30 April 2016

Grammar Worksheets Don't HAVE to be Boring!

Do your students groan when you pass out a worksheet?

If your curriculum is like most middle school/high school curricula, you were probably given an anthology textbook along with supplemental blackline master sets of worksheets, right?  You've probably been told to read certain text excerpts and have students fill in the worksheets analyzing particular lit terms or practicing reading strategies.  Your grammar curriculum (which most likely came with the anthology set) is probably a book full of fill-in-the-blank, black and white, Times New Roman font-covered, dull-as-a-dishrag, worksheets, right?


ELA curriculum doesn't have to look like this!

Let me tell you a little secret...you can use your district curriculum with fidelity (gotta love the academic terms being thrown around these days!) but jazz it up to make it more fun!  I've been doing it for years, and I've found my students' engagement level has increased astronomically, and their retention of knowledge has grown, too!

Here's what I've done: I've taken my 15 years experience teaching elementary school and brought the kind of teaching I did there into my middle school classroom.  What exactly does that mean?  It means 2 things:

1. I DON'T lecture all hour.  I DON'T expect students to sit still all hour. I DON'T overwhelm them with pages upon pages of black and white fill-in-the-blank worksheets in Times New Roman.

2. I DO play games with my students.  I DO get my kids up and moving and talking to each other. I DO create my own worksheets that are fun and colorful.

My absolute favorite thing to teach is grammar.  It is also most students' LEAST favorite topic to learn!  So what did I do to get my students excited about grammar?  I created "Color By Code" coloring sheets!  My students LOVE these!  I LOVE these because my students are engaged!  They are analyzing sentences, they are identifying parts of speech, they are thinking about punctuation marks, they are working together and debating the reasoning behind their beliefs...and most importantly they are on-task, having fun, and remembering these topics long-term!

Here are a few examples of my "Color By Code" activities:

These activities each include 25 sentences to analyze and a coloring code.  Students read the sentences and either identify the underlined word or decide which punctuation mark belongs in the blank.  Then, they color the picture to match the coloring code.  It's like a color-by-number!  Kids enjoy coloring...it's not something they do much of in middle school, and it is calming.

As a teacher bonus, these are SUPER easy to correct!  Just post a master picture and have kids see if their pictures match up!  Each "Color By Code" comes with an answer key!

One of my students told me "I wish all homework was like this!"  Have you ever heard a student HAPPY to do homework?!?  Here are some examples of students hard at work :)

If you'd like to try these out in your classroom, I have many to choose from in my TpT store: Tween Spirit Boutique!  There are topics to use in elementary and in middle school! You can even grab my Types of Sentences edition for free by clicking on the picture below!

If you LOVE these activities, you can find many individually in my store, but I'm offering 10 for the price of 6 in this bundle!

Click the picture to find out more!

I also have just added a holiday-themed bundle of Color By Code Grammar Activities to my store!  You can buy each separately, but you'll save $2 if you buy them all in the bundle. There is one for Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and December Holidays! 

 Click the picture to find out more!

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