Learning pronouns is an important part of elementary grammar lessons. It helps students reinforce their knowledge of parts of speech, and it allows them to create more sophisticated sentences. If you want to address pronouns during your grammar lesson but don't want to spend a lot of time on prep, check out these pronoun games that you can play right away in the classroom.
Taking Note of Pronouns
This is a very simple game that will not only improve students' knowledge of pronouns, but will enhance their listening skills as well. All you need is a book to read to your class.
- Divide the class into two groups. If there is one person left over, that person is the scorekeeper. If you have an even number of students, there can be two judges/scorekeepers.
- Pick a book, poem or any work of literature you can read out loud.
- As you read to the class slowly, have each team write down the pronouns they hear.
- The group that has the correct (or closest to correct) number of pronouns wins!
For younger learners, they can raise their hands when they hear a pronoun instead of writing it down. Challenge older and advanced students with longer stories or stories with different types of pronouns as well.
Subject vs. Object Pronoun Board Race
Can your students tell the difference between subject and object pronouns? Put their skills to the test with a high-speed board race game.
- Split the class into two teams.
- Have one student from each team approach the board.
- Read from a list of subject pronouns or object pronouns.
- The students write either S (subject) or O (object) on the board.
- Each correct student gets one point for their team; the fastest student gets an extra point.
- The next students approach the board and the game continues.
- The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
You can change this game up with individual whiteboards (one per student, per pair or per team), or with more teams (four or five students at the board at a time). Once students have mastered the difference between subject and object pronouns, consider including reflexive pronouns in the game.
That's My Pronoun!
Possessive pronouns can be tricky for students to master. Help them out with a fun full-class activity all about possessive pronouns.
- Choose five volunteers of different genders from the class.
- Be sure that you know their preferred pronouns (including whether they use they/them).
- Hand each volunteer an item from the classroom, such as a pencil, a globe or a ruler.
- State each item as it relates to the person holding it. For example, "This is Maureen's ruler."
- Ask students to replace the student's name with a pronoun. ("This is her ruler.") Give a point for each correct answer.
- When you've run through all five, mix up the items so the students are holding a new object. Go through the students again, making sure that the class can change the pronoun they're using.
Once the class understands the basic concept, expand the activity to include items that belong to an item or another object ("its"), items that belong to all five students ("their") and items that belong to the whole class ("our").
Pronoun Game Show
Your class may know personal and possessive pronouns, but how well do they know indefinite pronouns? Play a high-powered pronoun game to find out.
- Split the class into two or three teams.
- Ask for a volunteer from each team.
- Hand each volunteer a bell, a buzzer or another noisemaking device.
- Read a sentence with an indefinite pronoun (use one from a list of indefinite pronouns). For example, "I've already had one cookie, but I'd like another."
- Students can buzz in to identify the indefinite pronoun in the sentence ("another").
- Give the team ten points for each correct answer.
- You can rotate players by keeping the winner of the last answer, or by rotating everyone after five sentences.
- The team with the most points when the game is over wins.
For beginning students, start with simple pronouns such as "everybody" or "someone." More advanced readers can work on trickier indefinite pronouns like "several" or "both." Consider adding bonus points if students can tell whether the pronouns are singular or plural.
Replace the Pronoun
This next game can be used at any level of comprehension and uses a dry erase board or magnetic board. Write a sentence on the board and have the student replace a noun with a pronoun. Start with personal pronouns and include more as the lessons progress.
Here are some sentences to get you started:
Mario likes pizza.
Beverly has a new book.
Cats and dogs do not get along.
Give the money to Rob.
Clap for the dancers.
I like Mona.
For more advanced students you would want to leave a blank and tell them the type of pronoun. Here are some examples:
- Possessive: The new car is _____. Is that cat _____? All that stuff is _____.
- Reflexive: He hurt _____ skateboarding. I stopped _____ in time. We were fooling _____.
- Relative: The pizza _____ you gave me is cold. I don’t know _____ it happened. The man _____ lives next door is creepy.
- Demonstrative: _____ was a great movie. _____ bicycles are new. _____ is the place.
- Interrogative: _____ do you have to leave? _____ are you doing? ____ is at the door?
- Reciprocal: They really love _____. They all cooperated with _____.
- Indefinite: There is _____ in my hair. _____ can understand that. _____ is playing music.
This activity is ideal for students who are ready to review all the different types of pronouns. For children in need of a challenge, have them write their own sentences and trade with other students.
Making Grammar Engaging for All Students
Games make grammar fun. Be sure to review the grammar rules before you play the game and reinforce a specific rule if the student makes a mistake. For pronoun games that involve more prep work, check out these 7 pronoun activities to make learning fun. You can also reinforce your lesson with pronoun worksheets for practice and review.