Friday, August 5, 2016

Take the Time to Teach Grammar

Grammar skills are essential for all aspects of life.  Children need to learn proper grammar in order to effectively communicate.  When expressing your thoughts and ideas, it is important that the message is clear and free from grammatical errors.  In our very busy world of teaching, sometimes grammar skills are put on the back burner.  As teachers we need to make sure we are teaching students how to communicate in a way which will help them become productive members of society.  

So, where do you begin?  As in the Sound of Music, “Let’s start at the very beginning…”

ü   Teach grammar vocabulary.  Students needs to understand and be able to identify the different parts of speech.  Here are some essential parts of speech that all elementary school students should know:
§  Nouns identify people, places, animals, or things.
o   People – teacher, mother, father, boy, girl, baby
o   Places – school, farm, office, hospital, library, restaurant
o   Animals – dog, cat, monkey, lion, tiger, pig, zebra, giraffe
o   Things – pencil, apple, bed, ball, bicycle, cup, table

 Nouns - Engaging Activities to Teach Grammar

§  Pronouns take the place of nouns.
o   Subject pronouns – I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they
o   Object pronouns – me, you, him, her, it, us, you them
o   Possessive pronouns – mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, yours, theirs
§  Adjectives describe nouns and pronouns
o   What kind is it?
o   How many are there?
o   Which one is it?
§  Verbs express action and states of being
o   Action verbs show action.
o   Linking verbs link the subject to a noun or adjective.  It describes a condition.
o   Helping verbs help the main verb describe the action.

§  Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs
o   Where?
o   When?
o   How?
o   How often?

ü  Use literature books.  It is important to teach grammar in a meaningful way.  There are so many wonderful picture books that will help your students better understand the grammar concepts and ideas.  Here are just some literature books that I highly recommend:
§  Nouns
o   One Sheep, Two Sheep:  A Book of Collective Nouns by Patricia Byers
o   A Cat, a Bat, Your Grandma’s Hat: What is a Noun? by Brian P. Cleary
o   Merry-Go-Round: A Book About Nouns by Ruth Heller
o   Herd of Cows, Flock of Sheep: Adventures in Collective Nouns by Rick Walton
o   If You Were a Noun by Michael Dahl
o   A Rattle of Bones: A Halloween Book of Collective Nouns by Kipling West
o   Incredible Ned by Bill Maynard
§  Pronouns
o   Mine, All Mine!: A Book about Pronouns by Ruth Heller
o   I and You and Don’t Forget Who: What is a Pronoun? by Brian P. Cleary
§  Verbs
o   It’s Hard to be a Verb! by Julia Cook
o   To Root, to Toot, to Parachute: What is a Verb? by Brian P. Cleary
o   Nouns and Verbs Have a Field Day by Robin Pulver
§  Adverbs
o   Dearly, Nearly, Insincerely: What is an Adverb? by Brian P. Cleary
o   If You Were an Adverb by Michael Dahl
§  Adjectives
o   If You Were an Adjective by Michael Dahl
o   Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What is an Adjective by Brian P. Cleary
o   Many Luscious Lollipops: A Book About Adjectives by Ruth Heller

ü  Use students’ actual writing pieces.  Authentic use of grammar skills will enable kids to apply their understanding of the parts of speech into their daily writing. 

ü  Use mentor texts.  These texts enable the readers to authentically see authors write using the different parts of speech.

o  Things That are Most in the World by Judi Barrett and Pig, Pigger, Piggest by Rick Walton are wonderful literature books to show how writers use superlatives in their writing.
o   Beast Feast: Poems & Paintings by Douglas Florian is packed with adjectives describing animals.
o   Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst provides the reader with loads of adjectives.
o   Come On, Rain! by Karen Hesse enables the reader to clearly see the actions of the characters through the use of vivid verbs.

o   In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming readers follow a tiny tour guide as he travels through the book.  The author describes his journey using strong verbs.

Remember, take the time to teach Grammar!

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