Middle school resources? Grammar lesson plans, anyone? Empty stage? No hands in the air?
I’ve been told that my excitement over grammar lesson plans is abnormal. For me, I think middle school students can grasp more concepts at a time and relate those ideas to life outside the worksheet. Students maybe see the other side of grammar and that intrigues me.
All of the higher standards concerning grammar rely on a basic knowledge. (Don’t they all?) Studying and memorizing can be boring and unfortunately, middle school is the time when students learn a chunk of grammar. Therefore when creating middle school resources, grammar is essential. But, how should teachers create lessons that students will enjoy (or at least be polite about)? When presenting middle school resources, I find the following tips helpful.
First, explain to students why they are practicing basic concepts. Students may not enjoy learning definitions and sentence components, but sometimes students are more involved if they understand the application for their futures.
In high school, a teacher may write on a paper “use fewer linking verbs.” Students will need to know what a linking verb is, be able to find them in their papers, and know how to add an action verb. The same processes apply with “use active voice” and “correct verb tense.” Although some may seem this as unrealistic, teachers who follow the common core will know these are the goals. Taking time to show students the standards or explain paper requirements in high school will help students through your grammar lesson plans.
I don’t think that completely escaping a grammar workbook is possible, or even necessary. Acquiring basic knowledge can take practice. Diversify the practice with task cards, worksheets, and interactive notebook pieces.
Once students grasp a concept, show students how to manipulate it in real life. Use their own writing or invent a sentence of your own to correct or improve the message. Explain how grammar is an important writing tool. Show students the next step with their knowledge.
Third, use everyday conversations and reading material to study grammar. Many textbooks have accompanying language studies. Use them. Acknowledge the parts of speech of vocabulary words. Identify pronouns as you speak, and then ask students to name their antecedents.
Experiment with these ideas for middle school resources. Grammar is currently the “new” addition to ELA classes. For teachers without a love of grammar, developing resources can take time. Use a variety of ideas and collaborate.
If you want to start small, you can incorporate grammar into everyday ELA conversations.
Speaking of which – what is your best tip for incorporating grammar into middle school lesson plans?