Fun with Grammar – Hoops

hoops 002 One can never have too much fun with grammar.  Those of you who survived that Friday morning activity of ‘Parse this paragraph’as a student, will understand my determination (as a teacher) to breath life and fun into grammar.  The hoop activity can be used for ANYTHING.  Start with a quality text.  My choice was ‘Bear has a story to tell’ by Philip C. Stead.  After reading this delightful little story I chose to focus on descriptions of WHERE and WHEN.

If you are following this blog you can use this activity to build on the vocabulary and understandings established with Sentence Dice.  The hoops I am currently using are sold as ‘desktop sorting circles’ because they can be collapsed and I would look really silly on a bus with full sized coloured plastic hoops carried across my person.  Any coloured hoop will do.

Now to the important part.  I went through the book and wrote adverbials of time and place onto strips of card.  I made labels WHEN and WHERE.  This book gave me beautiful lines such as ‘under a blanket of fallen leaves’ and ‘when spring hoops 003arrived’.  Seated in a circle with the class I read a strip at a time and then gave it to a student and asked whether it told me where something happened or when something happened.  I asked where it should be placed and why they thought that.  The discussion was lively and engaging and you could hear the students’ vocabulary expanding.

Once you’ve sorted like this, the sky is the limit.  Just think of all the grammar you can investigate (while having fun and still talking about fabulous literature).

This activity was undertaken last week by Ash and Alex in their classroom and dramatically improved the quality of student writing (in a single lesson).