Monday, July 23, 2018

8 Grammar Extension Activities for Late Elementary and Middle School Kids

What a fun title, right?

Except that grammar IS fun, or at least there are plenty of games and activities that can make it fun.

The point of adding grammar extension activities even to a packaged grammar curriculum is that it's unfortunately easy for a kid to master the format of the way that grammar exercises are presented in their curriculum, but not be able to translate that to "real" sentences in the real world. That's why I dropped First Language Lessons--the kids could easily complete the exercises in the books, but couldn't diagram the simplest sentence that I wrote for them if it didn't follow the formulaic pattern that it always did in the book. Analytical Grammar is working MUCH better, fortunately!

These grammar extension activities, then, are (mostly) fun, but most importantly, they get a kid to think about grammar in different contexts, with different types of sentences in different situations, than they tend to see while doing their regular grammar work. The kids like it because they get to do something different, and it generally brings some other skills and activities, like creative writing or problem solving, into the mix.

I don't have as many of these activities as I do, say, for math enrichment, because I tend to offer these grammar extension activities more like monthly rather than weekly, but most of these have more playability, too, so we can do them over and over rather than finding something different every single time, like I also do with math. But here are some of the kids' favorites:

I made my own Cards Against Humanity-type game by writing a series of independent clause cards and coordinating conjunction cards. To play, as a group we draw one independent clause card and one coordinating conjunction card, and then we each complete the sentence with our own made-up independent clause.

It practices the grammar of compound sentences, as well as handwriting and creative writing, and it's the most fun of all of our grammar extension activities!

Grammar Board Games

This particular board game, Grammar Scramble, is out of print, but there are actually a ton of grammar board games around that you can try out.

 Grammar Scramble works well because it provides some scaffolding to build basic sentences, but you can also extend them in a ton of ways to earn yourself more points, so there's built-in incentive to unlock the patterns of grammar.

Daily Twitter Grammar Exercises

These Daily Grammar Workouts on Twitter are fun because the results are compiled via poll, so you can participate or just check back later to see if you agree with the winning answer. The topics vary, too, so you might find a review of something previously learned, or something all-new to discuss.

Homeschooling doesn't mean that you can't play group games! If you're part of a co-op or just know some other kids who are at the same grammar level as your kids, you can get them together and play this fun grammar-themed version of Quidditch!

I really like the idea of these popsicle sticks, because they're manipulatives that you could use for several years over several levels. Kids could self-generate words for the sticks, or write their current spelling words. You could label them, or build sentences. There are so many ways to use a controlld vocabulary!

Mad Libs

Oh, my gosh, there are so many Mad Libs books and games, and the best part is that kids choose these themselves, as leisure time activities, because they're fun! We did Mad Libs both to and from Dayton, Ohio, last month, as Syd's choice of activity, and the only quibble that I had with it is that every time Syd would say "word ending in -ing," I would correct her with "gerund. It's a gerund. Why can't they just say 'gerund?'"

The basic set-up is very simple, but the beauty of these dominoes is that you can add parts of speech and word examples to extend the game. 

Linking Verb Chain

I don't normally think that you need to memorize all the words of a certain part of speech, but if a kid is feeling really not confident about a particular part of speech, it can help! Here's an example of memorizing linking verbs, and in our homeschool, I had the kids memorize prepositions a few years ago. They've lost it now, but at the time it was valuable for them to have all the examples memorized when they were having trouble using logic to identify prepositions. Now they can identify prepositions using contextual clues, so don't need to have them memorized.

Most grammar activities are basic and geared for the very young learner, so I'm always on the lookout for activities like these, that explore more advanced concepts and are fun for older kids. If you know of anymore great ones, pretty please let me know!

P.S. Want a ton more homeschooling resources and ideas? Check out my Craft Knife Facebook page!

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