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How to Teach Grammar and Language Effectively

How to Teach Grammar and Language Effectively

Do you know how you’re teaching grammar and language this year? Is your strategy effective? Grammar and Language is one area that we NEVER have to worry about! We have a formula for how to teach grammar and language effectively!

The Magical Grammar and Language FORMULA

With 30+ years of 4th grade experience between the two of us, we know how to teach grammar and language effectively! We used to struggle with how to teach grammar and language. Our curriculum would mention certain standard here and there, but it never gave adequate exposure for students to really master the content. We found ourselves creating what we need daily until we finally got together and strategized. We looked at what worked for our students and created, what we like to call, a “formula,” to teach grammar and language effectively.

The Grammar and Language Magical Formula

The Philosophy Behind the “Formula”

As we sat down together to discuss what worked for us in our classrooms, we kept coming back to the fact that students learn in different ways. We needed instruction that would match this fact. Different forms of instruction was at the forefront of our minds when creating our lessons. Creating content that students could interact with throughout their learning was crucial. We also wanted to create a way for students to spiral the content throughout the year. We wanted to avoid the whole “give them a worksheet and you’re done” mentality. Check out what we created!

1. Lesson Notes and Practice

Students usually will not take the time to read notes, but if they are fill in the blank style, it gives them a little motivation! First, we let them pair up and see if they can guess what fills in the blanks. Some of the time they get the correct answers and sometimes not so much. The key is that they are reading the information and processing it! After they give an attempt, we give them the answers and they fill in their notes correctly. Another part of the Lesson Notes is a type of anchor chart with all the pieces that they will need for accessing the standard. This version is great for gluing into their interactive notebook so that they can reference their notes throughout the year. Finally, the Lesson Notes page has ten practice problems so that students can start practicing the standard right away!

grammar and language fill in the blank lesson notes and practice

2. Practice Page

Exposure is everything! Students need multiple ways to practice a standard. If there are multiple steps or ides to a standard, this Practice Page is where we break down each part. They will do one step at a time and then combine the steps during the application step. Not all standards lend itself to this process, but frequently you will find this thought process on each Practice Page.

grammar practice

3. Engaging Practice Page

Once the steps have been broken down and students have had time to practice the standard, it’s time to have some fun! The Engaging Practice Page is always themed and has some type of activity that students need to complete. It’s more than a boring worksheet! Some of our favorite activities are tic-tac-toe, mazes, and matching. Students always enjoy this page!

Teach grammar and language effectively with engaging practice

4. Sentence Frames

We simply could not live without Sentences Frames! Sentence Frames are a great way to spiral the standards throughout the year. We use the large version when we are teaching the unit and then have students glue the small version into their notebooks. Throughout the year, they go back and practice the standard with the book they are reading! Other uses for Sentence Frames are pair share, exit tickets, small groups, reading conferences and journal writing! Having 10 ready to use Sentence Frames for each standard means we never have to come up with something on the spot and it means that we use them more often! Students love the choice!

Teach grammar and language effectively with sentence frames

5. Foldables

Foldables are such a fun way to practice a standard! We usually use foldables as a center. Students think they are doing a craft, while we know they are really practicing the standard! This is such an easy center that we always have in our pocket to use! There is a foldable, and sometimes two, in every bundle!

Foldables for language

6. Art Activities

Anyone out there a visual learner? Do you have artistic students that would benefit from an artistic way to interact with the standard? Students are learning when they are engaged! We have found that visuals are the KEY to our students retaining the information. Our students draw these pictures in their notebooks to look back on throughout the year. We love seeing our students take our idea and make it their own. A lot of their drawings end up being so much better than ours! We have two ideas just like this for every grammar and language standard.

art activities

7. Leveled Questioning Exit Tickets

These are not your typical Exit Tickets! These Exit Tickets use DOK Levels of Questioning. They start at a Level 1 and progress to a Level 4. We also love that Exit Tickets are an easy way to check for understanding. We form small groups throughout the week based on the results. Instead of waiting for the assessment, you have a way to catch common misunderstandings right away! Exit Tickets are such a quick and easy way to practice the standard!

Teach grammar and language effectively with leveled questioning exit tickets

8. Study Cards

We love using Study Cards to communicate with parents what we are learning in the classroom. Our students always say they feel so grown up using Study Cards. We love that! Creating little scholars! Study Cards are also amazing for those 5 min time-fillers we sometimes need! Students love pairing up around the room and quizzing each other! All of our Study Cards relate to the assessment. Study Cards give students the tools they will need in order to score Proficient or Advanced!

study cards

9. Assessment

We always end our unit with a Formal Assessment. These Assessments are ready to use and an easy way to get a grade for the standard. All Assessments are easy to grade and very kid friendly!

formal assessment

10. Answer Keys

Needless to say, Answer Keys make our life that much easier. We love leaving an answer key for parents or aids that may run groups in our classrooms. We will also leave an Answer Key in a folder at a center for students to check their work. There is an Answer Key for every page in each bundle.

answer keys

The Magical Formula’s Effects

The greatest effect of our grammar and language lessons has been on students’ learning. Our students understand grammar and language better than they ever have before. We see our students transferring what they are learning in the lesson into their daily writing! They are engaged throughout the units and hardly realize how much work they are really doing.

Another major effect of our grammar and language lessons has been on us, as teachers. We are no longer struggling to find something to use to teach the standard that was briefly mentioned in our curriculum. Having the confidence and knowing that we teach grammar and language effectively is EVERYTHING! We also find ourselves enjoying the content more! Hey, if we are having fun, they are having fun, right?

Teaching grammar effectively plus a 20 page freebie!

Did we mention that we have a FREEBIE JUST FOR YOU?

We believe in our Grammar and Language Formula so much that we want you to try it for FREE! Do you want to teach grammar and language effectively? Of course you do! Do you teach capitalization? Of course you do! We have a 20 page freebie just for YOU! Watch the magic happen and if you LOVE it (like we know you will), we have a bundle just like it for EVERY grammar and language standard! Click HERE or on the image below to grab your freebie! Want the whole bundle? Click HERE for 4th grade and HERE for 5th grade!

20 page capitalization freebie

Progressive Tense Verbs

Welcome to our Teacher Toolkit Series!
Our topic today is teaching Progressive Tense Verbs!
Here is an idea for an Anchor Chart.
Our students love the pirate theme in our classroom!
So what is a Progressive Tense Verb?
Progressive Tense Verbs describe ongoing actions
in the present, past or future.
Basically, students need to know that they need two elements:
a “to be” verb (am, is, are, was, were, will be)
and an action verb ending in -ing.
We like to create a chart to show which “to be” verb they should use. Whenever students write a progressive verb sentences, we have them use two different color highlighters to code their sentence. They use one color for the “to be” verb and another for the action verb ending in -ing.
We have found this to be a successful tool.
Our students love practicing Progressive Tense Verbs with our Emoji Progressive Verb Activity FREEBIE!
Students love technology and Emojis, so we try to use them whenever we can!
Click below to download this FREEBIE to use in your classroom!
Click the button below to get this Progressive Tense Verb FREEBIE!

We love teaching with theme and enjoy treating our students when we can. This was a fun treat of just oranges (to prevent scurvy of course) and chocolate treats wrapped in gold. Super easy!
We also love capturing these learning moments with a photo.
Check out this “Make Me Pirate Photo Booth App.”
It’s free and SOOOOO FUN!!!!
If you are looking for a fun way to practice Progressive Tense Verbs in your class, we have Pirate Themed Progressive Tense Verb Task Cards available in our TPT store!
Click here to check them out!
Progressive Tense Verb Task Card Bundle
Check out our Progressive Tense Verb Week Long Lessons Bundle, or better yet, get the entire year’s worth of Language Standards in our 4th Grade Language and Grammar Interactive Notebook Mega Bundle! See links below!


Your First of Many Tools… Relative Adverbs!

Welcome to our first blog post in our series of
“Filling Your Teacher Toolbox!”
Are you ready for your first tool????
Your first tool is how to teach RELATIVE ADVERBS
while keeping it simple!
Before we begin, we want to give you a disclaimer. We are very aware that Relative Adverbs can be very detailed, such as relative clauses, prepositions, etc… For the sake of teaching Relative Adverbs to fourth graders, we have simplified the concept to what we consider, appropriate for their developmental level.
With that being said, let’s get started!
We started teaching Relative Adverbs with this bright and beautiful anchor chart. Anchor charts are a great tool for students to reference throughout the unit. We love how it reaches our visual learners!
Here’s a few tips for teaching Relative Adverbs!
Here’s “The Test” for relative adverbs…
Where: Can you plug the words “in which” or “at which”?
      Example: I went to the school where  I attended elementary school.
      Test: I went to the school “at which” I attended elementary school.
      Non example: Where have you been all day?
      Test: “At which” have you been all day
When: Can you plug in the words “on which” or “in which”?
      Example: I like the time of day when my students go home!
      Test: I like the time of day “in which” my students go home!
      Non example: When is it time for lunch?
      Test: “On which” is it time for lunch?
Why: Can you plug in the words “for which” or “the reason”?
      Example: I needed to explain why I was late for work.
      Test: I needed to explain “the reason” I was late for work.
      Non example: Why do you cry all of the time?
      Test: “The reason” do you cry all of the time?
In our experience, we have found that students tend to create relative adverb sentences incorrectly because they use them as the “5 W’s.”


Because our Task Cards that we used today were Monster Themed, we thought, let’s go with it! We love a good theme! (One of us more than the other… but anyways…) We started out by making these adorable Monster Ballot Boxes! These monster ballot boxes are a great idea because the task cards required students to write the number of the task card on either Monster A’s eyeball jar, Monster B’s eyeball jar or Monster C’s. Whichever monster had the most eyeballs at the end, won! As students finished, they put their name in the Monster Ballot Box that they thought won. Here’s why this was so amazing… There were 2 students that picked A. The rest picked B (which was correct). I was able to go to the two students that got the wrong answer, find their mistakes and review those task cards with them on a one on one basis. Talk about an easy red flag, right!? I plan on doing more Ballot Boxes in the future!!!! Such an easy tool!
We also made some cute eyeball cookies! The kids loved them!
Not to mention our fun Photo Booth!
Task Cards:
*** In our class, we also used our Week Long Lessons Relative Adverbs Product***
In these products, you will find Students Notes, Practice Pages, Readers’ Notebook Ideas, Sentence Frames, Foldables, Assessments & Answer Keys