Sample Grammar Activities

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Dramatically depicting parts of speech.
After students have studied the function of various parts of speech, have them consider how they would portray these parts of speech. How, for example, would a verb behave? What would a conjunction do? These could be pantomimes and might well last only a few seconds. Other students could guess which parts of speech their classmates are depicting.

Writing and responding to classified ads.
Have students write classified ads looking for parts of speech to fill particular jobs. They could consider the "personal qualities" required as well as the job description. For example, you might say that a preposition "must be willing to work long hours with little hope of glory." Students might write application letters in response to each other's ads. They might even conduct job interviews!

Building a human sentence from words.
Compose a sentence that illustrates the target concept--adverbs, prepositional phrases, indirect objects, etc. Then write each word from the sentence on a separate index card, and distribute each card to a different student. See how quickly and quietly students can arrange themselves into a sentence. Either before or after the arrangement, you might call attention to the parts of speech and their functions. For example, you might ask all "nouns" to identify themselves. (This information could be helpful to "adjectives," who will be searching for someone to modify.) You might also ask if some words (such as adverbs) could work as well in a different place in the sentence or if some groups of words (such as prepositional phrases) need to stay together.

Building a human sentence from parts of speech.
Distribute cards with parts of speech or functions (such as subject, predicate noun, direct object, indirect object, or object of preposition) written on them. Call for certain elements to be put into a sentence. Have students stand in a sequence that corresponds to the order of their parts of speech in the sentence. Have them notice whether, for example, a predicate noun and a direct object could be used in the same sentence. Have students hold their cards in front of them and in turn contribute to the sentence a word that exemplifies their part of speech (and makes sense with the words other students have given).

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