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.
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.
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
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.
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):
What’s a good link to a grammar sequence you would teach to ELL Newcomers? Yes, yes, I know it’s important to flexible and focus on communicative strategies. But what basic sequence outline do you like to keep in mind when teaching?
— Larry Ferlazzo (@Larryferlazzo) May 3, 2021
I use materials from @ESLlibrary and they have a teaching order that I follow. Great materials that include a highly scaffolded writing prompt where I’ve seen some of my students’ best writing after explicit instruction on a grammar point
— Christina Terranova, M. Ed. , S. Ed. (@ESLswood) May 4, 2021
By the way, you can see the ESL Library sequence here.
All past using DID in front of verb
Present as is
Future using WILL in front of verb
HS Ss & adults are SO appreciative of this method especially when u use content in context of school & their jobs!
Then introduce CAN.
— Dorina Ebuwa (#Emotional_IntELLigence4Teachers) (@Dorina_BELIEVE) May 3, 2021
Don’t have a link, but basic English sentence is Subject + Verb + Object. Pro tip: When a new verb is introduced, teach present AND past AND future tenses simultaneously. Lack of past tense mastery can prevent Sts from progressing.
— Maria Cruz (@DrCruzerman) May 3, 2021
I do the following:
Verb to be
Future – going to.
ALL OF THE ABOVE USE THE VERB TO BE
After this I jump to present simple and at this point, they have seen enough grammar to be able to deal with the next ones.
This is just me.
— Víctor Mejía (@vicmejia13) May 3, 2021
Nouns, pronouns,simple verb tenses, prepositions, adjectives, adverbs, past participle, present Progressive, ect … articles are usually introduced at the very beginning.
— Maria A. Grajales (@mamegr17) May 3, 2021
I like this resource for grammar https://t.co/fs1Tt9YdaH
— Denise Recarte (@denise_recarte) May 3, 2021
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.