Looking for alternatives to pronoun worksheets, a non- pronoun worksheet? I am too. Teaching pronouns is an important foundational part of language lessons.
Pronouns are important in English. Students need to recognize them as subjects, they have to identify pronoun-antecedent problems, and they need to interpret what they read. Sometimes, speakers deliberately use pronouns vaguely to manipulate listeners. Students need to be aware of the proper use of pronouns.
I do teach pronouns as part of my eight parts of speech unit; however, pronouns get extra attention. Most language standards have specific requirements for pronoun understanding, and that is because pronouns are often difficult to use properly. I don’t think I am ever done teaching pronouns.
Pronouns lead to larger parts of grammar and language study, and I devote a decent amount of time to learning them. Because I don’t want to “grammar drill and kill,” I provide various pronoun activities. Here are some ideas.
Try some of these pronoun activities as substitutes to the grammar worksheet.
When teaching pronouns with older students, I am aware they have had pronoun lessons before. If I am unsure of where students stand with pronoun errors, I will give a pretest. Doing so allows me to plan for further instruction, as I don’t want to repeat information students already know.
An alternative to a formal pretest is to look at student writing. I assess where students are in their pronoun use. If writing confuses me because pronoun errors are prevalent, then I will build pronoun activities taking that into account. However, if student writing does not show deficiencies with pronouns, teaching pronouns will look different.
When teachers wonder how to connect grammar to writing, explaining pronoun use is a great start that requires no worksheets on pronouns! Use your students’ writing to practice pronoun identification, to correct pronoun errors, and to identify great pronoun use.
My pronoun lesson plans differ every year. You can download (for free) my lesson planning guide to make the best decisions for your students.
A favorite pronoun activity is always station work. Not only can I circulate as students work, but I can also learn what pronoun activities (if any) students need. I gain great insight!
Download this pronoun station activity for free. Then, design different learning stations around your classroom and have your students begin working. When I meet with stations, I can speak to students in a smaller group and older students feel less silly and more comfortable asking questions in a small group. Teachers can fix common misconceptions and review individually.
Another pronoun worksheet alternative is the anchor chart. I ask students to create anchor charts. You can create lists, writing examples, or pull mentor sentences from literature.
With older students, I don’t call them “anchor charts.” Rather, I encourage students to consult the posters that they created. As a helpful hint, have students plan out their sample sentences before they begin using the poster board. Then, decorate your room and reference the examples.
If you are nervous to create anchor charts off the top of your head, bring types of pronouns worksheets to the front of the classroom! Put them on a clipboard, and consult your notes as you and students chat. Soon, you won’t need pronoun worksheets for successfully teaching pronouns.
Color by grammar.
Always, always, I search for pronoun activities that are not worksheets. Students adore coloring and checking their work through coloring activities. What I like as a teacher is that when students are coloring, they are extra careful not to make mistakes. This worrying means that students check their answers twice, cementing the concepts in their memories.
If I need to switch around grammar stations, I normally make one a coloring station.
Teaching pronouns can involve literature. Notice with students how pronouns are used in literature. For instance, Poe loved to use pronouns to build suspense! Look at this line from “The Pit and the Pendulum.”
I WAS sick — sick unto death with that long agony; and when they at length unbound me, and I was permitted to sit, I felt that my senses were leaving me.
Who? Immediately, readers do not know the speaker because Poe uses pronouns without antecedents. Plus, who is “they”? Clearly, Poe wanted the reader to wonder, and he used pronouns to build suspense.
Whenever you can connect literature to teaching pronouns, do so. Students learn more when they see pronouns in use.
Plus, as you read books with classes (for pleasure or for First Chapter Friday prep), you’ll start highlighting unique use of words. Mark notes as you read to emphasize pronoun activities.
Task cards are great alternatives to pronoun worksheets. You can add them to grammar station rotations, but you can vary them even more. Task cards work well with partners or small groups. If you want students to move around the room and help each other, print out two sets of task cards and ask students to find their match. They are automatically partnered, and they will discuss answers.
I use task cards for personal and compound personal pronouns; demonstrative, relative, and interrogative pronouns; and indefinite pronouns; I try to differentiate, and when I use task cards, I find that manageable. Some students can study personal pronouns, others demonstrative, and so on.
Additionally, I most commonly use pronoun task cards when I am focused on improving pronoun use in student writing. I can target troublesome areas without boring half the class.
As a suggestion, make your task cards as images. (You can see samples of my task cards on the links above.) Making images allows you to delete some task cards and plug different ones in, thus creating more personalized pronoun activities.
Pronouns are part of the foundation of understanding our language, and students must use them correctly. Before students analyze pronouns in literature and apply the rules to their writing, they must first identify pronouns. Pronoun activities can be more than worksheets, and students can find the concept interesting! Continue building your pronoun lesson plans.
Pronoun worksheets are not the only answer to understanding pronouns although a quick review might be all that your students need! If your students require more study and practice, I hope you can implement these alternative ideas with your students.
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