A tired argument has made its rounds through the English world for decades now. Grammar: to teach or not to teach? I’m going to drop a truth bomb today. I didn’t believe in grammar instruction because I didn’t understand grammar myself. It wasn’t until I felt I had a solid grasp on it that I finally understood its value. When did that happen? After years of teaching it! So now that it’s understood that I’m a firm voice in the pro-grammar camp, I’m going to share some of my favorite resources – starting with the most simple, foundational concepts. Here are some of my favorite ways of teaching the parts of speech to middle schoolers!
I teach sixth grade, so we cover nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs, conjunctions, interjections, and prepositions. What’s missing? Verbals. I don’t teach them in sixth grade because it’s too far over my students’ heads. We spend 1-2 weeks (not full class periods but small chunks) going through GRAMMAR BOOTCAMP. Each day I introduce a part of speech and the various complexities of it. We do some fun, slightly silly work with each part of speech followed by an exit ticket. If I can make their grammar work slightly silly, I’ve got them hooked for the lesson. If you’ve taught sixth grade then you know.
After we’ve laid a solid foundation for the various parts of speech, it’s time to up the fun level a notch! Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to get the students up and out of their seats. You prepare for the hunt by hanging up the different questions in random order all around your room. Students have a recording sheet and they can start with any question. Similar to “I have, Who has?” students will read the question then look for their answer. When they find the answer, they repeat the same process with the new question underneath the answer. When students have completed the circuit, they’ve completed the hunt! Depending on our district calendar, sometimes this scavenger hunt falls in September/October, and other times it falls in August. Thus, I have two scavenger hunt versions! At the end of the unit, I measure student learning using an assessment I use for my teacher effectiveness portfolio. If your looking for something similar that you can use and/or tweak to fit your needs, you’ll be happy to know that it is editable using PowerPoint. .You can find those resources here.
After students graduate from GRAMMAR BOOTCAMP, the work becomes part of our daily bell-ringers.
Do you teach the parts of speech? I’d love to hear why or why not! I’d also love to see how other English teachers approach grammar, so drop a line and share your thoughts.