Every day is a grammar day for teachers, but the whole world is invited to celebrate morphology and syntax on the fourth of March—National Grammar Day. Everyone loves a party, but how can you motivate students to embrace good grammar the other 364 days of the year? These ten grammar resources might be just what you need.
1 Visual Aids
If students visualize how grammar works, they will be able to understand sentence structure. For example, an infographic on Copyblogger.com explains what a dangling participle is. Here’s their example sentence: “After rotting in the cellar for weeks, my brother brought up some oranges.” The illustration of a zombie holding an orange helps students see that sentence structure matters. In fact, it’s the difference between life and death! If you don’t have wall space for a poster, take advantage of the following grammar resource.
2 Online Courses
According to its website, the Grammar Challenger helps students “master fifty of the trickiest . . . grammar, punctuation, and word usage” concepts. A pictorial explanation accompanies each grammar point. There are also four hundred practice questions. Whether you choose this online course or another, make sure that there are plenty of opportunities for students to practice what they learn.
3 Interactive Whiteboard Activities
Interactive whiteboards project your computer screen on a dry-erase whiteboard. Students can view and interact with the images, play games, type, or do other computer tasks. According to the National Education Association, “The technology allows teachers to integrate multiple information streams into a coherent lesson individualized for their students. Interactive whiteboards provide an extraordinary opportunity to create classroom environments where students with different learning styles can engage and learn from each other.”
What if students could learn and play at the same time? One game on the British Council website teaches how to form sentences using present simple and present continuous tenses. A ticking timer measures students’ speed as they attempt to put a sentence in logical order. Teachers take note: Some British English grammar conventions are different from American ones.
5 Lesson Plans
If you are looking for an effective way to teach a grammar point, other teachers are happy to share what works for them. Ask around at your school or search for lesson plans online. One website where teachers share ideas is TeachersPayTeachers.com. Though some teachers sell their lesson plans and worksheets, there are many free items.
6 Gap-Fill Activities
Did you ever do Mad Libs? A partner tells you the part of speech missing from a paragraph. You provide a noun, adjective, etc. Because you don’t know what the text is about, your random verbs and nouns make for funny reading when your partner reveals the paragraph you completed. Gap-fills help students to identify parts of speech and understand how vocabulary works in different contexts. You can find gap-fills on ESL websites, such as ESL-Galaxy.com, or make your own.
Songs make excellent mnemonic devices. Mr. A, Mr.C, and Mr. D are teachers who use modern tunes to teach grammar ideas. The official story on their website is that a giant shoe-shaped spacecraft crashed near their home. They used songs to teach Bertram, the confused alien pilot, about Earth and the English language. Fortunately, they are willing to share their music with human pupils as well, so you can find their catchy melodies on iTunes and SoundCloud.
8 Online Grammar-Checking Software
The brief grammar explanations that Grammarly provides reveal the “why” behind mistakes. Teachers can also use the tool to make sure the handouts and emails they share with their students are error-free.
9 Reference Books
If you are a native English speaker, you may know the right word to use without understanding the grammar behind it. Reference books provide explanations that you can share with your students. The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need by Larry Shea is one of the top-selling titles in its genre on Amazon.
Practice makes perfect! Students need to reinforce their skills. Design your own worksheets easily at SchoolhouseTech.com.
Which of these resources will you use on National Grammar Day? It might be fun to do a gap-fill activity, sing a song together, or play a game. Whatever you do, help your students to see that grammar can be as fun as it is useful.