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Common spelling and grammar mistakes in poetry

- by Tynea Lewis 56

You want your poetry to be a reflection of who you are. You want people to take it seriously. You want it to be as perfect as can be, right? If so, the biggest thing you can do is take time to read through it before making it public. Make sure the words are arranged in a way that makes sense. Make sure you take the time to proofread what you have crafted. A sloppy poem will be overlooked by your readers.

You will find some examples of common mistakes that have been seen in people's work. Some may be an innocent oversight on the author's part. Others might be a reflection of a sloppy author. Either way, learn from these so you don't make the same mistakes.

Spacing
Make sure you leave spaces after words, commas, and periods. When using a comma, it should be put directly after the last letter in a word (no space before it). Using this correct formatting makes text much easier to read.

Examples:

And betrayal,lost and fear
My mother,the best teacher
Parents ,uncles, aunties too

Abbreviations
It is much more appealing if you use words spelled out in their entirety rather than abbreviations.

A lot of people use “text talk" in their writing, which is fine for conversations between friends through texts, Facebook messages, etc., but in the world of published writing, words should be spelled out.

Examples:

& the four yrs that I left all in pain
Nd after all that mornings nd nights when we were u nd me together forever…

Spelling
Using word processors gives us a great advantage because we have access to spell checkers. This helps to eliminate many obvious spelling errors. But sometimes errors slip under the radar because the words are spelled correctly, but they are used incorrectly. Maybe you left off an s at the end of a word. Maybe you used a homonym, a word that sounds the same but is spelled differently.

Even though we have spell checkers, don't fully rely on seeing that red squiggly line. There could be mistakes within your writing that have not been identified as spelling mistakes. That's why it's always best to read through your manuscript critically. Having someone else read through it is also a good idea because an author is more likely to overlook mistakes that someone else would catch.

A lowercase letter i is just that, a letter. When used to talk about yourself, it always needs to be capitalized.

Examples of spelling mistakes:

I sit in my room luking towards
the serch for rest
And its happens
Rest in peace Mum..i love you
the secret of two soul
were there is no fear there is no adrenaline

Contractions
Contractions are formed when two words are joined to make a new word. When using contractions, you need to remember to also use an apostrophe. The job of the apostrophe is to hold the place of the missing letters.

Here are some examples of frequently used contractions:

aren't: are not
can't: cannot
didn't: did not
don't: do not
doesn't: does not
hadn't: had not
hasn't: has not
haven't: have not
I'll: I will
I'm: I am
it'll: it will
it's: it is
I've: I have
isn't: is not
let's: let us
mustn't: must not
she'll/he'll: she/he will
she's/he's: she/he is or has
she'd/he'd: she/he had or would
that'd: that had or would
that'll: that will
that's: that is
shouldn't: should not
there'll: there will
there's: there is or has
there've: there have
they'd: they had or would
they'll: they will
they're: they are
they've: they have
wasn't: was not
we'd: we had or would
we'll: we will
we're: we are
we've: we have
weren't: were not
won't: will not
wouldn't: would not
you'd: you had/would
you'll: you will
you're: you are

Its vs. It's
These two words do not mean the same thing, so they should not be used interchangeably.

"Its" shows possession, which can sometimes trip people up because usually when talking about possession, an apostrophe is used. For example, if we were talking about the color of a book, you would say, "Its color is blue."

Examples of "its" used correctly:

He stepped on the end of its tail.
A duck uses its webbed feet to swim.
The bus flashes its lights when a student is getting on or off.
The dog walked with its tail between its legs.

Examples of "its" used incorrectly:

Its true that I love.
I carry an umbrella when its raining.
They want to know when its going to snow.

"It's" is a contraction that is formed by combining "it" and "is" or "it" and "has."

Examples of "it's" used correctly:

The bus still isn't here. It's late.
It's been snowing all day.

Examples of "it's" used incorrectly:

When they walked by it's bone, the dog barked.
The baby wanted it's bottle.

If you ever get stuck figuring out if you should use "its" or "it's," try putting "it is" in the sentence in place of the word. Does it make sense? If not, you want to use "its."

They're, Their, or There?
All three of these words sound the same, but they all have a different meaning.

"They're" is a contraction for the words "they" and "are."

Examples:

They're going to the football game.
I stopped, but they're still walking.
We will play if they're going to as well.

"Their" shows possession. Something is belonging to someone.

Examples:

It's their turn to go first.
We went over to their house.
That is their dad.

"There" shows a location for something.

Examples:

The book is sitting over there on the table.
 Take off you shoes when you get there.
 We need to walk fast to get there on time.

What other common mistakes do you notice in poetry? Share them below.

Social studies using mentor texts

- by Tynea Lewis 55

A mentor text is a text that is used as an example of good writing. Many times these texts can be springboards for you to use to ignite your own creativity and write a piece that has been inspired by someone else's writing.

Biography

These three poems share a snapshot into a person's life. Use these examples to help you create your own poems that capture the events of someone's life.

Some points to consider when drafting this poem:

What notable things did the person do?
What was his/her impact on society?

Obama
© Randy Johnson

Barack Obama is a Senator and a family man too.
He was born in Hawaii in Honolulu.
He has a wife and two daughters who he loves very much.
When it comes to the issues that are important, he's in touch.

He's sympathetic to America's plight.
He fights for women's rights.
He can be a great leader for this land.
If I ever meet him, I'll shake his hand.

He has my vote and I hope he has your vote too.
If he wins, he'll fight to make a better America for you.
He will be a candidate who I'll always remember.
I hope he wins the Presidency this November.

Source: Obama

First Lady Michelle
© Ashley Marquita Nelson

She is a mother
She is a scholar
She has the style that made Barack want to holla'
She is the full package
Complete with poise, class
She carries no extra baggage
Like Africa, she is the mother of our future
Malia and Sasha
Beautiful children with names that suit you.
You see,
Mrs. Obama is not just a name
It's a way of life
She has to run her home, her state and be the President's wife.
Madame Michelle, to you I give honor
And I look forward to the day that we can sit, I ponder
The thought of being in your presence,
Amongst such greatness.
I look forward to meeting
The First African-American
President, Mrs.

Source: First Lady Michelle

Icon
© Randy Pela

You taught me the ABC's and my 123's. Your musical genius will go down in history.
Your nickname was the King of Pop, You Never Stopped Until You Got Enough.
People of all ages learned to Rock With You, Billie Jean wasn't your lover and you Beat It too.
Your music was Black or White, Thrilling was your game. Now that you're not here the world will never be the same.
No matter when life had me down and I'd run away not wanting to be found I took your advice and always looked at The Man In The Mirror and then I'd be alright. I knew I was Not Alone. I held my head high and remained to be strong.
Your words stressed peace and you sang We Are the World with your lyrics you tried to Heal the World.
I Remember the Time I first fell in love, and I wanted to Be Starting Something with the Lady In My Life. Through it all I made sure the Girl Was Mine.
In my dreams I would Scream and I'd do the moonwalk across my kitchen floor, all the way to the hallway corridor.
Other acts will try to imitate you and their performances aren't that Bad but they don't have the charisma you had.
Michael Jackson will go down in history as a musical trend setter and in my opinion no one will ever be better.
Thank You Michael

Source: Poem About Michael Jackson, Icon

Heritage

Understanding your heritage and being proud of where you came from is an important thing. Think about your own heritage and what that group of people is known for, good and bad.

In this poem, the author touches on various parts of her Latino background. Think about these things as you're beginning to draft your poem:

What is the family of that group known for?
Where/how do they work?
What is that group as a whole known for?
What gives them a bad reputation?

I'm Latino Proud
© Janie Garcia

I was born
into this race
I'm Latino Proud
And it shows on my face

When it comes to family
We defend our own kind
Something in others
You'll never find

We work out in the hot sun
To earn our daily bread
But that's alright
We keep our family fed

We're known for our tortillas
Our beans and our rice
A few jalapenos'
For a touch of spice

Sometimes we are bad
And get sent to jail
It's all so sad
When we can't make bail

It's guys like that
Who give our race a bad name
I'm still Latino Proud
And I say it with no shame

Chicano here
Hispanic there
What's the difference
When the others don't care

We walk with our heads up
Each and every mile
I'm Latino Proud
And for that I can smile!

Source: I'm Latino Proud, Poem about Family

Historical Events

History is written with the events that unfold before our eyes. While in the moment they may seem like part of our everyday lives, years down the road we are able to see how they changed the course of history.

This mentor text can be used to capture a particular decade in history. Each decade has moments that stand out, moments that have impacted history. Is there a decade in history you love? Think about the events that helped shape it, and describe their importance. What were the events that were most notable? How did they change that society?

Let Freedom Ring Out Loud
© Jl Johnson

Forty years an American, Thirty years knowing what that means.
America The Beautiful, The Star Spangled Banner, Let Freedom Ring.
"Let Freedom Ring Out Loud", I say.
Ring louder than ever on this historical day.
Emancipation Proclamation was Lincoln’s plea.
After four years of war the slaves were set free.
Secession from the Union brought to a halt,
Following years of segregation, Americans at fault.
Brave men and women risks their lives,
On their journey for true freedom and equal rights.
Living through hate, ignorance, unspeakable sins,
Simply asking to be judged as people, not the color of their skin.
On this day, I make special note.
August 26th, 1920 The 19th Amendment gave me the right to vote.
Not African American, American Indian, Only God knows what,
I consider myself an American Mutt.
Serving their Nation, My Grandfather, My Father, and now my son,
They serve not for all. But, for each and every one.
We’ve done it, without doubt one of our largest wins,
Today we watched proof of equality for all men.
No matter from where my family came, we are Americans just the same.
As an American, I’ve always been proud.
On this day I hear freedom ringing out loud.
Many people have died to make America’s dreams come true.
Driven by patriotism carrying our Flag of Red, White, and Blue.
In stone, on memorials, we’ve printed their names,
Knowing not one of them have died in vain.
A piece of history, an awesome event.
Today a black man became America’s forty-fourth President.
To happen in my lifetime, to witness this event, I realize
To the World, the powerful message we’ve sent.
This man, now our Commander in Chief,
Promises our Nation the changes we need.
Spirits lifted, moved by his speech,
Nations stood still to hear this man speak.
Millions cheered in a united mass.
Celebrating the now, future, and even the past.
So very proud of Americans, proud of this day, I stand with you all, saying,
"God Has Blessed The USA!"
Again I must say,
"Let Freedom Ring. Ring Out Loud Today."

Source: Let Freedom Ring Out Loud

Martin Luther King, Jr.

In January we celebrate Martin Luther King Day, a day to celebrate the life of a man who was an inspirational leader and helped changed the lives of many people. On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave the famous "I Have A Dream" speech in Washington, D.C. at the Lincoln Memorial.

While the following mentor text is about dreams during a sleeping state, it can be modified to showcase the dreams you have for this nation. What changes do you want to see? Each stanza will start with the line, "I have a dream of..." Each stanza focuses on one particular dream and why it's so important.

My Dream
© Aditya Chattopadyay

I dream of a church on a beach,
Where all go to preach
I think of that beautiful beach,
Which I know is beyond my reach

I dream of a nation
Without any dissension
Where peace and prosperity rules
Over the ocean blues

I dream of taking a risk
Of touching the blazing asterisk
Although it is only a dream
I wish to travel the realm

I have a dream
To eat an icy cream
Which is far more luscious that any treat
In this human world of greed

I dream that I’m Megaman
Soaring the skies like Superman
Yet as sharp as Batman
Mixed with the humor of Spiderman

I know my delusion
Is nothing but a mere illusion
Yet to realize them I’ll try my best
And on God I leave the rest

Source: My Dream, Dream Poem
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