Vocabulary Matters – Grappling with Grammar Part 2

My previous post listed some ways that you can make teaching grammar more fun! I have another list of ideas to share with you today that I hope you find useful. Who knows? You might even be able to help Grammar make that list of students’ favourite subjects after all!

Read a Biography

I have already mentioned how beneficial reading is when it comes to teaching grammar. Sometimes though, it takes a bit of effort to find something that children are interested in reading. This is where biographies come into play. Biographies are ideal for reading with older children, but can work with little ones too. Think about the types of people that your children look up to or talk about. Perhaps they’re interested in a sports team or a certain scientist. If you’re lucky, they might even want to find out more about an author. Once you’ve figured out your child’s area of interest, see if you can find a person’s biography to read with your child, even if it simply comes from their profile on a website. Your kids will be instantly hooked and you’ll have a platform for drawing attention to the grammar being used in the text.

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Vocabulary Matters 

When it comes to teaching grammar, or any subject for that matter, using the correct vocabulary from the beginning is so helpful. I always found it fascinating when I came to talk about antonyms with my Year 3 and 4 students only to have them respond with: “oh, we’re just talking about opposites”. While that is a simple example, it makes me wonder why so many teachers bother simplifying language for students when they’re going to need to know the correct vocabulary eventually anyway. Is it necessary to use ‘opposites’ instead of ‘antonyms’ in the early years? Some may think so. I think not. Children are very capable of understanding complex language if it is taught well and explained to them clearly, so we shouldn’t underestimate them by trying to simplify our language around them all the time. I find it helpful to use the proper terms for grammatical concepts early on, especially when giving students instructions for a task. For example, when they practise spelling words I would use the terms ‘antonyms’ and ‘synonyms’ in the instructions so that they become familiar with those terms. Soon enough, those words don’t seem so complicated anymore and they know exactly what you’re referring to whenever you start talking in ‘grammar language’. You can click here to take a closer look at the spelling menu I’ve pictured below.

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Focus on One Rule at a Time

Grammar takes time to learn, and there are many rules in the English language that need to be taught. So, don’t worry if your child notices where to put a full stop but doesn’t notice where to put a capital letter. Focus on one grammar rule at a time and give them opportunities to practise that one rule until they can independently apply it. Then, you can move on to something new. There are so many resources available that focus on individual grammar rules, just like these smiley plural suffix task cards. Decide what you think your child should start with, then take it one step (or rule) at a time.

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Put it on Display

Setting up displays is not only fun but is also a valuable way to reinforce the rules, concepts and vocabulary that your child needs to know. When children see things on display over and over, they are able to memorise the information, and each time they look at the display they are likely to notice something they may have missed on first glance. I’ve used these Parts of Speech Posters in my classroom for this very purpose. Not only do they brighten up the room but they’re relaying useful information too!

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Play a Game

Games can be used in any subject area to keep children engaged, and this is certainly true when it comes to grammar practice. There are so many options out there, but one example is a game called ‘scoot’. Simply hide cards (like these irregular verb task cards) around the room and have children move about until they find them all. They can then record their responses to each card on a recording sheet. It’s much more fun than sitting at a desk!

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Go on a Highlighting Hunt

In the essence of games, why not try turning a simple task into something more exciting by giving that task a fun name? Instead of giving your child a sample text and asking them to “identify all the compound words”, try asking them to “go on a highlighting hunt”. They’ll enjoy using multi-coloured highlighters for a change and will find more of a challenge from being tasked with ‘hunting’ for the compound words. It’s the same task, just presented in a slightly different way. If you are working on compound words, you can find the sample text pictured below here.

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I hope you have fun trying some of these grammar activities with your children! Use the links to buy your own copies of the resources I’ve referenced.

Have a question or a request? You can contact me at blueskydesignsbymrst@gmail.com.

 

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