''Go look like you're teaching'' photo (c) 2010, Quinn Dombrowski - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

I haven’t been a real big fan of putting a lot of time into direct grammar instruction. I generally believe, and I know some research has shown, that students can develop grammar skills through reading, and prioritize helping my students find high-interest reading materials. In addition, I use concept attainment (see posts near the bottom of The Best Resources About Inductive Learning & Teaching) to help students learn grammar concepts inductively.  And I just hate “drill-and-kill” grammar worksheets.

A number of our ELL students who have gone on to community college have been telling us they wish we had put more time into direct grammar instruction.  Now, I can’t say for sure exactly what our other teachers have been doing related to grammar in their classes.  And I’m not necessarily convinced that some of the community college classes aren’t making a mistake by placing so much of an emphasis on grammar.

However, I am reflecting on if I should make any changes in how I help my students develop grammar skills.

One very small change I am making is having students spend a little more time on grammar practice when we go to the computer lab — but spending it strategically on common challenges I have identified through their writing.

In the process of reflection, I’ve identified which grammar sites that I think are most engaging and useful to students, and thought I would share them in another “The Best…” list.

Here are my choices — not in order of preference — for The Best Sites For Grammar Practice (and that I think are accessible to English Language Learners). I’ve divided them into two sections — sites that are best for Beginning and Early Intermediate English Language Learners and ones more appropriate for Intermediate and Advanced:

BEGINNERS & EARLY INTERMEDIATE

Road To Grammar Jr. has many interactive grammar quizzes.

Oxford Practice Grammar Student’s Site

Cool English has a number of nice student interactives.

INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED

Road To Grammar (different from the “Jr.” version) has a number of interactive quizzes.

Brainpop has a large collection of movies related to grammar.  They’re closed-captioned, and also have quizzes.  However, you do have to pay for a subscription.  You can get a free trial, though.  This is only one of two sites that I have reviewed on this blog that charges and that I recommend.

The British Council has a ton of grammar games.

Interactive ESL Grammar Games comes from ESL Games

English Grammar Secrets has many good grammar interactives.

Grammar Snacks are a series of animations about…grammar, followed by interactive exercises.

The Wrong Way to Teach Grammar is from The Atlantic.

Thanks to Richard Byrne, I recently learned about Quill.

It provides well-done interactive exercises to reinforce grammar exercises and the real advantage is that you can create virtual classrooms to track student progress.

And, it’s free.

Teaching grammar inductively – Catherine Walter is a video from The British Council. You’ll catch the most useful info if you just watch the last five minutes

Noredink

Four strategies for grammar instruction is the title of a post I wrote for Teaching English British Council.

Planning a grammar lesson is from The British Council.


“GrammarFlip” Might Have Potential For Reinforcement Of…Grammar Skills


Statistic Of The Day: Explicit Teaching Of Grammar Is Not A Winner – What Do You Think Is?

Nine major shortcomings of L2 grammar instruction and how to address them is from The Language Gym.

Does Bad “Grammar” Instruction Make Writing Worse? is by Patricia Dunn.

Grammar review using drawings is from ELT Planning.

Teaching grammar through Listening is from The Language Gym.

Teaching grammar through listening (part 2) is from Language Gym.

Grammar: The Skunk at the Garden Party is from Edutopia.

Think “Makerspace!” for Your Grammar Studies appeared in Middleweb.

Elena suggests LingBase as a nice online site for grammar exercises.

Sound Grammar provides lots of free videos, along with student handouts, on grammar. It seems to be a newer site (at least to me!) created by the same people behind ELLO, which has been an excellent site ELL site for many years.

I received a number of useful replies to the question I asked in this tweet. Here are a few of them, along with a few other comments I’ve made (I’m adding them to The Best Sites For Grammar Practice):

By the way, you can see the ESL Library sequence here.

I agree with Denise’s recommendation – it’s a very useful site!

A couple of other useful sites are:

How to Teach Grammar to ESL Students: the Sequence by Simply Ieva and GrammarBank.

Seven Strategies for Grammar Instruction is the headline of one of my Education Week columns.

As always, feedback is welcome — both about sites and your thoughts about how to help students best learn grammar concepts.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at previous “The Best…” lists and also consider subscribing to this blog for free.