Grammar appears to be a subject that teachers either love or hate to teach. There are also a lot of polarizing opinions on how to teach grammar. Some say it should only be taught in the context of writing instruction, while others believe in a daily grammar block. The purpose of this post is not to debate an all or nothing approach. Instead, I’ll share what I’ve found effective for teaching grammar in my classroom. I think we all can agree that grammar should not be an afterthought to instruction but an intentional part of our day. Before sharing about teaching grammar, I’d like to share my pacing of my grammar units. I only have four grammar units, but those four units teach all of my language or grammar standards.
In the first unit, I focus on nouns: identifying, singular and plural, common and proper, possessive, and abstract nouns. In the second unit I primarily teach verbs: identifying, linking verbs, helping verbs, verb tense, and subject-verb agreement. The third unit focuses on identifying and using adjectives and adverbs. The fourth unit includes everything else: complete sentences, compound and complex sentences, coordinating and subordinating conjunctions, and commas. I do have a fifth unit on the pacing guide, but during that unit I’m reviewing the first four units.
Consistent review is essential for students to retain what they’ve learned and to be able to retrieve that information from their long term memories. I incorporate spiral review through my homework and morning work. While I don’t send home much homework, the homework I do send home is a spiral review. I don’t like to assign homework on something my students just learned in class, because many students will need reteaching. Instead, I use homework to have my students practice skills they have already learned.
This picture shows my Third Grade Spiral Language Review. This reviews the third grade Common Core Standards language skills through a spiral review worksheet. There is one worksheet for each week of the school year for a total of 36 worksheets.
I also made a 4th grade version of the spiral language review. The skills reviewed include: Relative Pronouns, Relative Adverbs, Progressive Verbs, Modal Auxiliaries, Adjectives (ordering adjectives and identifying adjectives), Prepositional Phrases, Punctuation, Capitalization, Combining Sentences, Spelling, and Homophones.
This is my Fourth Grade Language Arts Morning Work, which is set up in a similar format to geared toward fourth grade standards.
I recognize that some of the skills are tricky for students at the beginning of the year, so I often have students only complete part of the day’s problems until they are ready to complete all parts of the assignment. It usually only takes a week or two for students to be able to complete their morning work in a timely manner.
I’ve included mentor sentence examples in my writing units. I wrote the sentences to go along with the mini lessons on the writing strategy taught for that day AND the grammar skill taught within that unit. You can learn more about my writing units here.