Grammar is a tricky subject. There are many practice techniques that are used to study it in class, but not very many fun activities that bring it to life for student learning. Here is a grammar lesson that will put smiles on your students' faces.
Fifth grade Common Core State Standards require students to learn about conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections. I thought, "How is it possible to mash the -tions together in one exciting learning experience?" Here is what I came up with:
Share the goal with your class. By the end of this unit, students will understand the difference between conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections. They will demonstrate ways of using each, and provide notes as evidence. A final project will be a play presentation outlining the role of each grammar type and using it appropriately.
Create mini-lessons that outline each form of grammar. I use The Best of Schoolhouse Rock, If You Were a Conjunction by Nancy Loewen, and Under, Over, By the Clover by Brian Cleary. Before, during, and after each reading, students outlined on chart paper what they learned from each. Students were given suggestions for online research such as Brain Pop, Learn Zillion, and Schoolhouse Rock videos.
We created hand signals for when students heard conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections during class discussions. This activity not only got students excited about sharing their understanding, it forced them to listen with accuracy when others were talking.
Another fun way to implement grammar practice is to have a scavenger hunt within their reading. Assign students the task of writing down sentences that display the area of grammar you are working on. Not only will this get them reading, it will get them to take notice of how grammar is used within a text.
I read Punctuation Takes A Vacation before we got started. In this book, each punctuation mark shares dialogue in the manner of their mark. Working in groups or individually, have students create characters for conjunction, preposition, interjection, as well as a narrator. Model the “I do, we do, you do” approach when going over the outline for the play.
Students will then describe the setting and introduce the first scene of their play. The next part is where the dialogue describes what is happening in the story. Students should use conjunctions when the conjunctions character is talking, prepositions when the prepositions character is talking, and interjections when the interjections character is talking. The story should have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Students should demonstrate their understanding of each and how to use them by underlining where they are in their script.
Have your students act out their plays in front of the class. You can record them and save to a digital portfolio. This year we tried using the Puppet Pals app. This allowed for students to create characters. The characters then acted out the play with student voices. The children in my class had a blast using this app.
What are your plans for National Grammar Day? I’d love to hear how you incorporate grammar into your learning.
Thank you for reading!