Routinely teaching lessons through L.5.3 is a good idea. Using knowledge of language and it's conventions are across the board significant in the development of effective writers, readers, speakers and listeners. The textbook has its place, but introductory lessons are often done best using other means. In this case, instead of introducing the pronoun via the textbook, I show them the importance of it through an engaging activity.
At the fifth grade level, a teacher expects to ask her students what a pronoun is and hear a correct answer. When I asked the question today, I had to correct things equating pronouns to proper nouns or plural nouns...both beginning with P (which is an indication of something when it comes to retention.) After the second incorrect response I told them I'd ask the question again after we watched School House Rock Pronouns Video.
I like to begin my grammar introductions with the dependable School House Rock dvds, and the video on Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla is particularly perfect for this activity. It demonstrates how ridiculous speech would sound without pronouns. As predicted, as soon as they've seen the video, the definition of what a pronoun is is no longer perplexing (and hopefully they'll actually remember it after this go-round.) I next put a copy of the 5th grader Pronoun Pros worksheet onto the Smart Board Smart Board Overview to explain the activity. I select a story picture page randomly then model how they proceed. I added a link to a list of pronouns for teacher use because the kids get stuck on using the typical he, she, it, him, her.
Now the fun part. I distribute the story picture pages Examples of Story Pictures randomly on the kids' desks without worrying about whether they trade or not. By the time I get around the room, most have ended up with one they can live with Deciding on a picture to use and the others are satisfied when I tell them I'll trade out some of the extras, if necessary. Story Picture Page and worksheet
The kids use the 5th graders Pronoun Pros two-sided worksheet along with the picture page. They list pronouns about the pictures on their page; write a short story about one of the pictures without using pronouns Writing the Story without Pronouns; rewrite the short story using only pronouns Student writes with pronouns; rewrite the short story again in a natural way- using nouns and pronouns together. They work intently Students working intently on each section of the worksheet. Finally, they have the chance to draw a picture of the picture they chose as their story focus, at the bottom of the page.
This activity is more challenging than they expect and as I monitor their independent work Writing the stories it's easy to find examples of nouns and pronouns overlapping in the wrong stories. It's a very good way for them to discover, and hopefully retain, what pronouns are and why they are important.
They can't wait to come to the front of the room and share their "Pronoun and Pronoun-less" stories Student reading her examples along with their picture. The writing isn't fabulous, usually, but the components are present and the kids feel pretty accomplished by the end. Student Example 2 pg. 1 and Student Example 2 pg. 2
As a final activity, they must write a 1/2 page paragraph or essay Student Example Paragraph Highlighting Pronouns about a topic of their choosing. There's no restriction on Pronoun or No Pronouns because I want them to write freely. After they finish, they must use a highlighter to indicate all of the pronouns Student Examples Highlighting Pronouns they ended up using. This can be done at the conclusion of the lesson or as a homework assignment.
Applying grammar skills directly with writing is an excellent way to help students learn the concepts authentically. They understand why they're using the skills and that will translate into each becoming a more effective writer.