English Grammar Teaching Tools

Learning grammar rules doesn't have to be dull. Some of it requires rote memorization, but the approach to teaching has changed. While worksheets will always have their place, task-based learning is starting to dominate the classroom. That is, we don’t just focus on what needs to be taught, but also why it needs to be taught. So, if you’re introducing adjectives, you might express its need when writing a restaurant menu.

With the “why” in the forefront of your mind, the sky’s the limit when introducing new grammar tools for your learners.

a student typing on his laptop a student typing on his laptop

Visual Aids

Visual learners abound in the classroom. As such, visual aids will help with retention and build lasting memories in your students’ minds. These are some of the best classroom prompts. Let’s explore a few visual aids that will bring everyone into the fold and make learning fun.

Photos

This is task-based learning at its finest. Ask your students to bring in a couple photos from home. It can be anything, but give them some suggestions, like pictures of their pets, siblings, or favorite activities. Tape one of each student’s photos on a large poster board.

For younger learners, ask them what they see. If someone’s playing soccer, ask them what part of speech “kicking” is. If someone brought in a picture of their new puppy, ask them what part of speech “dog” is. Be sure to make your way around the room and ask each student a question that will allow them to be successful.

For older students, you can use this activity as a writing prompt. Select one student’s photo and ask them to write a short story based on what’s happening in the picture.

Check out these Visual Imagery Examples. Perhaps they’ll serve as writing prompts for your next lesson.

Diagramming Sentences

Let’s change gears a little bit from task-based learning. Diagramming is a classic visual aid that still holds an important place in the classroom. Sentence diagrams are not a thing of the past. In fact, they remain tremendously helpful as grammar tools when teaching the various parts of a sentence.

While the basic formula for a sentence is subject + verb + direct object, there’s much more variation to it. We also have adjectives, adverbs, and other parts of speech. Really breaking it all down through a diagram on the board that students must also copy into their notebooks is something that will stick with them for many years to come.

Here are some Free Diagramming Sentences Worksheets to help you kickstart these invaluable lessons.

Game of Opposites

Are you working on antonyms? One of the best ways to not only practice antonyms but also draw from recent vocabulary words is to write a single word on the board. Then, ask students to jot down its opposite (there will be times when more than one answer is appropriate). You might write “dark,” to which they’ll write “light.” If you write “tall,” some may write “short.” Others might write “tiny.”

For inspiration, check out these Examples of Antonyms, Synonyms, and Homonyms for Kids.

Classroom Activities

Like visual learning, kinesthetic learning helps new concepts stick. Physical movement is one of the most underrated grammar tools! Whenever you can pair some type of movement with new concepts, it’ll aid in retention. Here are a few ways to get everyone up and learning while practicing core skills.

Conjugation Bee

Instead of a spelling bee, you can have an irregular verb bee. Irregular verbs are tricky. There’s no rule to teach these verbs, as they refuse to follow the standard rules of grammar. For this exercise:

  1. Call out an irregular verb and a verb tense.
  2. Ask the next student in line to announce the proper conjugation. You might start with “wake” and ask the student to provide the past tense of that verb (woke).
  3. If the student is incorrect, they’re “out.”
  4. The game continues until only one student remains.

To work your way through this game, refer to this Irregular Verb Printable.

Grammar Potato

This is a fun activity to keep everyone engaged and “on their toes.” The concept is quite simple. Pick a grammar topic that you’d like to focus on, like nouns. Call out the topic, model an example (such as “house”), and then, as you pass the potato, each student will have to call out a noun of their own within a certain time limit.

As an added challenge, each student might have to name a noun starting with the last letter of the previous response. So, “house” might be followed by “elephant,” which can then be followed by “table,” and so on.

You can reinforce nouns with FreeSchool’s All About Nouns video.

Race to Write

Divide the class into two teams. Each student will have a chance to race to the board and write as many vocabulary words as they can, according to the question you pose.

Take a look at the vocabulary words you’ve been working on lately. Stick to a certain theme, such as animals, food, or colors, and give each student a turn to run to the board to answer your question. For example, you might ask, “Which fruits are eaten at breakfast?” or, “What animals can you see at the zoo?”

Grammar Books

Even in this digital age, taking a pencil to paper will never go out of style. Here are some of our favorite grammar books and workbooks full of short activities and interactive explanations.

180 Days of Language for Kindergarten

Ideal for ages 5 to 7, this is a wonderful resource to help little learners start to comprehend spelling, parts of speech, capitalization, and even a little punctuation. In it, you’ll find 180 activities to fill the entire school year. There’s also a nice digital resource with PDFs and activity sheets.

The Great Grammar Book by Jennie Maizels

This interactive book is great for ages 7 to 10. There are wheels to spin, flaps to lift, and tabs to pull. Each activity allows students to name pictures (to learn nouns), spin wheels (to see verbs in action), and put adjectives to work while identifying silly new characters. The pronoun “I” is taught by looking in a mirror. Pretty cool.

Grammar Minutes

The Grammar Minutes series offers books for grades 1 through 6. This collection contains “minute” worksheets with 10 problems for students to solve in quick, condensed time periods. It’s designed according to core standards and covers sentence structure, capitalization, punctuation, parts of speech, synonyms, antonyms, contractions, and more.

Illustrated Grammar and Punctuation by Usborne

Visual learners aged 8 to 11 will love this great book. It covers parts of speech via text, arrows, and colors. For example, nouns are always green. It’s also filled with graphs and cartoon drawings. Then, it dives into pictorial lessons about punctuation and finishes with quizzes, games, and puzzles.

TIME For Kids Grammar Rules!

The goal of this book (ages 8 to 12) is to prove that grammar and learning can be fun. It dives into commonly misused words, spelling, and memory games, and then branches out into parts of speech, punctuation, and other grammar rules. Introducing semicolons, dahes, and ellipses at this age will set up your learners for a lifetime of success.

Grammar Never Goes Out of Style

Not only does grammar never go out of style, but it’s also a skill that will encourage a student’s academic career. The younger we can instill not only the how but the why into little learners’ minds, the better off they’ll be.

When you’re ready to build upon these grammar tools, check out these fun language arts games. They’ll help students practice reading, comprehension, spelling, vocabulary, and more. Enjoy spreading seeds of hope and success!

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