Monday, June 25, 2012

"Are we gonna play that game?"

A few weeks ago, I posted about the Velcro grammar activity I made up for my 7th graders.  That actually came out of another hands-on grammar activity that I want to share today.

Adjective agreement is always a difficult concept for students since it's something completely unfamiliar.  While it helps that we learn it after they've developed a solid understanding of indefinite articles, adjective agreement is still tricky for many students since it's more complicated.  It really helps them to be able to physically move around the adjective endings (and review indefinite articles), especially if they have to argue their ending choice to a partner!

For both 6th and 7th graders, I created sets of cut-out words (indefinite articles, nouns, color words with no o's, and little o/a/os/as/s/es endings) that they use with a partner to create descriptions of objects (stuffed animals for 6th grade, clothing for 7th grade) on their tables.
learning in action!
 As the pairs created their descriptions, I was able to circulate through the room, checking their work, answering questions, and spending time with students who needed more help with the concept.  I loved hearing their conversations as they struggled together, explained concepts to each other, and deepened their understanding.

I expected lots of learning.  What I didn't expect was how much FUN the students would have!  We did this activity on the first day of learning adjective agreement, after a listening activity to expose the students to the structure and a mini-lesson on the SMARTboard where they guessed the rules.  The next day, we did it again as a warm-up (they got to choose different animals/clothing to describe) and my 6th graders reacted in a totally unexpected way:

         "OOOOH!"  Squeals of delight as they saw the bags of words and stuffed
          animals back on the table.
         "Are we going to play that game again?"
          "What game?"  We didn't play a game yesterday.  Games are Go Fish, Memory, 
           Bingo, Around the World...
          "With the animals and the words!"  Oh wow, they think this is a game!  I 
           thought it was a better version of a grammar worksheet!

Well, they are an enthusiastic class.  I grinned and brushed it off... until it happened again the next trimester... and the next trimester!  Invariably, across different classes and different schools, some kids would walk into class that second lesson and ask if we were "playing that game again".  Whoa.  Magic!  Throw in some stuffed animals, collaboration, and cut-up word cards, and grammar practice is a game! 


  1. You have the greatest ideas, Jennifer. I am going to send this to a friend of mine who will be working with our spanish teacher next year. I told her about your amazing and motivating lessons. I'm happy to hear about another one! Thank you!

    1. Thanks Linda -- that's a big compliment! I love sharing and it's exciting to think that my ideas are flying across the country to be used by people I've never even met! :-)


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