50 Ways to Teach Grammar – review

Posted on Jan 6 2016 - 1:32pm by Zdenda

I have been looking for some great new teaching activities ever since I started teaching. And when I saw the book “50 Ways to Teach Grammar” by Maggie Sokolik offered on Amazon for 1 dollar only, I could not resist and I bought it. In this review I would like to share my opinion on this book and the few activities I found useful and interesting.

First of all I have to say that the book is extremely short. I was able to finish reading it in 45 minutes and I am not a quick reader. But I am not complaining. The description clearly stated that this book has just 64 pages and for one dollar I did not expect much.

Even though the book is short I still managed to find several activities which I would like to try in my classroom.

50 Ways to Teach Grammar – activities

The first activity I liked is called Active/Passive. First, ask the students to find 5 sentences in a material they have read recently. I think that it would be ideal to ask students to look for the sentences in a text they have just read in their textbook. As you will use this activity when you teach passive, the texts in your textbook are likely to contain the right kind of sentences. The sentences must contain just one clause.

Ask your students to identify, whether the sentences are active or passive. If they are active, students should write them in passive and vice versa. Then collect their sentences and check them. There should be some follow up activity, but Ms. Sokolik does not suggest any.

Another activity I found useful is called Phrasal Verbs bingo. Hand out the following bingo card to every student.
phrasal-verb-bingo
(The picture comes from http://anglofile.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/phrasal-verb-bingo.jpg)
Start the activity and your students have to write 3 sentences using the phrasal verbs with speak. The sentences must use the words in one row or column.

When they finish, they run to you and you check the sentences. If they are correct the student wins.

The third activity which I am going to use in my classroom is a nice starter to teaching articles. Prepare a short text and delete all the articles. Now dictate the text and ask the students to fill in the missing words. Then try to elicit the usage of articles.

The fourth interesting idea is called Put the Apple in the Basket. After teaching prepositions of place bring some containers and ask your students to use some real objects all of them have. Now, give instructions like “Put the book in your bag.” “Put your pen on your desk.” Once your students do these correctly, ask them to work in pairs and give the instructions to their partner.

The fifth activity I like is called I´ve never. It is a very useful activity when you teach the present perfect tense and you need some more speaking activities. Students write 5 sentences starting with I´ve never and then read them to the rest of the class. Other students listen and note down the numbers of the sentences they think that are not true.

50 Ways to Teach Grammar – comments

I was able to find 5 interesting ideas in the book which I am going to use. You might find more ideas there, especially if you are new to teaching. However, there is one real problem with this book. All the activities are just raw ideas.

The author does not mention any follow up ideas and what you should and should not do once the activity finishes. Moreover, some of the activities are not suitable for large classes but Maggie Sokolik never says so in her book.

Therefore, if you are a novice teacher you might find out that many of the activities do not work for you, because of there are no classroom management and lesson planning tips.

50 Ways to Teach Grammar – summary

All in all the book “50 Ways to Teach Grammar” is not bad for 1 dollar. There are some interesting ideas and none really bad ones. I mention the most interesting ideas above. The biggest problem is that the ideas are just ideas and there are not classroom management tips or lesson plans.

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