If you mention ‘grammar’ and your students groan, there’s something wrong. Yes, English can be difficult, full of rules to remember, but that doesn’t mean the teaching of it has to be boring.
With a little creativity, you can plan grammar lessons that are enjoyable, engaging, and, dare I say it, fun.
Check out these ten actionable ideas that will transform your lessons, making grammar the highlight of your teaching week.
1: Spot the Mistake
Children love catching adults getting things wrong!
Use this in lessons by making a few carefully chosen mistakes. See if they can spot them without prompting. It’s a great way to revise key concepts.
Alternatively, make spotting mistakes a challenge. Write the number of errors you’ve made on the board and ask them to find them all. They’ll love trying to beat you to win the game. Put any mistakes they’ve missed on a list to practise the following day.
2: Play Grammar Games
Gamification means making something feel like a game. It’s enjoyable to learn and easier to remember. Teachers are skilled at using this approach to transform dull lessons. If something feels fun, students won’t notice that they’re learning something difficult.
Try these ideas to transform dry grammar rules:
- Bingo games
- Odd one out
- Dice games
- Hot potato
- Four corners
- Go fish
There are thousands of games for every area of grammar. Don’t feel you have to reinvent the wheel. Look online for loads of printable templates and instructions to use.
3: Silly Sentences
Ditch boring sentences and let them get a little bit silly. If the grammar is correct, then who cares about the actual words used. Play with rhyme and word patterns to make funny songs and stories they enjoy and remember.
Children find it hilarious when you add in their names. Use your class list to make sure everyone gets their chance to feature in one of your silly sentences.
4: Sing Grammar Songs
Singing is a fantastic way to memorise information. You don’t have to be the next Beyoncé, there’s plenty you can use on YouTube. They make great homework activities to send home. Just remember to check them carefully beforehand for access and suitability.
Use songs to launch a lesson or as a fun plenary activity. Display the learning intention on the board or ask students to explain why they were singing to check they can see the purpose behind the fun.
5: Get Artistic
Why do students have to be sitting at a desk writing in pencil? They could write in chalks on the playground or use coloured pencils, paints, and crayons to make grammar an artistic activity.
It doesn’t take much to make your lessons fun. Take their paintings from art and label them with nouns and adjectives. Create superhero comic book style interjections and make wall displays of grammar. There’s no limit to how creative you can be.
6: Hands-On Grammar Lessons
If you give students a purpose for their work, they’re going to be more invested, and find it more interesting.
There are plenty of reasons you can invent for writing:
- Creating class books
- Make wall displays
- Design booklets to take home
- Teach younger students
- Write for the school newspaper
- Make a grammar section on your website
- Present to parents or other students in assembly
Children enjoy the freedom to create their own ideas. You choose the grammar but let them decide what they’d like to make. You’ll be surprised by how creative they can be.
7: Use Roleplay and Props
Reinforce key grammar by adding a little drama to lessons. Teachers are amazing at thinking of ideas to bring tricky concepts to life.
Imagine putting on a superhero cape when you mention superlatives. Or pick up a mirror when you want synonym suggestions. Use puppets and word cards to get children interested. The more memorable, the better.
8: Online Grammar Games
There’s a wealth of quality resources online, often with no subscription. When searching for grammar games and apps, look for quality ratings and awards. Thoroughly test them before letting students try them out.
Remember to check compatibility across different devices, especially if you’re going to set them for home learning. Watch out for in-game adverts or anything that breaks your school’s internet security policy.
9: Get Active in the Classroom
Take your standard word cards and instead of just holding them up, place them around your classroom. Children can run to them or point when they see word classes and punctuation.
Add in movements and actions to get children actively involved in practising grammar without expensive props. For example, you could read a text to the class where they sit down if they hear an adverb, clap hands for a verb, or jump for a noun.
Check out Kung Fu Punctuation for a simple way to get your students remembering different punctuation marks. This YouTube video from Flippin’ English shows you all the moves.
10: Create Characters
Children’s educational TV shows turn abstract concepts into characters. That’s what makes them so successful. You can do the same with your class.
It’s easy to make your characters fun. What if full stops are security guards who prevent sentences from going further? Could lessons on adjectives centre on a police officer trying to catch a crook based on poor descriptions? Turn future tense into a fortune teller with a suitably mysterious voice.
Do your students ever run home buzzing about the amazing grammar lesson they had? Grammar doesn’t need to be boring, but too often it is. Have fun, play games, and enjoy teaching it.
If you follow these ten tips, your students will learn those tricky technical terms more easily and apply them to their own writing. Make sure your subject knowledge is up to scratch and prepare well before the lesson to make sure you feel comfortable. Soon grammar will be your favourite lesson of the day.