Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hands On Grammar

I do realize that the picture would be misleading since the title refers to Hands On Grammar.  However, I have one child who struggles with grammar and needs any sort of different approach I can possibly conjure up.  I looked all around for something that I thought would be a sure-fire hit for her, at a reasonable price.  For me, that means almost free.  I had invested in various language programs through the years and have been reluctant to shell out much for something that I thought we likely might have already tried, in essence at least.   So, I decided to go it alone on this one.  I am still trudging through Easy Grammar this year.  It's going. Slowly. I felt the need to continue appealing to different senses with her on this and can see that all of my students benefit.  This is what I came up with.

As I mentioned in this post, I used sentences from literature that we had read aloud (or you could use something that the child is familiar with or reading through independantly).  We took a few simple sentences and (for the ten thousandth time) explained what a subject and predicate is.  Review never hurts and we go by the trickle-down effect for the younger ones since we basically have a one-room schoolhouse.  Using the very simple sentences that you see here, (and a few others before I erased them to write these) I had each child decipher the subject and predicate and just mentioned that we were going to have to divide these two parts because they are different and they do different things in the sentence.  That, in my opinion, is the beginning of sentence diagramming lessons.
(These are laminated pieces of regular white printer paper and I use dry erase markers on them with a clipboard)

Next, we "code" them.  This is done with our homemade code cards.  They take one word at a time and decide what part of speech it is and place the corresponding card in order, so that sentences look more like this:
This lesson is done as a group.  Anyone can (respectfully) dispute the answer that another gives.  The discussion facilitates learning AND teaching.  The ones who are sure of their answers inevitably teach the others the correct answer and even how they got it, and looove to prove it!!! 

If a child is unsure, they can reference the back of a card and find the definition and examples of what that shape represents and from there he can decide if he is choosing correctly. If a child, in coding his assigned sentence(s), runs into a word(s) that they are unsure of or have not yet learned, they can simply put a black card there and move on.  That word will be up for discussion when we all have completed their coding and we open it up for input.  Each child only had  two sentences to code on this day.   The solid black cards are KEY for them, in my opinion.  It keeps a struggling student from getting burned out and feeling stuck.   It's their "get out of jail free" card.  They are all laminated for durability.

 Got any other cool ideas for making Grammar more fun?  If so, please share :)

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