As I was sitting at my kidney table, going through my students’ writing, I realized that even my best writers had paragraphs littered with grammatical errors… glaring grammatical errors.
It was starting to feel like I needed to start from scratch with them. My students were fourth-graders; how could it be that they knew nothing of subject-verb agreement and how to capitalize properly?
I didn’t have time to stop teaching core reading instruction to reteach my students years-worth of grammar instruction.
That’s when I developed a plan. I want to share this plan with you because I’ve been there, and it’s not easy to feel like you’re failing your students. Read on to learn how you can take charge of your grammar instruction!
Here are 5 ways to CONQUER your grammar instruction starting TODAY!
I was not about to start skill and drill practice with my students, but I wasn’t about to teach grammar only through immersion, either. My kids needed more than that. So, what does every fourth grader love? Games.
I started with task card games. I stayed up hours upon hours, pouring through the standards and creating games that matched every skill within the Common Core State Standards. (My home state of California has moved away from the name “Common Core,” but our standards have stayed the same.)
I began to teach a new skill every Monday. I used games throughout the week to keep kids engaged and help set the stage for success.
I love using mentor texts for all of my instruction, and grammar is no exception.
I put together list upon list of mentor texts to teach the basics. These mentor texts were easily implemented and had a low entry threshold, meaning that even my most struggling readers and writers could get something out of them.
I have a blog post all about this and included the lists for you. Check it out here!
I wanted to know what my students knew and what they didn’t know. Formative assessments helped me create small groups to work on skills throughout the week.
I began to create quick 8 question assessments each week.
These assessments are not taken for a grade; however, I use the results to determine which students will receive core instruction and which students receive core instruction AND small group instruction.
Formative assessments are so helpful. Not only do struggling students benefit, but students who are teetering on proficiency can soar ahead and master the skill at their own pace without much interference from me.
As a student, this would have been my dream!
I often found that my students’ parents had no idea what level of quality and correctness they should expect from their child’s writing.
This was when I decided to bring parents into the conversation.
I shared a special writing newsletter with them and provided parents with grade-level appropriate writing samples. I was sure to point out the basics: capitalization, indentation of paragraphs, punctuation, correct (or mostly correct) spelling.
Then, I emphasized how I would teach one grammar skill per week to enhance their child’s writing. I also communicated that parents would be able to locate each week’s skill and a little explanation within my weekly newsletter.
Parents appreciated this open communication, and it helped me gain their trust, their support, and it bettered our teacher-parent relationship.
Routine and Structure
Routine and structure are a must or your grammar time is sure to flop.
Be sure to review the materials you’ll be using before developing a routine. Set up easy to remember steps so that you know Monday you do X, Tuesday you do Y, Wednesday you do Z, and so forth.
This process helps you organize and lesson plan, but it also helps your students know what is expected of them each day.
Are you ready to CONQUER your grammar instruction?
Download the FREE pacing guide to help organize, lesson plan, and achieve perfect grammar lessons.
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This Grammar Pacing Guide pairs with my Grammar Games Bundles. Click the image below to invest in everything you need to conquer your grammar lessons!
If you have any questions that I can help answer about the Grammar Games Bundles, please tap the contact button at the top of this page. I’m happy to help!