In all my years of teaching in the secondary ELA classroom, I’ve discovered that one of the most polarizing teaching components has been grammar. Students either seem to love it or hate it with every fiber of their being. I always take a growth mindset approach when it comes to helping my kids navigate grammatical rules—they might make errors in convention, but that doesn’t define their capability to learn the subject. Their attitude does.
However, it always helps to make teaching and learning grammar as engaging as possible for everyone involved. So, without further ado, here are five fun ways to incorporate grammar in the ELA classroom.
Give Grammar a Theme
One aspect of teaching grammar that I’ve come to love is how easy it is to incorporate grammatical review into different holiday-themed lessons and activities. Review parts of speech with a Halloween Mad Lib. Have students correct punctuation errors in well-known love song lyrics for Valentine’s Day. The possibilities are endless, and although they may accuse you of being corny, they’ll secretly love it.
Grammar Task Cards
Grammar task cards are an effective strategy for the hands-on learners in your classroom. Task cards can be a combination of mentor sentences, prompts, and more. Although I’ve always printed out and laminated my grammar task cards in the past, I’ve recently started creating paperless versions that work well for the remote classroom in addition to in-person learning.
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Grammar Escape Rooms
The necessity for social distancing somewhat restricts the use of traditional escape rooms in the classroom, but don’t let that stop you. You can easily create digital grammar escape rooms as a way to informally assess students’ learning, foster group collaboration, and incorporate some fun into your grammar routine. Many virtual grammar escape rooms, like this digital Parts of Speech review, use G-Suite tools like Google Forms, Slides, and Docs to guide students through the process. For those who want a more hands-on approach, I also have a traditional Parts of Speech Escape Room.
Once I’ve become confident that my students have mastered the grammatical concept we’ve been studying, I often like to take time for some fun grammar review games. These activities can be very low-prep, like creating 10-15 questions and either inserting them into Google Slides for a quick game of grammar basketball or upping the competitive factor with a friendly round of Quizizz. Regardless of which game we play, I always like to personalize the sentences and examples to make them about my current students. That extra effort doesn’t go unnoticed.
Daily Bell Ringers
Grammar bell ringers are a great way to provide your students with small, digestible bites of content in the first 5—10 of class each day. As teachers, we all know how difficult it is to fit everything in over the course of a school year, which is why bell ringers are so valuable. They’re a helpful method for combining grammatical concepts with material you’re currently working on. If you want to take the prep off your plate, give my full year of sentence combining bell ringers a try.
Teaching grammar in the secondary ELA classroom may not always be an overwhelming hit with your students, but your positive attitude and creativity can make teaching (and learning) grammar fun and engaging.