It was after lunch, and as I came up the steps, I heard one of my students, "J" crying and her classroom teacher (I'm the Intervention and Enrichment coordinator at my school) quietly trying to talk her through an assignment that was just overwhelming to her at that moment. It had been that kind of day for her, too. I've taught "J" for two years, and before that I taught three of her older brothers and her older sister so we know each other well.
When "J" saw me, she began crying in earnest that she, "didn't get it." Her teacher, at his wit's end asked, "Can you take her and help her write an imperative sentence? We've got to go to science in about five minutes."
"Sure, I'll always take "J"."putting my arm around her and we began the long walk down the hall to my room at the other end. "Hey "J", I bet your mom uses imperative sentences all the time at your house. Has she ever said, 'Pick up your clothes!'"
"Yes," still sniffling some.
"I bet she has also said, 'Go do your homework, "J"", too.
"Yes," looking more intently at me.
"Well, "J", when your mother commands you to do those things she is speaking in an imperative sentence. Now you give it a try. If you could command your big brother "Q" to do something, what would you command him to do?"
"Take me to the store."
"Great! That's a wonderful imperative sentence! And what about your big brother, "S"?"
"Teach me to play football."
"Fabulous! He could do it, too."
"What about "K"? What would you like to tell him to do?"
"Help me with my homework!"
"Wonderful! See imperative sentences aren't so hard, are they? One more, what do you want to tell Mrs. Carter to do?"
She looked me straight in the eye.
"Teach me to read."