The lessons housed within this unit all provide practice on specific skills or strategies. Some lessons were written to see what students remember and/or can do at the beginning of the year. Others were used to re-teach groups of students who hadn’t quite mastered the chosen skill when it was first introduced. Still others were designed to give students meaningful practice while I conducted required testing.
All lessons used texts that were familiar or easily decodable so that students’ energies were spent on skill practice rather than trying to just make sense of the text itself. Many lessons include reproducibles that were made with graphics from Kevin and Amanda’s Fonts, Teaching in a Small Town, and Melonheadz Illustrating.
Let’s be honest - we’re all teachers. We know students don’t practice their grammar skills over the summer. Ok, well most of them don’t anyway. But I have to admit even I was completely blown away by how little my kids remembered about parts of speech! Haven’t we covered nouns since at least first grade? Aren’t action verbs the easiest thing in the world to get right? And adjectives… well, I’ll cut them some slack there. But not much!
We were working on a simple writing assignment that was related to a book we had covered in class when I first learned of this massive lack of understanding. When asked to identify the noun, verb, and adjective in each sentence I got little more than blank stares. Even my higher achieving kids couldn’t pick out those words accurately in a sentence! I went home that night and created this activity to try and start remediating the issue right away!
Within this activity are several pages of nouns, verbs, and adjectives pulled from Miss Nelson is Missing! (Allard, H. (1985). Miss Nelson is Missing! Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). I suggest cutting the cards apart and laminating so they can be used again.
Using my trusty chart, I quickly reviewed nouns, verbs, and adjectives. I had students give me an example of each from the classroom and we worked together to put all three into a complete sentence. Then, I handed a small stack of word cards to each table and ask them to sort into three piles: nouns, adjectives, and verbs. After a few minutes, I stopped them and had them choose one card from each pile and put the three together to form a complete sentence. There were some groups for which this came easily: others struggled. I found my way to those tables and helped them get started. For the tables who were flying through this, I asked them to take another three cards and add it to their original sentence (so there would now be two nouns, verbs, and adjectives in each sentence). I continued doing this until all groups successfully created at least two complete sentences.
Students learned that this activity would be placed in the grammar station for them to complete together with their partners. Unlike the whole group activity that was completely verbal, I expected students to complete their work on the paper provided in the center so that I could review their progress.