Let’s be real…Grammar is important, but it can also be very dry.
Since boredom is one of the easiest ways to make our students check out, it’s up to us to find ways to make grammar interesting and possibly even entertaining (imagine that)!
I’m always on the lookout for ways to spice it up and to make it more fun for my students. Do you feel the same way?
We know that understanding grammar is important for good writing, and the more engagement students have with grammar lessons, the more likely they are to retain the information!
This post will give you lots of ideas to help make grammar something you’ll enjoy teaching and will make it a subject your students will enjoy learning!
1. Mad Libs
I love using Mad Libs as a whole class warm-up or review activity! These simple books are a great way to have kids practice different parts of speech while making it fun! After using these often, your students will start to master the difference between an adjective and an adverb, or a common and a proper noun!
I am a huge advocate of adding movement wherever I can into my lessons. Kids need movement, it breaks things up, and reinforces learning in a different way. Lots of grammar lessons can be done using movement.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- For punctuation practice, read a sentence and students stomp once for a period, clap for an exclamation point, and do a big shrug for a question mark.
- To help kids identify different parts of speech, kids stand and you read a short list of words. Using their arms (or whole bodies) they make a “V” if it’s a verb, make a “C” if it’s a conjunction, make an “I” for an interjection, touch their nose if it’s a noun…
- When working on quotation marks, make quote signs using two fingers to start and end quotes. Make a comma swish in the air to add commas where needed
3. Whole-Class Games
I also love doing whole-class games for some of the parts of speech and it creates instant engagement.
For example, you could choose a part of speech and have the class play Hot Potato. Kids stand in a circle and pass a bean bag or small ball from one person to the next as they say a word that fits the category (like dog for noun or strong for adjectives).
I actually wrote a blog post with descriptions of seven different games for some of the parts of speech, like “I Spy…” for nouns and charades for verbs.
Click here to read Using Games to Teach Seven Parts of Speech.
4. Personalized or Funny Examples
I always try to get to know my students and make real connections with them. One side benefit to this is that you can use some of that information when teaching, whether it’s in math for word problems, or for grammar examples!
I do make sure to ask for volunteers to be featured since some kids don’t like to be highlighted. I’m always surprised by how many do, though! I use the volunteer’s names and some tidbit I know about him/her.
For example, maybe he has a love for soccer, she has an obsession with sloths or a favorite musical group. I use this information to craft sentences to make grammar more relevant and definitely more entertaining.
Funny examples are another way to make grammar more interesting. Instead of plain sentences like I saw a dog at the park, you might spice it up and change it to something like I saw a dog with a mohawk at the park. If you have a hard time making the sentences more entertaining, ask your students! Kids who love to be silly will think of all kinds of sentences (hopefully school appropriate, of course).
5. Grammar Videos
One of my must-haves, technology-wise, is a BrainPop subscription! Brainpop has so many videos for just about anything you can think of and while some of the content is free, much of the website is a paid subscription. Our principal actually bought a subscription for the entire school with a little convincing!
For grammar, you’ll find lots of topics in the English section you can use on Brainpop. One thing I like is that the videos are short (usually 2 – 3 minutes), and there’s a quiz you can do at the end.
I put the class into two teams based on where they’re seated and we play a game with the whole class. The answers are multiple choice so I just have the kids on the team raise their hands to vote for the team’s answer.
An oldie but a goodie is Schoolhouse Rock! You can access it on TeacherTube or YouTube and kids will quickly learn songs like Conjunction Junction, Unpack Your Adjectives, or Lolly, Lolly, Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here.
6. Mentor Text
There are so many good mentor texts you can use to teach grammar. Kids can do a silent signal as they hear the parts of speech featured or they could tell you a word or two after each page is read.
I did write a blog post with several ideas for using mentor texts for grammar. There are also pictures of books you can use with specific parts of speech.
Click here to read Teaching Grammar Using Mentor Texts.
Kids need art and benefit from being able to use their creative thinking to make something unique. I try to incorporate art wherever I can fit it in. You can add a bit of art to reinforce grammar concepts.
For example, if you’re teaching about idioms, kids can draw a picture of what the idiom sounds like it means, and then draw a picture of what it really means.
If you’re teaching about interjections, kids could cut out spiky shapes like the old Batman series word splats and use tempera paint to write interjections like Wow!, Eek!, or Yikes!
For adjectives, students could use oil pastels to draw a person or an animal (or even a made-up animal) and then label the drawing using the adjectives which describe it.
8. Hands-On Grammar Games
One of my favorite ways to reinforce grammar concepts is to have kids play a grammar game that targets that skill.
For a long time, I wished I had a whole set of games for the year, and recently, I finally created them! I made a grammar game for EVERY LANGUAGE STANDARD for 3rd – 5th grades! The games have a variety of formats like tic-tac-toe, Four in a Row, BUMP, Clip and Flip Cards, matching puzzles, sorting, and task cards with a game board.
I think Grammar Games really help make grammar fun!
The games are great for centers, for whole-class game times, for one on one practice and remediation, for test prep, for exit slips, and more! I like to put some of the sets in the sub tub for extra time activities. I also keep some of them on my desk in case we have a few minutes before recess or lunch.
With a little extra thinking and some fun activities, you can change grammar from a subject which students dread, to a subject your students really enjoy!
Thanks so much for stopping by!