“Giftedness is not what you do or how hard you work. It is who you are. You think differently. You experience life intensely. You care about injustice. You seek meaning. You appreciate and strive for the exquisite. You are painfully sensitive. You are extremely complex. You cherish integrity. Your truth-telling has gotten you in trouble. Should 98% of the population find you odd, seek the company of those who love you just the way you are. You are not broken. You do not need to be fixed. You are utterly fascinating. Trust yourself!”

Linda Silverman~Gifted Development Center Denver

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Grammargories are great!

It's getting to be that time of year again...you know what I mean. Spring break is behind us, the days are getting milder, test prep is in full swing (if you are NOT in full on TEST MODE), and your students are getting...well, antsy!

I have finished my year of Daily Math and Grammar Minutes.  For Daily Math I am starting to use the grade 7/8 edition to give my students some exposure to concepts they will encounter in middle school.  I was at a loss as what to do with the 5 minutes or so right after lunch when I normally do Grammar Minute.  I came across Kristen at Aspire to Inspire on TpT and found a product which I thought looked fun. 

Kristen suggests that "Grammargories should be used after students are familiar with all parts of speech. You may want to allow students to keep a “cheat sheet” of the parts of speech with them while they complete the activity. Make enough copies of each list so that every student has his or her own. Cut each copy in half so that you can use one list at a time."

Included in the download file are the following items: 
Suggested uses and directions 
26 alphabet pieces 
6 category lists (2 per page) 

How to Play: 
1. Distribute a copy of the list you are using to each student. 
2. Explain that students will have ___ minutes (choose between 3-5, depending on skill level) to complete the list using words and phrases that begin the letter you choose. Example: If the letter chosen is D, and the list asks for a noun related to the theme On Vacation, they could write driving. 
3. Set a timer for 3-5 minutes. 
4. Randomly select a letter from the alphabet pieces. 
5. When students are ready, announce the letter and start the timer. 
6.  As soon as the time is up, students must put down their pencils. 

Reminders to students: 
Begin all answers with the chosen letter. 
Skip the ones you’re not sure of and come back to them. 
Think creatively since points are awarded on originality. 
Don’t use the same answer more than once on a list. 

Kristen gives some suggestions for scoring the answers, but I have let the students give answers in a round robin, popcorn format.  Each student who has a "different" answer gets an opportunity to give their word.  If a student doesn't have a word to share, or has a repeat, they say "pass".  This has worked really well with my class and it allows everyone a chance to share, without everyone putting up their hands at the same time.

My class of grade 6 gifted students are OBSESSED with Grammargories. One student even said "Why didn't we get to do these ALL year, instead of grammar minutes?"  I knew I was onto something when the students gave me 64 more suggestions for grammargories "categories".  They love that I will be using their ideas in the weeks to come.

Another modification I made to Kristen's idea, is that rather than using the letter cut outs she so kindly provided, I wrote the letters of the alphabet on popsicle sticks and keep them in a baggie with my timer.  I also draw the name of the lucky student who gets to draw the letter of the day from my can of student name popsicle sticks.  Yes, I like to use popsicle sticks!  This keeps the students even more engaged. I have the sheets photocopied and cut in half, the baggie with the letters and the timer all kept in a bin.  One of my students passes out Grammargories before lunch.  The whole system works beautifully.  

What I love about Grammargories is that I participate each day at the same time as my students.  It is impossible to provide answer sheets, so I have to try to come up with possible answers of my own.  I have learned a lot of conjunctions, prepositions and interjections in the last few weeks!

If you are looking for a fun way to review for the end of the year, or just want to change things up for next September, I highly suggest you try Grammargories. They are student endorsed, and that goes a long way in my book!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

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  1. What a fabulous idea! I love Scattergories and have played it with my kids during GameBoard Parties. However, I really like the educational spin on this one - I plan to use it again and again!

    Thanks for sharing :)

    Joy in the Journey

  2. I think that Kristen is brilliant! You will use it again and again...your students will love it I can almost guarantee it! I like the challenge myself.
    Have a great weekend, Jessica.