6 Low Prep Grammar Activities
Hey, adults, raise your hand if you LOVE learning about parts of speech?
Ok, what about commas-don’t you just adore those little marks?!
Wait, I know…you want me to talk about changing passive voice into active voice! That’s what you’re waiting on!
HA! Be real. Learning grammar isn’t high on anyone’s list. Before I started as a teacher, I worked as a newspaper editor for a year. EVERYONE on staff hated ‘grammar talks’ during our meetings.
I was trained to look for grammar mistakes in writing. Misuse of commas, homophones, spelling mistakes—you name it, I can find it. (By the way, if you happen to find a grammatical error on any of my blog posts, just Keep-Calm-and-Pretend-I-Did-it-On-Purpose! Then email me and kindly tell me I made a boo-boo!)
If learning grammar is tough on grown-ups, imagine being a kid! You know from my story that I have taught 4 different grade levels. I have yet to meet an age group of children that LOVE grammar practice.
So I often dig deep to find fun, engaging ways for my kids to practice their grammar concepts. We all need the repetition, but I don’t want the constant practice to suck! (Forgive me if that sounds harsh or inappropriate!)
Take a peek at some of the ways I incorporate grammar activities in my class. My kiddos through the years have enjoyed these, maybe yours will too!
1-Part of Speech Detectives
These activities are my favorite because they don’t require much prep from me. Students use ANY book and practice identifying Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives, Pronouns, etc.
To jazz it up more, I give kids magnifying glasses and ‘detective’ hats (lined with scarves that can be taken out and washed of course, LICE ARE NOOOO JOKE!)
These props add to the effect of kids feeling like real detectives looking for their parts of speech.
My former 2nd graders used sticky notes that are color-coded to each part of speech.
I usually include color-coded directions on the board that help students further differentiate the parts of speech.
My 4th graders call it Look in a Book and they record their findings on a sheet during center time. These sets have not only been great for grammar practice, but they made a great, quality independent work when I have a sub!
2-Daily Grammar Strips
Instead of spending 30-45 minutes teaching a grammar lesson every day, my kiddos enjoy snippets of practice. Putting their grammar practice in strips makes it feel manageable and not overwhelming.
Each strip has a day of the week and can be used for interactive notebooks where students lift to put the answer underneath.
Or I often cut them up and use them as single strips for quick daily practice. I even put the strips on a ring and use them for more centers practice.
3-Task Cards…With a Twist
Confession time…I might be addicted to task cards. Especially since I can organize them in these little boxes of wonderfulness!
Since we use task cards a lot, I have to find ways to put a twist on them. For grammar, I began making the task cards have different shapes besides traditional rectangles. These cell-phone shaped grammar review task cards have become a major hit with the kiddos!! I laugh watching them pretend that they’re real phones!
One day, I’ll be fortunate enough to get real phones to use in class somehow!
The grammar practice gets extended with the blank versions that students fill in themselves. Allowing them to ‘be the teacher’ excites them about working with grammar concepts.
4-Find the Teacher’s Mistake
Bragging about my ability to find grammar mistakes, makes my kiddos desperate to find MY grammar mistakes. (Just like you did at the beginning of this post! LOL!) Instead of allowing pride to get in my way, I use this to my advantage.
I write paragraphs on anchor paper and purposely put in mistakes. I divide my kiddos into groups, give them sticky notes, and have them write the corrections on the stickies-not directly onto the anchor paper (so that I can re-use them). Then each group rotates to examine the other groups’ work or to see if they missed any grammatical errors.
Face it. The point of learning grammar is to become better writers. Yes, we should teach and practice grammar in isolation. However, the power of it comes from learning it in the context of writing.
Finding mistakes in longer writing passages activates a higher level thinking skill beyond rote memory of a grammar rule. But then having to explain grammar in context takes the thinking even higher. This anchor chart activity helps achieve both!
PLUS anytime I can get students out of their seats and working collaboratively makes me a happy teacher!
5-Using Technology for Grammar Engagement
The upper elementary grades at my school can sign up for a class set of IPads any time. Since I can’t get them every day, I cannot claim to be a one-to-one class. But I get them every chance I get. Here are my favorite ways to use technology to reinforce grammar skills:
• I love the free app Popplet that allows students to make graphic organizers. For grammar, we make word webs that I also use to sneak in some vocabulary practice too.
• The free app Educreations seems like a basic whiteboard app. But it also allows you to pre-record and design small lessons that I use for quick grammar review.
• Pic Collage is another one of my favorite apps for grammar practice. One way I use it is to have my students find an object in the classroom. They take a picture of it and within Pic Collage, they write a sentence about the object using adjectives.
• QR Codes: I am a QR Code Loving Teacher!! And my kiddos love the mystery of them. I make them using a free site called QR Generator. Pop those babies onto another one of my favorites—Astrobrights Paper—and the kids move around the room to record grammar corrections/answers on their recording sheet.
Don’t have tablets or IPADS at all?
Been there, done that too!
You can still use technology with a website called Plickers. Which I ADORE! Plickers can be used for sooo many things in class, and are great for grammar practice.
Here’s a FREEBIE with more on how I use them for grammar and more.
6-Pause for Mini (very mini) Grammar Lessons During Read-Alouds
No matter what grade I’ve taught, I use read-alouds. All kids enjoy hearing good reading. Modeling expression, fluency, pacing and good reading strategies makes your kiddos better readers too. So I use this time to touch on grammar concepts.
When we come across a homophone, I pause-quickly ask about other words to match it and why this one was chosen.
For sentence types, I pause and ask “What would this sentence sound like if it were an exclamatory sentence?” (Yes, I called it interrogative/exclamatory/declarative/imperative with my 2nd graders too!)
These quick grammar ‘touches’ helps kids to constantly connect grammar with reading and writing. So they understand that grammar isn’t isolated alone. It affects how we speak, read, and write.
This list isn’t perfected. I have a growing bundle of grammar resources here with ideas about fun ways to teach grammar that I am constantly evolving.
Being a busy teaching mama forces me to look for easy to implement ways to teach grammar. I want to hear your ideas. Do you use any of these? Or do you have other ways you incorporate grammar activities into your teaching flow?
Share your thoughts beautiful butterflies!