Friday, September 30, 2011


I just love this word. It says that what one might think just isn't true. It prepares the reader for a sentence to come, a sentence that might not match what you are expecting.

For my fourth graders, though, this word is one that they often skip. They haven't read much academic text, and they don't have a sense of the power of the word "however." They can miss a great deal of missing for want of a simple word.

So I like to find occasions to use it and highlight its meanings. Thursday was my chance. On the morning message, I wrote:

We are supposed to have music today. However, instead of music, we'll have PE.

After we read this part of the chart, we talked about the word and what it means. Then students went around with their own "however" constructions. (I steered them toward talking about younger siblings or cousins.) Here were some that they came up with:

-My little sister looks cute. However, she bites and kicks.

-Everyone says my cousin is adorable. However, he can be mean sometimes.

-My little brother looks quiet. However, he can wreck my room in five minutes.

We all practiced saying however together, and pausing for the comma. Our next step will be to see how "however" works its way into student writing. Often, students make some small mistakes as they try to write with it--using it in run-on sentences, using it for situations where it doesn't fit. However, with time and continued practice, this word will work its way into their writing and their reading.

Continuing on with a great year! However, judging from their comments in class, I'm a little nervous about upcoming siblings...

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