(I’m republishing my favorite posts from the second half of 2022)
There are so many ways to teach grammar.
And so many of those ways are boring to students.
Here’s the three-legged approach I’ve been taking this year that has seemed to worked well, resulting in a high-level of student learning and a high-level of student engagement.
I’ve begun working through our grammar book one page a week (we use EDGE Foundations, but the chronology of any grammar workbook would do). I give a brief lesson on the grammar topic, and then we play a Quizizz game of ten questions using the “Instructor” Mode (I control when when it goes to the next question). I reinforce the concept with hints. The”questions’ often use the “reorder” or “fill-in-the-blank” feature on the site and are personalized and humorous (you can see one here on negative contractions). This usually takes fifteen or twenty minutes.
Then, the next day, peer tutors take Newcomers out to complete a paper document that has ten “questions” they have to answer about the same topic. The exercises are also personalized and humorous, and are usually slightly more complex than the ones that were on Quizizz. Students then complete the exercises in the actual grammar book. This usually takes about twenty minutes.
A day-or-two later, we quickly play another Quizizz game on the same topic, but that has been created by another teacher. This game usually takes about ten minutes.
I’ll then include at least a couple of questions on the concept in our weekly Friday test.
So, we typically have about fifty minutes of relatively direct grammar instruction in this process.
I’m a big fan of the inductive teaching and learning strategy called “concept attainment.” You can see tons of examples that I’ve posted about in past posts.
Basically, I identify “good” and “bad” examples from student writing of certain grammar concepts. With student permission, I’ll show them and students have to identify why some are under “good” and some are under “bad.”
It has many of the qualities of a puzzle.
I’d like to do it often, but I generally only use it about one time a month, and it can take about ten minutes.
I’ve often written about Quill, a free adaptive learning tool that uses Artificial Intelligence to help students develop their grammar and writing skills.
My students love it! They take a diagnostic test and, then, based on the results, Quill recommends a series of exercises to help them develop their skills. Once they complete them, they can take the next level up diagnostic, and the process continues.
Importantly, they have an ELL “track,” including multilingual instructions.
Students are often tempted to use Google Translate when doing the exercises, but I think most have now understood the value of my recommendation – first try to do the exercise on their own and, if they just can’t figure it out, only then use Google Translate.
It’s the primary “warm-up” activity that students do during the first five minutes of class.
I ask that, after students take a diagnostic test, that they complete all the recommended exercises within ten days. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how seriously students have taken that request – most students have been doing it as homework. In fact, because of Quill, I’ve had more students studying English at home then just about any other class I’ve had in the past ten years!
So, that’s my “three-legged” approach. I’m very open to hearing ideas on how I can make it even better!
I’m adding this post to The Best Sites For Grammar Practice.