Making grammar fun is a great way increase student engagement and learning. We all know that teaching grammar can be tedious for both students and teachers. And for many students, the concept of grammar is downright confusing.
When teaching grammar, it’s important to add fun into the mix because this is what sticks with students more than any worksheet. Here are three ways to infuse memorable fun into your grammar lessons.
Grammar Fun Tip #1: Introduce Grammar Using Humor
Introduce grammar by speaking as though it didn’t exist. Here’s what I mean:
If I’m teaching about pronouns, I write down the definition of a pronoun and a few examples, then I spend one minute speaking to the class without using a pronoun. It becomes painfully obvious that pronouns make our language more efficient. I challenge students to do the same while speaking to another person for one minute.
There are, of course, hilarious moments of having to stop and think about how not to use a pronoun. This is the memory you want them to hold!
Now I have them hooked. I can introduce and teach about pronouns, but I will continue to do our “No Pronoun Minute” throughout the week because that’s the hook. Check out this blog post that includes a memorable silly lesson on punctuation and grammar. It’s a winner!
Grammar Fun Tip #2: Play With Grammar and Make Students Laugh
Yes, you can play with parts of sentences to combine them in ridiculous ways.
When I introduce subjects and predicates, I start by saying a complete subject aloud in front of class and then saying a complete predicate. I pause in between so students can hear the difference. It may look like this:
Complete Subject: The old, shaggy dog
Complete Predicate: ambled down the lonely dirt road.
Then I say another complete subject and ask for students say a complete predicate to finish the sentence.
In this way, I go around the classroom and all students get to complete the sentence (usually with something funny). Next, I may ask a student for a complete subject and they call on someone to complete it with a complete predicate. Each time before calling on someone, I say “Complete subject…” and the student name. Before the next person is called I say, “Complete predicate….” and then the student name.
You can see how much fun this leads to, and it’s non-threatening for those quieter students. (I can see using whiteboards in a virtual classroom to do the same thing.)
After this engaging introduction, I give students little containers filled with complete subjects and complete predicates. To begin, I copy the subjects one one color of paper and the predicates on a different colored paper so it’s obvious what’s what (but you can use the same color to step it up a level and have the kids notice and select the different sentence parts). Students combine the subjects and predicates in silly ways, write down their favorite 4 sentences, and then share the one they love. We all laugh, and I make a point of saying repeatedly that a sentence needs a subject and a predicate, but it’s mixed in with the laughter (so it doesn’t really sink in that we’re “learning grammar”).
Grammar Tip #3: Keep your grammar lessons short and sweet
Another way I try to make grammar fun is to keep it short, sweet, and add in some blurting. If students are doing a worksheet, I may have them use colors to go over a certain part of speech so that it stands out. I try to keep the practice time to a specific number of minutes. When most students are done, I ask for volunteers to go up to the projector where the work page is being shown and show us the correct answer. The key here is to have 5 or so students lined up in front of the room at one time so that it’s quick and kids are not up there alone. Then I’ll call 5 more.
Once a student shares the answer, the rest of the class yell out “Yay” if the answer is what they’ve got or “Nay” if their answer is different. We do a quick discussion and move on. I praise all students for taking the risk of presenting to the class. This simple yelling out is a fun addition to practice and review.
Another way I enjoy infusing fun into grammar instruction is by using color by code activities. I like to keep them seasonal so there’s that tie in. You can find a seasonal selection here.
There are so many ways to infuse fun into grammar instruction. I’d love to hear some of your favorites.
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