Looking for high school grammar worksheets that review common concepts? High school grammar practice can be engaging and analytical.
Grammar worksheets for high school can be part of your language arts activities, but when you move past the worksheet, students will see grammar in a new way. Plus, what you do with a worksheet can easily lead to meaningful high school grammar activities. Sometimes, I start with a worksheet and provide direct instruction, and then I move to more complex parts of studying language.
I think about grammar activities for high school this way: I don’t teach any other concept in my class only using a worksheet. Why would I approach grammar that way? When students and I discuss our language as we experience it in other parts of class (informational texts, speeches, literature, writing), students retain grammar lessons. We discuss grammatical concepts in context, work on student writing, and study the way humans use language. “Grammar” is more than a worksheet.
That’s not to say that I don’t use high school grammar worksheets. I do, just like I sometimes use a worksheet with literature or writing. In fact, you can download my free high school grammar worksheets and activities. Then, with a few modifications, you can turn any grammar worksheet into a higher order thinking activity. (I created this free set of activities so you could experience grammar with higher order thinking.)
Those two ideas, that grammar is more than a worksheet and that I can elevate student thinking with language, guide many of my grammar activities for high school. I typically ask students to show me what they understand and where they need support. I use a pre-test for valuable feedback. Then, students can focus on where they need practice.
Here are specific ideas for high school grammar activities.
Worksheet Creation: Student Guidelines
A quick grammar activity that fits into most lesson plans is to ask students to make grammar worksheets.* It reverses the role for students, and they experience the creation of language with grammar in mind. I did this with middle school students and did not have much luck. High school grammar worksheets that students created? That worked better.
By asking students to create, they must look at all angles concerning the grammatical concept. The adage, “Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I’ll remember. Involve me, I’ll understand” is true with grammar. Games and interactive grammar notebooks work too, but for a quick, any-time activity, asking students to create high school grammar worksheets works for students and teachers. Students practice, and teachers can see where students are still struggling in their grammar journey.
When I ask students to create, I have found that the fewer guidelines I provide, the better students perform.
If for instance, I give students a number for each part of speech or type of sentence to create, students struggle to meet the quota. They focus on the quota.
However, if I provide a general guideline such as students writing a variety of sentences, more times than not, students will create different types of sentences. Then as I circle the class, I can show students that with a few additions, they have created another type of sentence. The changes are subtle, but students see that those small additions (a subordinating conjunction, another subject and verb) have formed a compound-complex sentence.
The guidelines I do provide focus on giving students the power of creation. I encourage them to think of structure and the worksheet’s goal. I ask students what should be covered. This provides me with assessment; I learn what my next high school grammar practice should be.
Plus?! Student-created grammar worksheets for high school are often awesome. Engagement is high whenever students create the high school grammar activities.
Differentiation with High School Grammar Practice
Another (simple!) way to practice grammar with older students is to differentiate the practice. Not all students need to work on the same skills!
Normally with differentiation in my classroom, students work with grammar practice together. Group work allows me to differentiate easily. Students have control over choosing an area where they need practice. After students explain what they need to study or if you choose for them, decide what activities they’ll practice. If you’ve tried high school grammar practice in a variety of ways, a worksheet might help. Often, a worksheet clarifies any confusion, and students have direct and short practice. Plus, when students write, I ask them to consult the worksheet for extra emphasis.
For instance, let’s return to the sentence structure example. A set of students may need to work on making subjects and verbs and compound subjects and verbs for simple sentences. Another set would focus on punctuating a compound-complex sentence correctly. Another set would work on using both subordinating conjunctions and relative pronouns to begin dependent clauses.
Whatever students need, I can provide a quick worksheet to clarify. Not every student in class receives the same worksheet! Then we can return to more engaging grammar instruction.
Grammar Worksheets for High School: Problem Areas
Upper level language standards focus on difficult concepts where owning a strong foundation of grammar pays off. Often, grammar activities for high school students tie to student essays. If students have confusing sentences or other grammatical errors, you might find yourself teaching very specific areas.
Take parallelism as an example of a problem area. Sometimes, as students write more complex sentences, their elements are not yet parallel.
Parallelism is a powerful tool in writing and public speaking. Parallel structure can emphasize a point and provide transitions.
A lack of parallelism can be confusing though. Words, phrases, and clauses should be parallel in structure. Consider this sentence: We have papers to write, research to complete, and classes that need attended.
That sentence has a series with three ideas. The first two ideas are nouns with infinitives. The last idea is a noun followed by a dependent clause. The sentence should read: We have papers to write, research to complete, and classes to attend.
Before students make high school grammar worksheets, ask them to scaffold the material themselves: what knowledge is needed to understand parallelism? to correct that sentence? Students should understand phrases are different from clauses, that commas should separate items in a series, and that subjects and verbs make up clauses. All of those concepts can be divided amongst students to study. Allow older students to take part in the scaffolding decisions and to apply the grammar practice directly to their writing.
Finally, language standards (which is where we find our “grammar” concepts) ask students to connect grammar to writing. For example, high school students should use various types of phrases and clauses. Even if students can identity phrases and clauses and recite the definitions, they still are not meeting standards. Students must write phrases and clauses to honestly meet the standard.
Which. . . is the power of language. Students should understand and study grammar so that they can implement the concepts into their writing. They should also be able to look at informational texts, speeches, literature, and on to be sure that the creator is not deceiving them through the use of language. Presenting grammar to high school students this way can change the way they approach grammar lessons.
Overall, grammar activities for high school can include worksheets, but they can include so much more! When I see students needing more practice before moving onto the next step or when a concept is overwhelming students, asking students to what would help them often results in targeted and purposeful practice. The more students understand that grammar is the study of language and that study is diverse and purposeful, the more likely students will be involved in their lessons.
Finally, don’t be afraid to use grammar worksheets. They have straight-forward information, and older students appreciate no-nonsense approaches to lessons.
What successes have you found with grammar activities for high school? What specific grammatical concept? I’d love to read your success stories.
*I’m using “grammar worksheets” as a catch-all term. I’ve had success making flipping books, study guides, grammar sorts, manipulatives, and on.
Would you like more ideas for high school grammar worksheets and grammar activities for high school? Check out Grammar Gurus, my private Facebook group where teachers gather for discussing grammar.