Engaging Grammar Instruction

The steps to how I make my verb tense unit engaging and meaningful!


Lesson One: Make it Relevant!

The first thing I do to make verb tense relevant for my students (this would work for all sorts of grammar concepts) is to have them take out their independent reading novel, and copy down a few sentences. Then, I have a few students share their passage, and I rewrite it on the board mixing up all of the verb tenses. We discuss how the story sounds crazy if you don’t use the correct verb tense! This brings relevance and importance to the unit.

Lesson Two: Get the Notes!

Grammar is one of those things that my students HAVE to take notes on so that they can reference them later. I use these simple notes that describe each verb tense, and give an example. I find that guided notes work best for my students because it keeps them following along and recording information, but it’s not overwhelming!

Lessons Three-Five: Practice, Practice, Practice!

I do a couple different practice activities for my verb tense unit. The first activity I do is have my students work together on these practice worksheets. Yes, they are worksheets which are not the most engaging component to this unit, BUT they provide valuable practice! I do the worksheets first so that I can monitor and correct mistakes quickly and easily.

After I’m confident that my students are truly understanding the skill (in this case, verb tense), I use these task cards. Task cards are ALWAYS more engaging than worksheets, and there are so many ways to use them in the classroom. I like to hang them all over the classroom walls, and have my students do an “around the room” activity using the answer sheet on a clipboard. I’ve had my students work in groups to answer the cards, or even played a version of SCOOT.

The last activity I do with my students for most units (in this case verb tense), is to have them play a board game based around the grammar skill. This is always a favorite in the classroom! It gets even the most reluctant students engaged in the lesson, and working on their grammar. This verb tense board game can be found here.

Lesson Six: Assess

As with any unit, I need to have a way to assess my students. In this case, I use a super simple quiz that requires them to have knowledge of the definitions, as well as be able to apply their knowledge of verb tense in several different ways.

I follow a similar pattern of lessons for EVERY grammar unit I teach. I find that it gives my students plenty of opportunities to practice the skills in various ways!


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