Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Teaching Parts of Speech

We have been using the Evan Moor workbooks* to teach basic grammar rules. Like many things in life though, grammar is one of those things you just have to practice.

When Sierra learned about nouns, verbs and adjectives a couple weeks ago, I knew I wanted to introduce her to mad libs*. She had to get a little better at knowing her parts of speech first though. So I bought the mad libs as incentive and put them out on the kitchen counter and told her if she practiced her parts of speech each day that week, we would try out the mad libs on Thursday.

For practice, I had made up popsicle stick sets. On wide sticks, I had written "nouns", "verbs" and "adjectives". On narrow sticks, I wrote examples of each part of speech. I made an equal number of examples for each one. I made a couple of sets so she couldn't just memorize which words went under which title. I also made her switch sets so she didn't do the same words twice in a row.

She LOVED this game. And she was very motivated to practice because she really wanted to see what that mad lib book was all about (which, of course, gives her more practice, but she needed at least a base to start with before we got into those).

She's doing pretty good at recognizing nouns, verbs and adjectives now, but she still asks to do these sets just for fun. As she learns more parts of speech, it will be easy for me to add to the set as needed.

The sticks are available at craft stores and I used a fine point permanent marker to write on them. When I tried a regular tip permanent marker, the ink spread into the wood and made the letters too fuzzy and difficult to read. You could definitely fancy this up if you have more time on your hands and you could color code the sticks for a younger child who is just beginning to learn and can't really separate the words into the appropriate groups on their own yet.

We do a lot of worksheets because Sierra does well with them, but it's always nice to get more involved in the lesson too. Manipulating objects and physically moving definitely seems to help the information "stick" more.

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