Keeping Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation Practical and Fun

Does your class groan and moan when it’s time for grammar, spelling and punctuation work?
Grammar doesn’t have to be boring or completed sat at a table with a piece of paper and pencil. Try some of the ideas below to get kids moving around and having fun as they learn about grammar, spelling and punctuation.  

Moveable Sentences

Get children to play around and experiment with sentence structure and words. Write a sentence on a piece of paper and chop it up, how many different ways can children make a sentence using the same words? Give children magazines or newspapers to cut words out of to make a sentence; can they use the same words in a different order? Do they need to add any words? How long or short can they make the same sentence? Can they start the sentence with an adverb?

Using different mediums

Bored of pencil and paper? Try using a different medium to make it fun and memorable for children of all ages. Practise spelling tricky words, spelling patterns, write words with the same vowel sounds, practise adding suffixes to words, try writing punctuation marks or writing contractions using a variety of different writing experiences.

  • Write in chalk outdoors,

  • Write using icing tubes,

  • Give children a bottle of sauce to write with,

  • Use paint with a paintbrush or printing (foam letters or potato printing),

  • Write words out of magnetic letters,

  • Create words in playdough,

  • Give children magazines to find and cut out examples of capital letters or types of sentences,

  • Fill a tray with shaving foam then spread flat and use your finger to write in it.

Matching games

A matching game is when you match one card to another. Matching games can be played in different ways; matching cards at the table like a puzzle: give each child a card and ask them to find the child with the matching card, or hide half the cards around the school environment (this could be anywhere in the school, the hall, the classroom or playground) and ask the child to find the matching part. Matching games can be adapted to teach and practise all sorts of grammar, spelling and punctuation rules.

Punctuation - Match a statement/sentence/question to the correct punctuation mark !?.
You will need: a set of cards with either a statement, a question or a sentence on and a set of cards with ! ? or . on

Compound words - Match words to make compound words


 

You will need: cards with words that can be joined to make a new word for example snow, man, sun, flower.

Conjunctions – match clauses with an appropriate connective

You will need: main clauses, subordinate clauses and connectives

Contractions – match full word to contractions, for example: don’t matches to do not


 

Capital letters – match lowercase letters to uppercase

You will need: cards with lowercase letters and cards with uppercase letters

Past and Present tense – match verbs in the past tense to the present tense


 

Homophones – match homophones


 

Making word cards/sentence cards/punctuation cards – Cards can be made from whatever you have available – paper, thin card, recycled cereal boxes, cut up cardboard boxes, scrap paper or rummage through the waste paper basket and reuse old worksheets, lesson plans or letters. Once you have made a class set – keep hold of them and reuse as a revision session later in the year. The cards can be any size to suit your children and activity.

For some activities you can even get the children to help make the cards by giving them a blank card and asking them to work in pairs to think of words, then collect them in and muddle them up to play a game. For example; ask children to work in pairs to think of two words that can be joined together to make a compound word, or to think of a word and matching contraction, or one child could write a sentence/statement/question and their partner writes the correct punctuation mark.
 

Make it a Quiz or a Game

‘How many in a minute?’ game: use a visual timer such as a sand timer or stopwatch on the interactive whiteboard and set the children a ‘how many in a minute’ challenge such as….

  • write down as many adverbs as you can in a minute

  • write down as many words with the vowel sound ‘oa’ as you can in a minute

  • write down as many adjectives that mean ‘big’ as you can in a minute

  • write down as many words with the prefix ‘un’ as you can in a minute

 

‘Statement, sentence or question?’ game: Read a sentence, statement or question and ask children to identify if it needs a question mark, full stop or capital letter.

Compound word game: read a word and ask the children to think of a word they could join to it to make a new word. For example if you said sun they could say flower, bed, cream or day.

Singular or plural game: call out a singular noun and ask children to write down the plural.

Children can write the answers on an indivuidal whiteboard and hold it up. Or split the group into teams and ask them to ‘buzz’ to answer then award points for correct answers. 

Sorting activities


Word types – give children a selection of words and ask them to sort them according to word types such as verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs or conjunctions. You could focus on nouns and sort into common nouns and proper nouns. Choose the number of categories to suit your objective and class.

Word families – ask children to sort words into word families, identifying the spelling patterns.

Present and present tense – sort verbs into past and present tense

Clauses – sort clauses into subordinate clauses and main clauses

Sorting activities can be done in different ways;

  • Label corners of the room or school hall (for example; verbs, noun, adjective, conjunction) and give each child a word, then ask them to find the correct corner.

  • Provide hoops and ask children to sort the words into the hoops; challenge children to identify the heading for each hoop.

  • Ask children to work as a group at a table to sort the words. Encourage children to discuss their reasoning.

 
All these activities are really flexible and can fit into your lesson, timetable or routine in different ways; use as an ice-breaker, a time filler, lesson starter, lesson activity, plenary, revision or assessment strategy. They can be used for whole class activities or small focused groups. Each activity type can be adapted to different age groups, abilities and objectives. Have fun learning grammar, spelling and punctuation! What activity will you try first?

Practical, fun activities also work really well for intervention groups too. Try some fun activities to develop children’s confidence and enthusiasm.

Are you looking for a writing and grammar intervention programme to boost attainment? Check out Rising Stars On-Track English Writing and Grammar Teacher’s Guide.


 

Tags

English and Literacy, English and Writing, Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation, writing

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