Grammar and academic writing can sound like pretty dry topics, and may not necessarily spark the imagination of your students straight away. Fortunately there are some tips and tricks available to make sure your lessons are properly understood, and your students feel interested and get involved in the topic.
Have Your Students Write What They Know
Everyday events like a new haircut, a new baby in the family, even an activity with a pet can provide great inspiration for writing. This also provides an excellent foundation for the improvement of writing skills, as your students won't be overly focused on the content, and can instead focus on language, vocabulary, and communication. The more relevant your lesson is to the lives of your students, the more firmly the ideas are planted, and they will remember your message much better than if given an abstract writing task that is irrelevant to them.
Make Grammar Lessons Dynamic!
This may sound like a pretty tough challenge, as grammar itself is not often seen as an exciting subject. By moving around the campus, classroom, or school, your students will be stimulated, and more inclined to participate, and retain the information. Prepositions are the easiest thing to teach using this method, however there are other creative solutions for different topics. Moving around during class will be so unusual that it will make the class interesting in itself, and your children will be excited and enthused about their change of scenery, that their enthusiasm will spill over onto the topic.
Use Social Issues to Inspire Your Student's Learning
While some students may respond to political social issues, others may respond to topics all teenagers can relate to, such envy, alcohol age-limits, or even rivalries with siblings or arguments with parents. These issues can be worked on in a group format, and can lead to the writing of a scene that depicts the issue. Choosing something that your students feel so strongly about will mean they have a lot to say, and they can work on communicating that effectively through their writing. Students can be assigned characters and produce a script, and see the value of writing as a way to express themselves.
Your students will spend most of their free time online, whether on a computer, tablet, phone, or gaming. So it makes perfect sense to include some tips and tricks that are available online as it's practically their home turf, and a format they're completely used to dealing with, and will have fairly easy access to. Some great websites online hat have valuable lesson regarding grammar and academic writing are available, for example Assignment Help which provides great information on setting writing assignments, and making sure your students get the most out of their tasks. More info for teachers on the pros and cons of homework as well as life tips for students is available on Simple Grad.
For students who need to review grammar as they write, there are great guides available online such as the University of Chicago's Writing Program. And once your students have reviewed the grammar rules and completed their tasks, they can actually double check it before their teacher does to ensure they don't end up with a poor grade based on poor grammar. With Ginger Software they can double check any sentences they're not sure of, and not receive any nasty surprises once they get their paper back. And any students who don't use Microsoft Word can check their word count with Easy Word Count, making sure their academic writing meets all requirements. All of these sources are free and available online, and could really re-enforce the lessons you're trying to teach, even when your students aren't in the classroom.
Use Sports Psychology
Thinking like a sports coach can really improve your classes. Demonstrating what you want your students to do rather than just explaining, and praising the positives rather than focusing on the negatives can also bolster confidence. And just as athletes train before a big game, your students should write small pieces, practicing before they go for something more ambitious.
Hopefully these tips and tricks will keep our class lively and engaged when leaning about academic writing and grammar, and help them remember the topics you've taught.
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