Grammar does not need to be taught out of context, it can be taught in English lessons through the use of quality texts. (Quality texts include film, drama and teacher modelled texts) In this blog I will share six steps follow in order to embed grammar into weekly English lessons. This process may take a single session plus the revisit or it may take a number of lessons, this is dependent on the ability of the children and the difficulty level of the task.
The six R’s of Grammar are:
1. Read – Reading for enjoyment and familiarisation with the text in the first instance. Allow children to read and and discuss freely without the shackles of ‘grammar spotting. The text does not have to be a written extract at this point. It could be a film or spoken piece. Both of these use identifiable grammar features.
2. Retrieve – Reread the text in order to identify and retrieve the grammar features that are the focus of the session, pupils may want to highlight or underline them. This could be done individually, with a partner or alongside the teacher in a group where necessary.
3. Rehearse – practice using the found grammar as part of a shared or guided write. Pupils may rehearse on whiteboards. This could be done out of context but it doesn’t need to be. For example if the text used in 1 and 2 was The Three Little Pigs and the grammar focus was expanded noun phrases then the children could rehearse phrases such as 'the small, hairy pig,' 'the house was made of soft yellow straw' etc.
4. Repeat – Children repeat this practice in their own writing. It may be prudent to scaffold this into the given task if children are insecure. Teacher could model how to effectively insert it into their writing.
5. Revise – Look through their own writing and that of peers to discuss/check accurate and effective usage of the focus. Teacher could share a different model from that in the ‘Read’ and ‘Retrieve’ sections so that pupils can identify grammar focus.
6. Revisit – For children to become secure the grammar focus needs to be revisited as often as possible. Teachers and pupils may point out the focus in their reading, teachers may ask for contextualised examples in other subjects such as science or history.