Thursday, May 21, 2009

Silly Sentences (Grammar)

One thing that is (stereotypically) pretty boring to teach and to learn is grammar. I started the year with this activity jsut to guage how much my students knew, an it turned their thinking around a little bit.

We made Silly Sentences. Then we made them into a silly flip book. Here is what I did.

First is the "boring" part. I did review what a noun, verb, adjective and adverb was. If you don't have something in your many teacher books to use, check out Super Teacher Worksheets for some basic helps. In our review we made a list of examples of each of the parts of speech.

Second. . .we made them into sentences. For writing the first sentences, I kept up the lists of examples that we had brainstormed. We followed this sentence pattern:
Noun with an adjective (either before or after the noun)->verb with an adverb (either before or after the verb)-> phrase.
For example: The yellow alien ate vigorously after landing on Earth.
The yellow (adjective) alien (noun) ate (verb) vigorously (adverb) after landing on Earth (phrase).

We wrote one and shared each students' example with the class. Then we wrote another one without the help of the lists. Then, the next day (just to be sure we knew what each of the parts of speech really was), we wrote three more sentences . . . and pair shared (to check for corrections, editing practice and accuracy).

Third, we made our good copies. (Good copies were written on special paper--see the example for how to create it). This was actually tougher for them than I expected. I showed them an example, I did an example for them, I had them explain back what they were supposed to do. . .and it was still tough for some of them to understand! (Maybe we were just having one of those days!) Once we got the hang of it, it was easy! Split your sentence up into three parts: noun and adjective, verb and adverb and phrase. (This is why it is kind of important to follow the sentence pattern.) The noun and adjective needs to be written in the top section. The adverb and adverb needs to be written in the middle section. The phrase (the rest of the sentence) needs to be written in the bottom section. (See photo). Each sentence needs to be written that way on a separate page.
Fourth, we made the picture to go along with the silly sentence. This part needs to follow the pattern as well! The "head" or top of the noun described needs to go in the top section of the picture box. The "body" or "trunk" or middle of the noun needs to go in the middle section of the picture box. The "legs" or bottom section of the noun needs to go in the bottom of the picture box. The top and middle of the picture is linked by the noun's neck and the middle and bottom section are linked by the noun's lower body. (One of my students did a sentence about a book shelf. Another did one about a shark. I showed them how their picture had to still cross or attach at those same points. . .for later on, when we put it all together in a book.) Because. . .we are going to put all of our sentences together to make a flip book of MANY Silly Sentences! See. . .
(oops, photo still coming!)
And here are the photos:
This is one students' page. Below is how the pages look mixed up in this silly flip book!
In our class we made a "girls-authored" book and a "boys-authored" book. I was amazed at how often the students chose those books to read when they were finished their work or doing quiet reading. You can adapt this to other grade levels by adding more adverbs, adjectives or other parts of speech, deleting them for younger grade levels, making specific requirements for the "phrase" part, changing tenses, plurals vs. singulars, whatever fits your lesson. This is more exciting than worksheets, in my opinion! . . .but a little more work as well.

Isn't grammar fun?!?

Okay, so if this wasn't rewarding enough for you, check out this link for a grammar computer game called Grammar Park.

No comments: