Gameifying Grammar

1 Year Ago:

This year we’ve had a real focus on writing, as I’m sure many of us have. During two assemblies a week, class teachers are ‘advised’ to run intervention groups with weaker writers or just those who are so far off their target that you want to cry: the ‘red’ data children.

My Tuesday group is a ‘middle to low ability way off target group’ (rolls off the tongue nicely). They couldn’t remember the word classes, they started most of their sentences with ‘I’ or ‘The’, full-stops were their only friends, ‘and’ and ‘then’ littered their work, their vocabulary choices were simple and they generally found writing a laborious chore. My what a difference two terms has made!

With this group, I started with a lot of games. They got on so well that we still do, but the amount of time spent writing has increased for the games has increased.

Here are a few games that we play:

//POST-IT RACES!

I didn’t realise how much fun and how popular this would be and so it frequently appears across the curriculum. All that’s needed is a stack of post-it notes and a timer of sorts – the more visual the better. I use my VCOP challenge cards or just pick a wow word that they have to use in a sentence, set the timer and off the go. Forfeits for no CLs (only because I know this group can cope). The myth that I ate a post-it note with no CL on is a falsehood…

// DICE!

I bought blank dice – best purchase ever. We come up with different connectives/bits of punctuation/types of openers that they have to use. They take turns to roll the dice (or more than one to up the stakes!) the timer is set and off they (or we, if I’m feeling competitive) go! We vote for winner and theirs is stuck on working wall as a good example.

// CONSEQUENCES!

A different fun/odd picture is given to each child. The group will write about each picture, but a different section in each e.g. different parts of the story or news report. Write, fold, pass, write etc. When it gets back to the first person, they have to go through and fix spelling/punctuation/tense so it flows. Ends up with an interesting piece of writing and they’re good at being critical friends when it affects their story!

// SIMON (JEFF *GROAN*) SAYS…!

They have to come up with adverbial phrases/metaphors to add detail about how something is said. I gather the post-its they’ve written these on and read them out with or without ‘Jeff says…’ and they act them out. Then do it again…simple and juvenile and we all love it.

// ACTIVE-ITIES

They’re a sporty bunch so balls and general running around comes in naturally, especially for learning the vocabulary for SPAG tests e.g. synonyms/antonyms. We label the corners A-D and I or they (using a thesaurus) assign each corner a word, one of which is an antonym for tired. They have to run to right one.

For this group, these work. They’re a loud bunch of boys for whom sitting and doing constant past papers wouldn’t work. Thursday’s group runs entirely differently with maybe one or two games to get them started/finished.

The main thing is, these boys groan when they have to go to assembly, they laugh and enjoy the group and they go out of their way to write for the mini competitions. They now see writing as a challenge, but of the fun rather than the laborious kind.

COMMENTS

Great ideas. Thank you for sharing this. I agree that games like this can really engage particular children who love more hands on, practical activities. Grammar could potentially be a very dull area to teach, though activities like these will definitely get them on board. I love Pie C’s Grammar for Writing and the Alan Peat sentence app to support sessions like these. I will definitely be taking on board some of yours as well now! Thanks again!

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Great fun. Magpied. #hooter

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Such a brilliant set of ideas- thank you so much for sharing. I designed a set of tasks a while ago with a Crystal Maze theme, mainly to ease my own hatred of teaching grammar! These are brilliant- thanks again.

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@jenna – Yes, grammar can be dull so these kind of games come to me on the hoof as I begin to get bored. Good thing about this is I have a bank of ideas to play with and keep adding to 🙂 Yes – Grammar for Writing is great. Haven’t see the app – will check it out, thanks!

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@mrlockyer – still don’t get #hooter. I agree – good fun for all the family!

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@saysmiss – crystal maze sounds really fun! Swapsies?!

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@leahmoo definitely! Twitter to swap emails?x

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Sounds like loads of fun!

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Fantastic range of ideas! Love it!

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@leahmoo brilliant ideas – think I will be giving them a go. We find with our intervention groups that the kids get sick of being pulled out of class so I have also started additional groups (little early morning groups) across our year group – this means that if they put up tons of barriers to the additional adults running intervention as a result of being pulled from the main class I can swoop them up and make sure they have a secondary session. They would love these ‘games’ with an adult so I think that’s a win win situation! 🙂 Thank you! OK blank dice… time to go shopping…. 😉 x

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Hi, great ideas! Thank you
If you can’t find blank dice and have SMART notebook software, you can search for a dice In the Gallery section (looks like a picture) and then can edit with your own 6 ideas. You can even use 6 of your own pictures if you prefer. It can be set up to list what you has been chosen and no repeats, should you want that feature.

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@leahmoo once again you’ve regenerated my work! Thanks- we are not ‘allowed’ to takw our kids out of Worship, but if you ask me it is THE idea time to work on these things! SPaG games here I come!

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@samwilliams good smart notebook tip!

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I love all these idea! What a practical and engaging post. Thank you @leahmoo

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Showed my children this post! We now have a ‘really robust writers revenge’ group during our assembly time. Day 1 alliteration , hence the name- wish I could post a photo in comments! Will blog later on this- comment from one,” this is actually really fun”.

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Stolen. Cheers!

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Love these ideas – I’m looking for ways to improve some of my ‘boring boys’ non-movers and think these ideas will go down a treat! A friend also mentioned ‘Connective Cricket’, where you have the start of a sentence or 2 random pictures, where each number is a different conjunction and you roll the dice and they have to complete the sentence. Off to investigate the Smart dice!

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Wonderful, lovely the Smart Dice and grammar /story consequences. Brilliant! Thank you @leahmoo!

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@braunteaches – ours are only allowed out of singing assembly and thursday (random) assembly! Loved seeing your Robust Writers’ work on twitter 🙂

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@nicd – thanks Nicola!

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@lauren – love the connective cricket; will definitely be using that one on Tuesday!

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@cupacoco Thanks for lovely comment!

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My colleagues used to play ‘Grammar Time’ to the music of ‘Hammer Time’ and had an inflatable guitar like this one: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Henbrandt-X99-306-Inflatable-Hammer/dp/B002BWCYU4

I think they used it to play Mallet’s Mallet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUfv-tAfXn4

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@brunoreddy Amazing! That’ll liven SATs revision up!

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