Learning Grammar

Students come to us at all different levels. That's why we need to meet them where they are, and often fill in gaps.

Teaching the Parts of Speech

The parts of speech are the basic foundation of any study of grammar. Students should have a clear grasp of their functions before moving on to more advanced concepts; however, teacher lecture is not the most effective method for making these concepts stick, nor is filling out exercises in a workbook.

This study of the parts of speech engages the brain in a tactile, visual, and auditory manner by requiring students to cut out and fill in a foldable graphic organizer  while watching and listening to Grammar Rock (video link included).

Then students put these concepts into practice with 24 basic to more advanced task card activities.

Finally, students choose three of nine projects to complete on a tic-tac-toe choice board that will require them to think about the parts of speech on different levels.

Find it HERE

Teaching Verbals--Careful, They're Tricky

Following an understanding, and before moving onto more complex grammar topics, students need to grasp the ever trick concept of verbals.

As I mentioned before, grammar is one of the few things that has always come easily to me--so easily, that as a new teacher, I was cocky and thought I understood things that I didn't. This lesson smacked me in the face when I was teaching verbals to an advanced group of eighth graders who were full of thoughtful questions.

I tried to answer. It made sense to me, but I was getting them more and more confused until I was confused myself and had no idea which way was up.

So I did the only thing I could do. I picked up the phone in my classroom (this was before cell phones were ubiquitous) and phoned a friend.

"What are you doing?" I asked.
"Kids are working on a project," she said.
"Good! Let's switch classes. I need you to explain gerunds to my students."

She was such a wonderful, helpful colleague. She straightened my students out, and then she straightened me out at lunch. Oh, those tricky verbals.

The only way I've taught verbals since is through step-by-step, student self-guided, differentiated practice.

Students begin with a pretest. The pretest asks them to consider how words generally used as verbs are behaving in a sentence. They get a copy of the answer key, and check themselves. If they get a certain number right, they move on to the next thing. If they miss a certain number, they go back to a review. 

Since they are checking themselves, I always explain to them that they will not have less work to do if they cheat. They will just have different work to do, and it will not make any sense to them because they don't yet understand what they need to to move on.

Find it HERE
Students continue with worksheets that work similarly to the pretest, a foldable graphic organizer on which to take notes for their notebook, and 24 task cards to reinforce the concepts. Finally, when they're ready, students move on to the post test, which is a modified version of the pretest, this time using the vocabulary of verbals.


Parts of a Sentence 1

Once students have an understanding of the parts of speech and verbals, they are ready to move on to the basic parts of a sentence--Subject, Predicate, Direct Object, and Indirect Object.

These activities use sentence diagraming (also spelled diagramming) as a tool to teach the parts of a sentence. Diagraming is a helpful way to help students visually break down a sentence and identify its parts, but it is not the end goal of these activities. 

With that in mind, I begin by giving students the quiz as a pretest. If they get it, they can move on--either to another grammar concept, or to one of the ideas I've included in this packet.

Students who need to learn these concepts will begin by taking basic notes defining and demonstrating each of these parts of a sentence onto foldable graphic organizers. They will then complete a series of four sentence diagraming worksheets that break down the process into simple bites.

After that, they will get plenty of practice with 28 task cards that ask them to identify parts of a sentence, diagram them, and to fill in skeleton diagrams. Finally, they will take the quiz again.

Find it HERE
Here's the Learning Grammar Series so far...I'll be adding more in the future.

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