June 2008

The Importance of Line Breaks

Here’s a tale about a note that came home from school awhile back. It caused me complete confusion. Why? Because of a bad line break.

It was a slip of paper with all the various possible comments that could be applied to the particular project presented in a series of boxes. In word processing terms, think of a table with text in each box. The circled box, and hence comment on my kid’s project, read:

Understandable

rule but needs

more to be

clear

Excuse me? Needs more to be? As in it needs to be clearer? As in: I need more to be speaking English better?

Surely I wasn’t seeing things correctly. So I looked again at that little slip of paper. I must have read it 10 times. But then it hit me: the line breaks were making me read each line as a phrase. I was reading those words together, such as in a poem, so that meant I was reading the ungrammatical “more to be” together as some sort of dialect or expression that should have no place in a formal marking scheme.

But if I read it as a whole sentence it’s fine, sorta: Undertandable rule but needs more to be clear.
Okay, I got it that way. Needs to add more content to be a clearer rule. Or, broken properly with line breaks:

Understandable rule

but needs more

to be clear.

There. Much clearer. Line breaks do matter. In poems…and apparently in marking schemes.
© Lizann Flatt, www.lizannflatt.com
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.
Kilbride-visit

A Special School Visit


On Friday I visited the school I attended as a kid, Kilbride Public School. What fun to go back to the place that had such a huge influence on me. My talk was in the library and, while it wasn’t in the same physical location as it was when I went there to school, it was quite amazing to be there again.

I talked to students from grades K to 4 (at different times) about Let’s Go! and The Nature Treasury as well as about the process of writing and editing a book. They tried to convince me that some of them had taken the space shuttle to school, but I wasn’t biting. (Although it may be possible that one or all of them could travel in space by the time they’re grownups.) What a terrific group of kids. Thanks to everyone for listening. I hope that all of you go for your dreams.

And thanks, too, to Sharon and Ruth for organizing the visit.

© Lizann Flatt, www.lizannflatt.com
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.

Why Does Everything Cross the Road?

So further to my previous post (click here ) on the deer, deer, coyote encounters on the road, I have had more close crossings. In the last two days I’ve been out driving, here’s what’s crossed the road in front of me:

Turtle

Turtle

Rabbit

I kid you not. Another pattern of three. Okay, so the turtles didn’t technically cross in front of me. I drove around them because I wasn’t about to wait for them. But they were crossing the road. Be careful all you drivers out there!

So why did the frog cross the road? To get to the other flied!

Groan, yes. Well then, tell me a better one.

© Lizann Flatt, www.lizannflatt.com
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.