Making English Grammar Meaningful and Useful: Students Edition

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I was anxious to know what had become of her; therefore, I looked forward to the meeting. It can be done as stand-alone practices or as part of your revision process. Start with two and work up to more as your skills increase.

How to Make Grammar Meaningful for Your ESL Students

See how the following sentences are all short and start with I? For practice, try to combine them into one or two sentences, eliminate the repetitiveness and add more sentence variety.

Be creative. It can be a lot of fun. I was a timid child with a vivid inner life. I often find myself daydreaming. I remember it as if it were yesterday. I changed forever since that day. I was a timid daydreaming child with a vivid inner life, but on that day, which I remember as if it were yesterday, I changed forever. Longer sentences are not necessarily better, but being able to write more complex yet clear sentences is a skill all writers need. While Hemingway style of short sentences has its place in fiction, in most college and career related writing, writers are often expected to express their ideas in more formal and academic ways.

Sentence combining can be a useful method to develop that capability, in addition to learn and practice grammar rules. Studying allows you to learn the rules, but without actual application, they will not be of much value. Therefore, you need to write. That is the reason my students in the grammar course always have writing assignments.

Writing allows you to apply the grammar knowledge, just as a swimmer practices backstroke after understanding the rules of that style. Without the practice, the rules will not be meaningful and will be soon forgotten. Reading is the best way to learn grammar.

10 creative ways to teach English that deliver outstanding results

It is an imperative if you are serious about improving your grammar. It allows you to see grammar in action. As you read, you gain insights on how the rules are used by other writers. It helps you acquire a sense of language, which is the ultimate goal in grammar learning. Grammar is but one part of in the task in the mastery of the language, like a cog in a wheel. Well written reading materials make you see how the whole structure works to serve the function of conveying ideas.

Teaching Strategies to Make Your Class More Fun

Revising should be second nature to all writers. You do not want others to see your first draft. The best writing is rewriting. I do not give much credit to people who say they never revise their writing.


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Reading out loud has the added benefit of involving the sense of sound in addition to sight. Read your writing out loud to friends or family enables you to catch grammar errors you might not notice when you read it silently. I often notice mistakes, repetitions, and unclear expressions that I have not caught in my silent proofreading. Every writer, regardless of their level of accomplishment, can benefit from this strategy. Many websites can help with grammar.


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Here are some sites that I have used and found helpful. This site offers detailed rules and examples on various areas of grammar.

Grammar Lessons for Secondary Students

You can also test yourself through online quizzes. Stuck in a grocery line? Pull out your phone and go through a few grammar rules and practice them. This is a website that allows you to copy and paste in your essay and it tells you the grammar mistakes you might have in the essay. It can identify most of the errors and suggest ways to fix them. Keep in mind, however, that this is machine-generated.

Have your say

You will need to use your discretion in deciding whether or not to adopt the suggestions from the site. This is the website I have recommended the most to the students. It has free resources on grammar, writing of research papers, business letters, resumes, MLA, APA, and a host of other writing related resources. No matter how informed and gifted you feel yourself are, there will be times when you are not sure whether you should use quotation marks or use block quotes, or whether to spell the numbers or write them in their numeric forms.

Consistency is the key to learning. All phonics and spelling activities are fun, multi sensory and as physical possible, the aim being to meet all learning styles in the class. In the juniors, we try to make homework lists as personalised to the child as possible to ensure that the spelling patterns stick in a meaningful way.

Grammar cannot be taught as a stand alone activity. What's the point of that?

4 Rousing Resources for Cleverly Teaching Grammar to ESL Students | FluentU English Educator Blog

Children begin to understand grammar concepts, and start to apply them in their own writing, when they start to read with a writer's mind. Punctuation rules and techniques are drawn from shared texts; texts which the children have already been immersed in and have a good understanding of. Exploring these, and embedding them creatively is how the learning takes place. What child doesn't love marking somebody else's work?

With a clear marking key, success criteria and purpose in mind, children set about assessing either their own, or a partner's piece of writing. Modelled through the teacher's own formative marking, pupils know what the expectations are. They are well trained in searching for successful examples of the learning intention, articulating their responses to the work, checking the writing matches any targets and giving constructive feedback.

Seeing the children learn from each other in this way is hugely positive; you know you've done your job well. I'd like to share some of these approaches with you: Immersion activities How can children access stories, poems and other texts if their minds and imaginations not fully engaged? Clear purpose What's the point of reading and writing anything if you don't know why you're doing it? Professional publishing One effective way of valuing children's work as well as providing a real incentive, is to plan for a range of ways to publish their writing.

Meaningful planning Where possible, learning in English is linked with subjects within the creative curriculum we follow: the international primary curriculum IPC. Focused on strategies The teaching of reading is not easy. Inspirational learning environment Take a trip to our school and you'll find classroom environments that inspire adults and children alike. Drama to engage and inspire The use of drama is such a powerful tool. Rigorous teaching of spelling and phonics In the infants, phonics is streamed, so all children can benefit from tailored teaching, making maximum progress as a result.

Grammar concepts taught creatively Grammar cannot be taught as a stand alone activity. Peer and self assessment What child doesn't love marking somebody else's work? This content is brought to you by Guardian Professional.

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