Are your class writing sentences that feel longer than the summer term? Is their use of full stops as absent as your free time? If so, it’s time to tackle those common grammar mistakes.
Your last Year Two group ‘got it’ – so why doesn’t this one?
If you’re finding that there are some core grammar concepts that your KS1 class just can’t get their head around, there’s no need to despair. Try these four simple strategies to help children grasp capital letters, apostrophes, commas and full stops, before the bell rings for Home Time.
Put an End to Apostrophe Monstrosities
Are your class confident with contraction, but in a pickle over possession? A classic game of bingo will put those apostrophes right where they belong.
Provide the class with bingo cards showing phrases which demonstrate possession in the right way – ‘Molly’s pony’, ‘the dog’s paws’, etc.
You should then equip yourself with your own version of these sentences, without the apostrophes – ‘the pony belongs to Molly’, ‘the paws of the dog’ and suchlike. When you read these sentences aloud, the children can then cross off the corresponding sentence on their own bingo card.
The shouts of “BINGO!” will soon let you know that the class has caught on!
There’s No Need for Comma Chaos
Get those list-making skills in full working order before there’s even a sniff of the festive season, with a fun game of ‘Guess Who’.
Particularly handy as a getting-to-know-you task for the beginning of term, ask the children to choose another classmate (shhh, don’t spill the beans!) and write a sentence to describe them; for example, “This person has a yellow pencil case, curly hair, shiny shoes and a pet hamster.”
Go around the class and ask the children to read their sentences, making clear where the commas sit (they could just say ‘comma’, but a gesture or movement is more fun!).
Can the other children guess who the sentence describes? Do they agree that the comma is in the right place?
Capital Letter Cues
Children learn differently – this much we know for sure.
Some simply don’t do their best thinking on paper, and that’s okay. Not all literacy lessons need to come directly from text – but they can inspire and inform it.
If your class seems to be taking pencil stabs in the dark when it comes to capital letter use, try using visual cues. With the whole class – or small groups – hold up a range of images which represent both common and proper nouns. Dad, cat, England, banana – you get the idea.
Ask the class to not only spell the word so you can write it on the whiteboard, but also specify if it needs a capital letter. The class will understand the name of the game before you can say ‘My mum makes marmalade in Manchester’!
A Full Stop Favourite
Some pupils over-use full stops to the extent that you’d think their paper had chicken pox. Others, however, ignore their existence completely.
You can soon put a halt to full stop madness by playing ‘traffic lights’ – all you need is a green and a red pen (or pencil).
Ask the children to write the first capital letter of their sentence in green – this is when the sentence will ‘GO!’. You can then ask that the full stop is written in red – this is where the sentence will ‘STOP!’.
The visual nature helps children to soon remember that sentences needn’t speed away from them.
Feeling inspired? Mighty Writer is a unique literacy tool which helps children learn to write coherent, accurate and creative sentences, using a fun, kinaesthetic method. Better yet, it will help to develop the grammar skills of every child in your KS1 or EYFS class, those with including EAL or additional needs. Request a free 14-day trial today.
About the author
Emma Ralph was an Assistant Head Teacher at Hillbourne Primary School in Poole, where she helped to improve the school’s literacy standards. Spotting a gap in the market for a literacy resource which taught children the fundamentals of punctuation, vocabulary and sentence structure in a visual, fun and engaging way, Emma developed her own product: Mighty Writer. It is now transforming the literacy of tens of thousands of children in over 550 schools around the world.