Ah, grammar worksheets for high school, the middle school grammar worksheets. Maybe even color coded grammar worksheets. Worksheets have a time; straight-forward, no frills direction works with some students. Direct instruction is necessary.
Plus, I’ve argued before that it’s what teachers do with the worksheet. No interaction, sitting in desks—or—working with a partner and then presenting “mini-lessons” to the class? Those two examples can both use a grammar worksheet, but the student interaction varies greatly. Grammar worksheets have a bad name because they can discourage a connection to other parts of class. Day after day, students will find grammar worksheets boring.
We ELA teachers can make grammar worksheets into fun activities! Fun grammar activities exist! (Read below for details about my color coded grammar worksheets.) Our attitudes toward grammar instruction greatly matters. When we marry a positive attitude with an engaging activity, you will see success with your students.
However, we still have middle school grammar worksheets or grammar worksheets for high school students, you can download my higher order thinking download. It contains ten ways to turn any grammar worksheet into a higher order activity, making for fun grammar worksheets.
If you’re wanting to elevate your grammar instruction, download my free sheet that provides ten ways to employ higher order thinking and grammar.
Then, look at these alternatives to grammar worksheets. Fun grammar worksheets don’t always exist, so teachers and students want alternatives! Below, I’ve provided ten ways to teach grammar without a worksheet.
Students may understand more than you think, or less than you think. A quick pretest will alleviate this problem. Completing answers digitally (if Google forms are on option for you) will cut down on grading. Don’t make it long; a few questions should give you a picture.
For instance, my grammar for high school starts with a pretest. Doing this establishes trust with teenagers. Sometimes, students come to you with bad feelings concerning grammar. Once you give a pretest, explain how you will help students grow, not repeat concepts, and connect grammatical tools to their other skills.
Finally, use the data rom the pretest to differentiate future activities.
Modern students tell us they are visual learners. Have students make videos or show ones. The preposition one about the cat cracks up my students. (Think of freshmen singing it.) Grammar for high school students can be a bit goofy! If students don’t like the videos you find, ask them to make a few of their own.
After you cover a variety of topics, you’ll have a list of videos to support various lessons.
Three: Interactive Notebooks
Interactive notebooks can be a ton of work, and you may not have time to create notebooks with all students. Luckily, students can experience the engaging part with the pieces —either alone or on colored/construction paper. A notebook may be ideal, but with students interacting, you’re still winning. Additionally, I’ve used the pieces to create bulletin boards. Displaying grammar worksheets probably won’t attract parents during conferences, but colorful, interactive pieces do.
Four: Grammar Sorts
I discovered grammar sorts on accident. Take a worksheet, a group of sentences, mentor sentences (whatever you have), and ask students to cut the sentences apart. Then have them make headings for the different components they will “sort.” Glue or tape the pieces in the correct categories. If you would prefer a pre-made grammar scramble, I have several, including active and passive voice.
Finally, you and students can make digital grammar sorts instead of grammar worksheets. Ask students to create sentences in text boxes on a Google Slides presentation. Compile the slides and share with your students. You and students can sort whatever concept you’re studying.
A fun alternative to digital grammar worksheets is to make infographics. You can use Canva, Google Slides, or Powerpoint to build pieces.
Grammar infographics spruce up the way students take notes, make lists, and explore examples. Students can personalize infographics, organize information, and add helpful hints. Keep the infographics all year and reference them.
Six: Grammar Stations
I recently used stations with my freshmen, and they enjoyed it. Older students dislike sitting and can appreciate working with a partner. Cut apart different sections of a worksheet or activity and “station” them around the room. Divide students into groups, set a timer, and then switch them! Check out verb stations or subject and predicate stations.
With grammar for high school students, don’t be afraid to borrow activities from other grades. Students enjoy fun grammar activities, no matter their age.
Seven: Coloring Sheets
Color by grammar or color coded grammar worksheets? Yes, please. Here’s how I do mine:
Find a black and white picture and add numbers to different sections. Create a list of sentences or words (depending on how you need to differentiate). Now create a coloring key (for instance, nouns black, pronouns blue). Students can color the correct number on the coloring sheet.
Don’t feel like making your own? Start with the grammar coloring sheet starter pack. A “take” on fun grammar worksheets includes creativity with color coded grammar worksheets.
Eight: Informational Texts
Not all students enjoy literature, which many times means they dislike the “made up” sentences for grammar practice. Find a piece of nonfiction or ask students to fine one. Then give them the assignment: highlight phrases with a pink marker, dependent clauses with a yellow one, and so on.
Not only will students be analyzing informational texts through language, but they also will be identifying proper punctuation use, parallelism, and unique structure.
Nine: Google Activities
Digital tools provide a great alternative to grammar practice worksheets. With Google, you can make digital grammar sorts, self-grading quizzes, and task cards.
Additionally, what is great about digital grammar is how you can differentiate for every student. Each student gets a different assignment if necessary. If you need self-grading Google quizzes, try these for verbals or sentence structure. Especially with grammar for high school, you’ll need fast data for planning future lessons.
Ten: Mentor Sentences
Sentences from nonfiction and literature show students the depth of meaning while providing a reason for understanding language. Pull sentences from your current reading assignments and look at different language components. Don’t know what I mean? I have these for The Fault in our Stars, for free.
There you have it! Ten alternatives to the grammar worksheet. What alternatives do you provide for grammar practice worksheets?
Part five of this grammar series covers how to connect grammar and writing.
Do you need more grammar practice worksheets and fun grammar activities? Check out Grammar Gurus, a Facebook group where teachers can discuss grammar activities for high school students and grammar activities for middle school.