Hands-on Grammar Activities

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Hands-on Grammar Activities

  1. 1. Hands-on Grammar Activities Natalia Linkevich and Helen Nikiforova Students learn in many ways – by seeing and hearing; reflecting and acting; reasoning logicallyand intuitively; memorizing and visualizing. Teaching methods also vary. A point no educationalpsychologist would dispute is that students learn more when information is presented in a variety ofmodels than when only a single mode is used. This article extends a multistyle approach to foreignlanguage education with suggestions from our own experience of EFL teaching.You will find several kinds of hands-on grammar activities, which have been developed to expandthe exploration and study of grammar.Why Grammar? • It brings reason to complex sentence structure. • It is the framework and building blocks of our written and spoken language. • It lays the groundwork for the study of foreign languages.Learning Grammar Helps An Individual: • Build vocabulary. • Write with precision. • Read with understanding. • Speak with clarity. We believe that learners can -and should – make a greater contribution to what happens in theirclassrooms. This paper proposes greater learner involvement in grammar visuals design. Teachers should choose to use and display students’ works over commercially prepared displays.For example, while commercial grammar displays are available, only students can create a chart whichwill be personally meaningful to them and contain their own experiences and categories. By letting students create some of their own learning materials, teachers are encouraging themfrom the very beginning to grow up into independent and self-confident language learners. Using visuals such as grammar –on hands crafts is an effective way in foreign language teachingtechniques because of their psychological effect. It is a very good approach to teach and learn becauseit involves both sides of the brain and motivates speech. Hands-on activities like Active Arrows andPassive Points, Irregular-Modifier Pocket Fold, etc encourage students creativity and help themremember the concepts they need to know.We hope these activities will help EFL teachers motivate kids to learn - even enjoy - grammar. Adjective and Adverb Window Shutters
  2. 2. Practice forming the comparative and superlative forms by doing the following activity: Cut out a piece of paper approximately 8 cm x 18cm. Fold two sides in to form shutters, asshown in the illustration, leaving a space in the middle. Cut two slots about 3cm wide, as shown.Under the left shutter, write more and most Under the right shutter, write -er and -est. On a strip of paper about 2,5cm wide, list adjectives and adverbs, such as clear, precious, just,incredible, arbitrarily, slow, meaningful, dirty, strict, clever. Feed the strip of paper through the slotsas shown, making sure that a word shows in the window. Now, decide whether the modifier forms its comparative and superlative degrees with more andmost or with -er and -est First, close the right shutter to cover up -er and -est, and say the wordwith more and with most. Then, close the left shutter, and try the word with -er and -est. By alwaysclosing one shutter, you will avoid forming a double comparison. Decide how the comparative andsuperlative degrees are formed. If you are unsure, consult a dictionary. Active Arrows and Passive Points You should write most sentences in the active voice unless you want to emphasize the receiver ofan action or you are not indicating the performer of an action. To practice revising sentences bychanging them from passive to active voice, do the following activity: Cut out several arrows, similar to the ones shown below. On the side of an arrow pointing to theright, write a past tense form of a verb. Examples: addressed, bought, drew, knew, saw. Flip the arrow over so that it points to the left. Write the same verb in the passive voice.(Remember that a passive voice verb includes a form of be and a past participle.) Examples: hasbeen addressed, was bought, are drawn, was known, has been seen. Fold the flat end of the arrow,and write the word by on it, to be hidden or revealed as needed. Next, take two equal piles of index cards. On each card in one pile, write a performer of an action—a boy, an anthropologist, a scientist, my brother. On each card in the other pile, write a noun that canreceive the action—a house, a pyramid, a fossil, the portrait.Working alone or with a partner, place a receiver and a performer card words up, with a space betweenthem. Choose an arrow to fill the space. Point the arrow toward the receiver of the action. Read thispassive voice sentence. Then, flip the arrow over, and shift the two index cards to create a new activevoice sentence. Your second sentence should be shorter and more direct. Experiment by creating somesentences in your fold under the word by and do not state the performer of the action. Note that thesesentences must stay in the passive voice. Irregular-Modifier Pocket Fold Practice using irregular comparative and superlative forms of modifiers with a pocket fold. Takea 15 cm-square sheet of paper, and fold in the corners so that they meet in the middle. Turn thepaper over, and again fold in the corners. Then, crease the paper by folding it in half and in half again.You will have a small square. Unfold only the small square, and lay the paper flat so that four squaresections are facing upward. Write the positive degree of a different irregular modifier on each of the foursquares. (See example A.) Next, turn the paper over, and on each of the eight triangular sections, writecomparative or superlative. (See example B.) Then, lift up each triangle, and write underneath it thecorresponding forms of the comparative or superlative on the back of the square. Each modifier willhave two forms. Finally, refold the square so that the positives are on the outside. Place your thumbs and indexfingers in each of the four slots formed by the small squares, and pinch them together. You should beable to open and close the square in two directions, exposing either the comparative or the superlativeform each time. (See example C.)With a partner, take turns choosing a modifier from the others pocket fold. After opening and closing
  3. 3. the square in different directions four or five times, each person must give the form of the modifier indi-cated on the triangle. Check your answers by lifting up the triangle. GOOD WELL BADLY BAD Pronoun Sentence Slide To help you see how the use of a pronoun in a sentence determines its case, complete the followingactivity. Fold a sheet of paper in half lengthwise. Make several cuts, approximately 5 cm apart, from thefold to the open edge. Do not cut all the way to the open edge. Next, cut from index cards or construction paper pronoun slides. For each pronoun, cut one card asshown. On one side of the card, write the nominative case. On the other side, write the objective case. Unfold the paper, and write a sentence along each cut. Use a proper noun at each end of thesentence—in some sentences, have the second proper noun be the subject of a clause; in others,the object. Both nouns should be the same number and gender. Use the pronoun slide to cover andreplace the noun acting as the subject. Then, slide the pronoun to the other end of the sentence toreplace the object. Flip the card to show the objective case.
  4. 4. Strip Out Double Negatives Fan-fold a long, narrow strip of paper to create at least fifteen sections. Leave the first, or top, section blank. In each following section of the strip, write a negative word. You may choose to use -nt on the "not" section to remind you that contractions formed with not are nega- tive words, or you may list each negative contraction on its own section. When you are finished listing negative words, fold the strip and label the front "Negative Words." Use the strip to help you check for double negatives when you proofread. One strategy you can use when proofreading is to put an X on each negative word you find in your writing. If you see two words with an X in any sentence, evaluate whether both negative words are needed. There is hardly no time left to finish the project. There is hardly any time left to finish the project. Notice that two words on the list are crossed out of the sentence. To restore the intended meaning of the sentence, no is replaced with any. REFERENCES Carrel J.A., Wilson E.E., Forny G. Writing and Grammar. – PearsonEducation, Boston, Massachusetts, 2003 Clarke,D.F. 1989. Materials adaptation: Why leave it all to the teacher?ELT Journal, 43,2, pp.133-41. Gunter Gerngross, Herbert Puchta Creative Grammar Practice.- Longman,1999 Penny Ur Grammar Practice Activities. - Cambridge,1993

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