Grammar Scavenger Hunts
Grammar and conventions can be boring tasks to teach, but they don't have to be! Turn the learning into a game where students can engage and internalize the rules.
A scavenger hunt is one game that can have a huge impact on the transfer of correct grammar and convention usage. Research tell us that the brain must see and analyze grammar rules used correctly first in order to effectively apply the rule to our own practices. Start by engaging the students visually with each grammar rule during an explicit focus lesson (5 mins or less). Follow the focus lesson with a scavenger hunt through books, poems, and articles to find examples in context. Give points for each "find" and another point for each explanation of how the rule is impacting the reader's understanding.Consider giving "extra" points for finding errors and explaining which rule is being broken and how to fix it.
For example, when teaching commas in a compound sentence, create an anchor chart with students about why and how commas in a compound sentence are used. Then, show students an example of a compound sentence with a comma used correctly. In my class, we called this our "guiding sentence" of the week. Students need to have time to discuss what they noticed about the use of the comma, including how it helps the reader understand the message of the sentence.
The next step is a scavenger hunt through children's books in the library (or classroom library). Challenge students to locate an example of where an author used a comma in a compound sentence correctly. Give students opportunities to share the examples they find with the class or a partner. It is also a great idea to take a picture of the page in the book where the grammar rule was located and keep the pictures for students to use as a reference.
For more writing teaching tips like this one, attend our 3 hour virtual seminar coming up called Editing & Revising Are Not Boring! Teaching Conventions in Authentic & Engaging Ways on December 8th, 2018.