Note: These books are by Doug Stark. Dave Stuart Jr., who teaches down the hallway from Doug and can't imagine teaching an English course without Doug's warm-ups, is acting as the publisher.
Welcome to Mechanics Instruction that Sticks 2.0, a series of writing warm-ups that can be used in isolation or by vertical teams seeking to enhance the effectiveness of their mechanics instruction.
Below, we'll look at the material covered at each level, but you're welcome to see a more detailed map of the three levels of books here. Also, each book comes with a detailed explanation of how Doug uses these warm-ups in class. That material, found in each book's Introduction, is also available here for free). It's critical to read that Introduction, as it how to use the warm-ups (hint: not as keep-'em-busy worksheets!).
Level A: 12 Units of Warm-ups, Targets for Grades 6-8
Level A is designed to provide a foundational grasp of conventional writing in English. It includes the following units:
Unit 1 – Elements of a Complete Sentence: Avoiding Fragments
Unit 2 – Nouns, Apostrophes, and Personal Pronouns
Unit 3 – Verbs
Unit 4 – Simple Sentences / Phrases / Quotation Marks
Unit 5 – Compound Sentences and Avoiding Run-ons
Unit 6 – Comma Rules
Unit 7 – Semicolons and Colons
Unit 8 – Subject-Verb Agreement
Unit 9 – Tense Shifts
Unit 10 – Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Unit 11 – Pronoun Problems
Unit 12 – Common Usage Errors
To see how Level A's units fit into units in Levels B and C, click here.
Level B: 17 Units of Warm-ups, Targeted for Grades 8-10
Level B is a remastered edition of MITS 1.0, which has been used by teachers in every US state and several countries around the world. It includes the following units, as well as 50 pages of new material:
Unit 1 – Elements of a Complete Sentence
Unit 2 – Clauses and Phrases
Unit 3 – Using Relative Clauses
Unit 4 – Avoiding Sentence Fragments
Unit 5 – Compound Sentences
Unit 6 – Avoiding Run-Ons
Unit 7 – Commas
Unit 8 – Semicolons and Colons
Unit 9 – Apostrophes
Unit 10 – Dashes
Unit 11 – Avoiding Wordiness and Redundancy
Unit 12 – Using Active Voice
Unit 13 – Awkward Constructions and Unclear Sentences
Unit 14 – Parallelism
Unit 15 – Subject-Verb Agreement
Unit 16 – Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Unit 17 – Avoiding Illogical Sentences
To see how Level B's units fit into units in Levels A and C, click here.
Level C: 12 Units of Warm-Ups, Targeted for Grades 10-12 (ideal for Juniors preparing for the SAT or ACT)
Level C is the book Doug prepared for 11th grade students; however, we believe it has applications for 10th or 12th graders as well. At 12 units long, it is designed for teachers wishing to help their students prepare for both conventional writing as adults as well as successful performance on Junior-year ACT or SAT examinations. It contains the following units:
Unit 1 – Elements of a Complete Sentence
Unit 2 – Avoiding Run-Ons
Unit 3 – Commas
Unit 4 – Semicolons and Colons
Unit 5 – Dashes
Unit 6 – Apostrophes
Unit 7 – Using Active Voice
Unit 8 – Avoiding Wordiness and Redundancy
Unit 9 – Avoiding Awkward Sentences
Unit 10 – Parallelism
Unit 11 – Avoiding Illogical Sentences
Unit 12 – Avoiding Vague References
To see how Level C's units fit into the units in Levels A and B, click here.
What are other people saying?
Thank you so much for making my life easier and creating a way for my kids to actually “get” grammar!
--Jennifer, AP Lang and English 1 Pre-IB teacher from Florida
"My kids are taking ACT prep tests and have said how much this methodical study of the language conventions has helped get higher scores. ... [I]t's been fun to see them actually like doing this work -- they see the payoff... . I've seen good growth in their writing as they have learned to proofread better; they have a firmer idea of what to look for."
--Rho from Ohio
"I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart... because this is exactly what I've been looking for.... I have never put it all together as neatly and succinctly as [this]. Thank you for making this available to us. I shared the work with the LA teacher on the other team, and she almost immediately downloaded the book as well!"
--Maura from Virginia
"These exercises are perfect to help students who haven't been exposed to any significant mechanics instruction since grade school. The repetition of key ideas works very well."
--Kris from Montana
"I purchased Doug's book and just looking at it, I am hearing angels in the background. This is exactly what I was looking for!"
--Karri from Salem, OR
"I loved reading Doug's process of making these and then teaching and refining them."
-- Kim from MI
"Our whole department has been using it for the past nine weeks, and I think it's the perfect amount of time on each topic"
"I have loved this program. The explanations and repetition help the kids. I have shared my excitement with this program with many colleagues. Thank you."
Questions & Answers
What if I want copies of this for a large group of teachers?
We do offer bulk pricing; for more information, please contact email@example.com.
How do I use the warm-ups?
On Dave's blog, we have published the Introduction to Mechanics Instruction that Sticks. Click here, and scroll down to "How to Use the Warm-Ups."
When do you have time to put these together?
Our school has a policy for research and publishing that we comply with. This is why Doug puts these together during the summertime from the comfort of his home. MITS is prepared without the use of district resources, and our district's employees get free access to any of the MIT products.
What if I don't like it?
We have a simple guarantee policy: if you're not happy, email us (firstname.lastname@example.org), and we'll immediately give you a refund.
What if it changes the course of my life and my classroom ends up being the focus of a Hollywood teacher movie?
Give Doug a line in the credits.
What if I think something should be added?
These warm-ups are what they are because Doug has tweaked them for years. With that said, we realize that we may have had blind spots in creating this book, so we'd be happy to hear from you. Email Doug at doug.stark1974_at_gmail.com.
What if I want to edit the warm-ups?
Although we think the warm-ups are pretty versatile as is, we've included an editable (.doc) version of the warm-ups as well.