Classroom Exercises

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Parts of Speech Progression

Ask your students to take out their individual decks of or have them work in groups if there aren’t enough decks to go around. Starting with articles, ask your students to find an article and tell you what it says. Write the article on the board. Then ask for nouns, verbs, and pronouns, in that order, discussing each one as you write it on the board. You’ll end up with something like: “The monkey sings him.” Each time you add a word, talk about that part of speech and what it does (you can skip through articles pretty quickly, explaining that they introduce nouns). Now ask for adjectives and adverbs, and for each one, ask your students where in the sentence you would put that word. Once you write them in and have some time to discuss them each, ask your students for a preposition. Maybe the sentence now reads: “The joyous monkey sings heartily for him.” Now you’ve completed your sentence! But wait a minute… there’s one part of speech missing, isn’t there? Remind your students that the sentence is grammatically complete. But if we to make it longer, we could; we’d just need one more part of speech. Which one would that be? Eventually, you’ll talk about conjunctions, which are used to make sentences longer: words like and so on. Now you’ve reviewed each part of speech at least once with your students. If this is too much for a single class, and you’d rather introduce your students to the parts of speech over a longer period of time, then just start with nouns and verbs, then move on to articles and pronouns, and so on (in the order described at the start of this document). But again, be creative, and do what you think is best for your students, not what is written in some silly instructions sheet.

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Visualizing Parts of Speech

Using their individual decks of , ask your students to each make a story of at least 7 words. Once they’ve each made a complete story, ask them to draw that story on a piece of paper. Go around the room and have your students tell their stories as they show their drawings to their classmates. You might talk through different words and how they’ve been visualized in their drawings. You might even talk about the words that can’t be visualized explicitly (like or ) and discuss how one would be able to still show these in drawing form. For example, maybe is shown by two animals that are next to each other, or an animal that is doing two actions at once; maybe is shown with a red line over something that the person or animal doing (you could give the example of a street sign).

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Descriptive Words Exercise

Ask your students to pull out one blue and one red card from their decks (adjectives and adverbs) and set them aside. While they do this, write a basic noun-verb sentence on the board, like, “The duck runs.” Go around the room asking students to first give you an adjective, then an adverb. Describe how the adjective clarifies and expands on the meaning of the noun, and how the adverb does the same for the verb. Write more sentences on the board and keep expanding the exercise until all of your students have gone once. 

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Pronunciation Exercise

There are many ways to use the cards from for speech and exercises. To start, you might play a standard game and ask that students read each word as they play it, and read aloud each sentence at the end of each turn. This provides an opportunity for intervention and discussion about particular sounds and words. In the classroom, you may had a classroom-wide pronunciation exercise alongside any of these other exercises; for the initial exercise (#1, above), you might ask students to say the words aloud each time a word is picked and added to the sentence, and again as sentences are expanded on the board.

You can easily make up your own activities to give your students a unique and tailored experience. But if you’re stuck on where to start with Grammatical Nonsense, or if you prefer to begin with a premade exercise, you may try or modify some of the below exercises to get started. These activities can be easily modified for digital contexts.