8 Tips for Teaching Grammar without a Worksheet

1. Grammar instruction is most naturally integrated during the revising, editing, and proofreading phases of the writing process. During writing conferences, use various strategies to teach the concept(s) or skill(s) that would enhance the piece that the student is working on right then. Don’t overwhelm them with too many errors; focus on the most the corrections that will do the most to improve their work. Mini lessons with small groups or individual students are effective in integrating grammar into writing instruction.

2. Terminology is useful for describing and explaining sentences, not for writing and reading them. Don’t stress yourself – or the students – by worrying whether they can label a word an “adjective” or an “adverb”. Concern yourself with making sure they can use them successfully in their writing. The terminology will follow, especially if you model and discuss sample sentences of various structures and styles.

3. Guide students through activities in sentence combining, sentence expanding, and sentence manipulating. Research shows these activities are more effective than freewriting in enhancing student writing. These activities can be completed as a class – orally or in writing – and during minilessons or conferences. Use samples from student work (but get permission first) or from books they are reading.

Model Sentence, from Skinnybones: