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 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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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?
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!