Adding Grammar and Vocabulary to Your Daily Schedule
By Kirsten Hammond
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Grammar and vocabulary are vital and necessary components of the English language. For decades, grammar and vocabulary has been explicitly taught in schools.
Yet for teachers today, it can be hard to find the time to teach these important language arts skills when reading comprehension, writing composition, and math are heavily emphasized.
I’ve found that including a grammar warm up at the beginning of my reading block each day helps alleviate the concern of not teaching grammar concepts while still meeting district expectations.
However, it’s not 100% foolproof. Here are 4 problems I have personally come across when trying to incorporate grammar skills in my English Language Arts block AND 4 solutions that you might help in your classrooms!
Problem 1: Fitting in the Time
Let’s be honest, there are only so many hours in the day! With certain states in the U.S. emphasizing subjects, especially in testing grades, we as teachers may feel pressure to focus on the more heavily tested subjects (cue reading and math).
With read-aloud books, mini-lessons, reading stations or centers, writer’s workshop, etc., I’m left with only a short window of time to teach grammar concepts. This could range from 5-15 minutes a day.
Problem 2: Too Repetitive
I’m the type of teacher who likes to spice things up, yet appreciates the predictability of a schedule and routine. Consequently, I find myself getting bored of a resource that, while vital and important, is missing a little kick of change.
I end up dreading when we have to go over the questions because I feel like a broken record, and I resort to finding a completely different resource to supplement for warmup.
Problem 3: Student Retention is Low
Despite the repetition, students still have trouble remembering certain grammar rules, such as the differences between a coordinating and a subordinating conjunction.
While explicit instruction has fallen on the wayside, I like to go over the rules in short mini-lesson and discuss other examples or answers with the class. Yet each week, I still find myself having to answer questions from students who don’t seem to retain what I have taught.
Problem 4: Common Core Aligned
This one is for my fellow Texan teachers! We are an island in a sea of Common Core resources.
While the resources are amazing, sometimes the grammar skills we teach for a certain grade level in Texas may be for a different grade level in a Common Core-oriented state.
For example, a 3rd grade CC standard focuses on simple, compound, and complex sentences (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.1.I), but the 3rd grade TEKS standard for types of sentences only focus on simple and compound sentences (ELA.3.11.D.i).
What are some solutions?
What if I told you there MIGHT just be a solution? One of my big projects this summer was to create a resource that solves these major pitfalls I have come across in my teaching!
Short and Sweet, but Powerful
The Daily Language Grammar and Vocabulary activity bundles have 40 weeks worth of activities with 4 questions a day. It is designed for most students to complete in a very short amount of time (5-10 minutes).
You can easily have students work independently, check and review answers, and even elaborate on the grammar skills of the day within 15 minutes. It’s also flexible to use for any part of your block.
You could have students complete for independent practice, as a station, homework, or as part of asynchronous learning time for distance learning.
Switches Up every Quarter
Each day has a specific set of objectives that are reviewed throughout each quarter. The sequence and order of questions are predictable for students to be able to understand what to do with minimal assistance.
As students progress through each quarter, the skills become more enhanced at a deeper level or cover a different subset of the same objective.
Student Retain Concepts
Each day, students will see a brief definition or description of most of the grammar skills taught. Students can take ownership of their learning and have it to reference as they read and answer the question.
Instead of re-teaching what a conjunctive adverb is during the whole-group review time, you can use the time to elaborate and apply the skill to other contexts.
This resource is 100% aligned with the Texas TEKS objectives implemented beginning in 2019-2020!
An overview of the year is provided for Grades 3, 4, and 5. While the TEKS objectives for each day and each question stays the same, the concept digs a little deeper each quarter.
Most of the objectives in the 4th quarter are a cumulative review of all grammar and vocabulary skills taught.
The Daily Language Warm Up activities come in BOTH print and digital versions for Grades 3-5.
Click the pictures below to download and print the Scope and Sequence and get a FREE printable week for your grade below.
Kirsten is a former 3rd and 5th grade teacher who loves helping upper elementary teachers by creating resources and sharing ideas that are engaging, research-based, and TEKS-aligned. She is a work-from-home mama of 3 rambunctious little ones and loves running, true crime, and lots of coffee.