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Shaking up the grammar class!
Uttering this innocuous-looking sentence is all it takes to turn a class of highly active and enthusiastic students to a group of yawning, mind-wandering kids.There are very few students who get super excited when grammar-teaching time comes along and even fewer who see any reason in doing grammar at all. Grammar is often associated with lists of rules, countless abstract examples and lots of written practice. I truly believe though that there are some very easy and practical steps we can all take to make the presentation and practice of grammar more tangible and fun!
Turning the ordinary into something extraordinary: I love using everyday objects when teaching grammar since I feel they add an element of surprise to the whole lesson. Just by taking a look at your (or your kids') pencil case can provide you with the inspiration you need. Rulers can be used to teach Adverbs of frequency, erasers are great when introducing Inversion and paper clips can turn into instant timelines.
Extend the classroom: Inspire your kids and spark their imagination by creating words within your classroom's walls. Tape a piece of round black paper on the wall and you instantly have a black hole that leads to another galaxy and therefore to an infinite number of sentences on Second Conditional and Wishes.
Use magic: Start with a magic ball - you won't believe the difference it will make in your class! Apart from ball games you can play, balls are great in practising Tense sor Voice shifts. If you teach young kids, try to present rules in the form of rhymes or even better "Magic Spells". For example, when teaching the 3rd form singular of Present Simple, I tell my class that we need to create a special magic potion for He/She/It. In a cauldron, we mix the pronouns, the verb and then we need to say the magic words "When your verb is after he/she /it, always remember to add one thing. Take an -s, put it in the end, shake, shake, shake and forget the rest". Finally, you could use your school’s noticeboard to assign special grammar missions for your class to go to. I normally give my kids envelopes in class or assign them a riddle which they have to solve!
Personalize and gamify: Instead of asking your students to work on traditional gap-fills, try to make exercises as personal/individual as possible. A questionnaire on how much they know about famous inventions is better than an exercise on Passive Voice for example. And as I often say "If you can't make it personal, at least make it fun!". There are tons of web tools you can use to create your own games such as classtoolsnet or learningapps.
Turn the students into teachers: Having mini-teachers when teaching grammar is really helpful since it allows you to see things from your students’ perspective. The easiest way to go about "Mini Teachers" is to ask your kids to make a presentation on the grammar you've seen in class and prepare their own exercises for their classmates.
Adapt or twist: When working on grammar exercises, give your students choice. First, select those exercises you feel are most helpful, don't assign all of them as homework. Then, for each exercise decide on which sentences you want to keep (for eg. sentences 1-6 out of the 10 in the exercise). For the rest, tell your class they can change the sentences, so that they become more interesting or "twist" them which means they will have to write their own sentences. If you feel this process could be quite challenging for them, try adding conjunctions like "and", "but" or "because" at the end of the exercise's sentences and ask your kids to expand on them.