5 Fun Ways to Teach Grammar
Grammar teaching is an essential aspect of education. Without proper grammar, writing, reading, and speaking all lose meaning and value. Grammar is an important subject for teachers to impart to their students. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most boring subjects in the eyes of many students, and typically teachers do not enjoy endless grammar drills either. Educators, therefore, are looking for ways to make grammar teaching more fun and engaging. When students are able to enjoy the lessons, they are more likely to pay attention. Here are five lesson ideas to help get them started.
Grammar and punctuation bingo
This fun game can be tailored to students of all ages. Teachers begin by developing bingo cards that contains different instructions such as “find a sentence written in the active voice.” The students are given a common resource, such as the latest issue of the Wall Street Journal, and must race to see who can get ‘BINGO’ first. Cards for elementary school students may contain more basic questions related to nouns, pronouns, and verbs, whereas cards for older students will focus on more complex word usage and sentence structures. Short exercises like this one can be done on a regular basis in the classroom to keep grammar fresh in the minds of students.
There are a wide variety of word puzzles available that teachers can use to encourage student understanding and practice of different parts of a sentence, verb conjugations, and concepts such as synonyms and antonyms. Many are crossword puzzles where clues might entail ideas such as “three letter antonym for happy” or “the past tense of run.” Puzzles can be used for fun competitions between students or for take home assignments. Visit this page for a good example.
The grammar version of ‘hot potato’
Many students, especially those in the elementary grades, enjoy being able to get up and move around. Have the students get up and stand in a circle. Give the first student a bean bag and set a basic timer for a random interval, such as one minute six seconds. The student with the bean bag must think of a word that falls into a particular category, such as a verb, and then pass it to the left as quickly as possible. The student left holding the bag when the time beeps must leave the circle.
Find a celebrity biography that will be quick and easy to read in class. Have the students use the biography to identify the different forms of the past tense. For example, underline the difference between “she has performed many concerts in her career” versus “she had performed in many concerts” versus “she was born.” Have the students name the verb form being used in each example and ask them to orally explain the difference between the different usages. This exercise will help students see how grammar can influence the meaning of words and potentially alter a story.
Learning the difference between ‘a’ and ‘an’
This activity is geared toward younger children. The teacher should cut out pictures or words of common nouns that the children interact with on a regular basis. Mix all the sheets up, divide the students into groups, and give them all a pile of sheets. Have them divide their sheets into piles, one for words that go with ‘a’ and the other for words that go with ‘an.’ Once the students have finished the activity, have them discuss and see if they can figure out the rule themselves.
Using good grammar is essential for a quality education. If students do not understand grammar, they will struggle with reading, writing, and speaking. Fortunately, this does not mean that students need to sit at their desk for hours diagramming sentences. Teachers can incorporate the ideas listed above to make their grammar teaching engaging and memorable for students.