets are a happy bunch.  They huddle together, sing together, eat together, and sleep together in a corner of the bin. Life holds many exciting adventures for them.  We pray that they will continue happily when we place them in a larger pen, and finally, to the yard.

Fresh Perspective

New life is always welcome.  It refreshes and cleanses away the dreary days of winter.  The hope of new life gives us something to look forward to each day.

Anticipation is the promise of what can be if we will only look for it.

Anticipation of new life

Anticipation is the promise of what can be if we will only look for it.  Sometimes it makes us impatient wondering where new life can be found.

But new life is not far from any of us.  In fact, it’s closer than we may imagine.

“Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”  John 4:10

Keets have their own personalities.

Gift of New Life

Every living creature needs water to survive.  The keets must have fresh water each day and I must give it to them.  They cannot give it to themselves.

Life is the same.  We cannot give ourselves life.  It must come from someone else.  Our parents birthed us into this world.  They gave us what we needed to survive.

New life is the same.  We cannot give it to ourselves.  It must come from someone else.  That someone else is Jesus Christ.  Only He has the power to give it to us.

New life is eternal.  It is spiritual.  It lasts beyond this world.

“Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”  John 4:13-14

Jesus the Messiah offers the water of life to all who will come to Him.  His gift of new life sustains through all eternity.

“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3

 

Overcoming Obstacles in Life

Is there an obstacle looming before you? Do the circumstances of life hinder you from moving forward? Be encouraged. No obstacle is too large to overcome if you endure.

The Pioneer’s Obstacle

Our view of what lies ahead may seem overwhelming.
Our view of what lies ahead may seem overwhelming.

American pioneers traveling westward sought passageways through the majestic Rocky Mountain Range.  Determination and grit led them to overcome the difficulties encountered as they faced the daunting heights and freezing temperatures.

Spurred on by their belief that a future and a hope lay on the other side of the seemingly impossible to climb obstacle, they crossed into a land rich with resources.

Fruit trees provided sustenance for those who happened upon them.
Fruit trees provided sustenance for those who happened upon them.

The fertile valleys gave families sustenance.  Homes were built.  Towns and cities sprung up.  Businesses boomed.  The quest for a better life was fulfilled for many even though it came at great cost.

Overcoming Our Obstacles

Jesus is with us as we walk through our valleys and as we climb our mountains. His rod and staff guide us as we face each challenge of life.  His promise to never leave us or forsake us is as true today as when He first spoke it.

We may have a “Rocky Mountain Range” looming before us.  Yet, what we see as an obstacle hindering our movement forward, may instead be the gateway to a new and fulfilling ministry for Christ.

If it is, our view of the impasse does not hinder what lies ahead. God is not limited by our circumstances.  Neither does any obstacle challenge Him or His resources.  Instead, they are opportunities for Him to display His unlimited power.

 

The valleys may meander, but they lead to greater heights and accomplishments.
The valleys may meander, but they lead to greater heights and accomplishments.

Do not let opposition impede your progress. If God has told you move forward, then keep moving forward.  Acknowledge Him every step of the way.

The howling winds, deep snows, and other weather conditions gave the pioneers limited opportunity to reach the other side of their obstacle. Your window of opportunity may be limited also.

Don’t let God’s promises to you slip away. Grasp hold of what He has for you.

And remember, the promise of Heaven is just ahead.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation:  for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.  James 1:12.

Photo by Pexels
Accept your challenge and win the crown!

Concerned About Your Language Arts Curriculum?

 Is your language arts curriculum satisfactory, or does it fall short in key areas?

Good educators are concerned about their students’ ability to communicate, to write effectively, and to think clearly. Therefore, they are concerned about the textbooks that are available for their use.  Although there is a wide variety of language arts curriculum available, not all are adequate.

Vocabulary                                   

To be able to communicate effectively, students need skills in delivery and the use of a wide variety of vocabulary words. Being able to speak one’s thoughts clearly is a skill learned. Being familiar with the dictionary and the thesaurus are vital.

Punctuation and Grammar

Knowing proper punctuation and grammar rules are not enough. Students need to know how to use these rules in their writing and in their speech.  Therefore, the curricula used should give students ample opportunities to use the skills taught both in written and in oral formats.

Research

Students also need knowledge of a wide variety of topics. Having to research a wide variety of topics will open the students’ understanding of and interest in the world around them. Therefore, writing assignments should not just include what happened on students’ summer vacations.

Creative Writing

A wide variety of creative writing assignments should be given. Poetry, haiku, song, and adventure are only a few examples.

Students love being the heroes of their own stories. Of course, having a list of topics for students to choose from is extremely helpful.

Examples

Students should be provided with good writing examples for each assignment. Good examples encourage good writing. If the curricula does not do this properly, educators must supplement as needed.

Rubrics

Educators should provide rubrics which detail exactly what is expected for each writing assignment.  These checklists provide clarity and help tremendously in the grading process.

Presentation

After assignments have been edited and revised, students should be given the opportunity to present their work orally.  This helps develop their speaking abilities. It also gives students the opportunity to critique others’ as they develop their own listening skills.

Publication

Students should be given the opportunity to publish their work. This can be as easily done as posting their work on a bulletin board. However, collecting their work in a book format for others to view is advantageous. In this way, students can track their own progress during the current year and into future years. Publishing writing in an e-book format has now become a viable option.

Educators should carefully evaluate the language arts textbooks that are being used to see if they provide what is necessary for students to develop adequate communication skills. In today’s fast-paced world, proper communication skills are a must.

Do you have concerns about your language arts curriculum?  Please share in the comments below.

If you are extremely please with the language arts curriculum you are using, please share the title so others can check it out.

©2018 by Peggy Clark