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threading together grammar lessons



I'm having trouble knowing how and where to begin teaching grammar usage rules to my 7th grade language arts classes. For example, we just spent a week or so learning how to identify the subject and predicate of a sentence and then I tested the kids (two-thirds of them got it) and then it seems like when we move on to another skill the one we just learned goes out the window. Now I'm covering comma usage. Is there anyway to tie all these rule together into a thematic or more cohesive unit? Or is grammar something that should be taught in a "nuts & bolts" fashion. One side of me wishes I could find a way of making the rules of grammar more fun to learn, but then the other side of me thinks that learning grammar shouldn't be fun? Help! Is the best way to learn the rules of grammar through drill and practice from a workbook?



I think the phenonmenon of kids forgetting grammar as soon as the test is over is more widespread than you know. Regular practice with a DOL that reintroduces concepts might help. Also you might consider diagramming. Having grammar down cold isn't a high priority to kids these days and it isn't fashionable to emphasize it greatly in class. As much as possible you might link your grammar to your reading or writing lessons. I have collected a lot of teacher resources from Scholastic that have some fun worksheets for kids to use for practice. Cartoons and silly stories do engage their interest. If you can use computer programs, the kids will be pretty receptive. Mine love practicing grammar on a program we have called Orchard.