How can I teach grammar lessons in English?
- Teach grammar lessons explicitly as their own lesson and as part of your other English lessons – Grammar needs to be part of all lessons but also taught on its own. Teaching grammar through writing is great, but you will need to explain it separately.
- Use examples from the kids’ own words – 'Jane’s book is under the table' might be a good sentence for showing the apostrophe but it doesn’t relate to the kids. Let them choose the sentences.
- Look at what works well in other areas – If your kids respond really well to the lessons you take outside, consider teaching outside. If they love the investigations, create lessons that involve some problem-solving.
- Teach before you review – I know this sounds obvious but sometimes as teachers, we want to get some evidence down quickly. Teach the technique or skill first! Then review with tasks or worksheets.
- Set up a schedule for your week – I will talk about this in more detail below, but planning out a set schedule for each topic, will make planning it so much easier!
What grammar do I teach each day?
Here is an example of a weekly grammar lesson in English that can be adapted into any topic you need to teach. When you are writing your grammar lesson plan think about how the different activities for each day can be used.
You need to set yourself a schedule to make your grammar lesson plans easier and to keep on top of things. I start with the teaching. On a Monday we really dive into the topic of the week. Before we start anything give them a small very quick assessment. I call this a cold assessment and it is just to get a base level and also can be useful to show the kids how much their knowledge has grown at the end of the week.
Introduce the new skill that they will be learning. Make sure to stick to just that one skill, you might want to expand on other points but it is important that they focus on just this one. Don’t make it too heavy though, teach them the rules they need to know, related to that grammar skill.
Show them the rules, the exceptions, examples and give them tasks or questions to answer. Get the class to provide examples to each other to get a feel for the new grammar they have learnt. I tend not to have too much writing in the Monday lesson, the kids need to just be soaking it in, but you can use post-its or whiteboards and have them write answers that way or simply you record them on the board for them.
Don’t expect them to get it straight away, even if it is a pretty straightforward concept it takes time and practice but Mondays let them meet this new skill and get to know how it works.
Now we make sure the teaching of grammar has gone in. If you use interactive notebooks they are great for Tuesdays, they let the students create their own reference book to go and check whenever they need it. If you don’t you can still use a fun activity that practices the learning from yesterday. I wouldn’t have them just answer questions or fill in worksheets today. They need to be remembering the skill they learnt on Monday. Have them teach someone else the skill in an interesting way, they can make a detailed poster that will explain it to others. Have them create a lesson that they can show to the year below or make a craft that involves reaffirming the new skill. Tuesdays are about cementing that knowledge and ensuring the understanding.
Now we get to the actual practising of the skill. Use prompts such as pictures or remember an event that the class took part in, something like that and get them to write short texts. Remind them of the skill we are focussing on this week. Let them know that they need to try and use the other skills they already know but the main marking point will be this week’s skill.
Then you can mark as a class reading out work and talking about where they have used the skill, swap with partners and peer review or just go around and mark as they write, giving them verbal feedback. It can help on a Wednesday to have a success criteria, but remember the focus needs to be on this week’s grammar point, while it might drive you crazy they forge their capital letters if this week is about commas then leave that marking and feedback for later. You can mention that there are other areas but don’t deep mark here.
Thursdays are game days! I like to make the lessons fun and engaging so Thursdays are the day to use the skills we have learnt and practised in a game. Some great simple grammar games can be found online or you can use one of my mystery games here which kids love!
A game that involves some movement is a good idea as it will get them out of their seats and keep the lesson upbeat and fun. Make sure that the game has a focus on this week’s skill and ensure you talk about it after playing to see how the students are getting on with their new knowledge.
Fridays' lessons are a little more lowkey than the rest of the week. On a Friday we test the new skill, with short questions in the form of worksheets or task cards, just to make sure the kids get it. A nice thing to do is to use a similar test to the beginning of the week, not only can you show the class how their knowledge has grown but they can also develop their own ideas about how to respond to questions.
In what order do I teach grammar?
You might be wondering how to teach grammar in an order that makes sense to your students. Many grammar topics can be taught in any order, although some need to come before others. It will depend on the age and ability of your class but a good idea to work with the building of sentences, such as the types of sentences, verbs, adjectives etc, before moving onto the flow with skills such as semi-colons etc.
How do I make grammar lessons fun?
Games and craft activities can really break up the constant worksheets and task cards that tend to creep into grammar lessons. Using detective games and escape rooms are one way to keep the lessons fun. You can have the kids use crafts and interactive notebooks to remind them of important grammar points and it also makes the learning more interesting than simply copying out the information.
What resources can I use to teach grammar?
I have several grammar resources in my store. Escape room games and lessons, fun puzzles, and digital online learning resources. If you have anything you would like to see please get in touch and let me know.
Other top tips
- When teaching grammar show and say the examples several times for the visual and audio learners
- Keep the class involved in PowerPoints – make sure there is a task at least every other slide
- Every week doesn’t need to be a new grammar skill some weeks need to be for consolidation and catchups
- Make examples funny. They will remember it better
- Use competition between students and groups to get them working and focused.