Sunday, August 31, 2014

Good Golly, it's Grammar!

I may be in the minority, but I always LOVED teaching grammar.  I guess I was one of those nerdy kids in school that always found myself fascinated with punctuation, phrases, clauses, and who can forget diagramming a sentence?  So let's talk Grammar.  In some small way, I feel like it has taken a "back seat" to other instructional practices.  It can be a backseat, but for goodness sake, let's not put it in the trunk!  It IS an important life skill.  Our students will communicate in one form or fashion for the remainder of their lives.  (Resumes, research, filling out forms, legal documentation, email, phones, interviews, etc.)  I don't want to be the teacher of the kid who grows up and creates signs or posters like the one above.  ;-) 
All joking aside, you ought to read this editorial by Emma Peplow on "The Lost Art of Grammar." (Click image at right)  She'll crack you up with her MISUSE of grammar to prove a point.  She's an editor, so I'm sure she has seen it all!

So what are some new, innovative ways to teach some grammar skills to our elementary students?  Let's investigate.

It's hard not to gravitate toward Pinterest for visual images of grammar instruction in action.  My favorite Pinterest board is FREE GRAMMAR RESOURCES.  It currently has over 400 pins and 28,000 followers. It's a smorgasbord of pins to to navigate through for some FREE ideas and additions to your current grammar instruction.

Another FREE place for some quick grammar practice is ONLINE.  You could bookmark the following sites and allow your students to practice their grammar skills interactively during center rotations. One of my favorites is Fun Grammar for Kids.  The punctuation game will be a hit! Students first select the correct punctuation, then SPRAY (or SPLAT) the punctuation in the correct place.  
Fun Brain offers the Grammar Gorillas for free practice with the parts of speech. They have a beginner (nouns and verbs) and advanced (all parts of speech) version of the game to select from.  

Finally, I've been on a grammar "kick" myself lately in the creating department.  More and more of our teachers talk about the lack of proper grammar exhibited in students' daily work.  So I decided it was time to create some fun and engaging ways to hit some of the basics again.  Poppin' Punctuation is my BRAND NEW unit complete with 8 mini punctuation posters (with cute rhymes to help students remember the function of the punctuation), some interactive foldables, a punctuation Scoot game, a punctuation points rubric that can be used during writing (highly motivating since kids determine their high scores with correct punctuation use), and some paragraphs that have LOST  their punctuation and need to be fixed!  The target area in elementary is grades 2-4, since it contains practice with 8 pieces of punctuation (periods, exclamation marks, question marks, quotations, apostrophes, colons, semicolons, and commas).

Another favorite is my Grammar Recipe Book.  This one is a challenging one, but comes in both Primary and Intermediate versions.  Students really "show what they know" as they have to write sentences based on what the sentence "RECIPE" card calls for.  The chef may order up a sentence with a Proper noun, past tense verb, adjective, and prepositional phrase!  Can your students rise to the Chef's challenge?   The intermediate version deals with parts of speech usually taught in grades 3-5.  The primary version works with parts of speech and punctuation usually taught in grades 1-2.  Great for centers or quick formative assessments on grammar skills you've been working on in the classroom.  Chef hats OPTIONAL!  

If interactive notebooking is your thing, then be sure to investigate the Grammar Gators.  This one is full of cutting and gluing using flips and flaps in interactive notebooks and writing to explain your learning.  Whether your students are playing bingo with plurals or making jack in the box pronouns, they are sure to have fun with this grammar practice!  

You can find each of the units in my TpT store individually (click on image for direct link) OR all bundled up for a CHEAPER price.  (The bundle is best for grades 2-4 and contains ALL of the units listed above...Grammar Gators, Poppin' Punctuation, and the Grammar Recipe Book (both primary AND intermediate so you can pick and choose what's best for YOUR grade level). It also contains a ANOTHER 55 page BONUS UNIT that will simply be an added surprise!   The link for the bundle can be found by clicking on the Great Grammar Bundle image.  

WHATEVER you use to teach grammar, ENJOY IT!  It can be lots of fun, and hopefully our students will make us PROUD as future communicators!  

Bananas for GRAMMAR,


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