Grade: Senior

#712. Grammarfest

Reading/Writing, level: Senior
Posted Sat Nov 21 21:35:45 PST 1998 by Joe Greenwald (

Champlain Valley Union High School, Hinesburg, Vt. 05461
Materials Required: Teacher and Students
Activity Time: two weeks
Concepts Taught: Grammar is fun

Greenwald, J. Page 1
CVU High School
Hinesburg, Vt. 05461
Grade 10 - Grammarfest

Author's Comments: Grammar teaching has always been a dilemma for all high school teachers. On the one hand, we are chagrined that our students do not arrive at this level with either appropriate skills or the knowledge necessary to improve those skills. At the same time we are keenly aware of both the time constraints facing us if we decide to teach grammar (i.e. what to cut to allow time) and the daunting task of teaching a basic subject this late in a student's academic career. I have found that the following plan accomplishes many worthwhile goals. Among these are 1) students are 'sensitized' to the need for proper grammar, 2) students learn at least one grammar subject extensively, 3) students practice public speaking and 4) students discuss, learn and practice various aspects of good pedagogy.

The Assignment: A copy of the assignment given to the students, the grammar subjects, the grade sheet are included below. I am not including a copy of letter I send home to the parents, but I do send one home at the beginning of the lesson inviting the parents in to hear their child's presentation and encouraging them to insist on proper grammar at all times at home during Grammarfest.


How you say something, whether written or verbally, IS as important as what you say.

Therefore, we will review all of grammar this year. However, since each of you has had many years of grammar in the past, you will be the teachers. You will form groups of two and each group will be responsible for a grammar units during November. Your knowledge of the subject and your pedagogy will be graded. I will be available to you during my planning time and after school to help you as much as possible. You may be as creative as you wish (and I encourage it!). My expectations and grading scheme follow, but hopefully, they are broad enough to encompass a variety of creative pedagogies. However, they will not make up for a lack of knowledge of the subject. Since you are doing only a single unit over the course of a month, I expect you to be experts in your chosen areas.

Two days prior to your presentation you will turn in a written lesson plan containing the following main topics and specifics on each:
1. Goals: What do you expect the students to know by the end of your lesson. You should state your goals in order of importance. It is not just a one word answer e.g. Don't just say Nouns.
2. Sequence: What methods and activities will you use in class and for homework to achieve these goals. Attach copies of any activity and homework assignments to this lesson plan.
3. Materials needed: What materials will you need to accomplish this lesson. What can I do to help?
4. Evaluation - How will you know whether you have achieved your goals.
Greenwald, J. Page 2

Each lesson should have five parts:
1. Instruction- This is the basic giving of facts that you want the class to know e.g. A noun is ...., You make nouns ending in 'x' plural by ...
2. Practice- This is an in-class activity to see how much of what you have taught has "sunk in". This should be short enough to do and correct in class, yet thorough enough to lead into the next part.
3. Re-teaching- Once you have discovered that some things you taught were not 'perfectly clear', you must re-teach those items.
4. Homework- Homework must serve a legitimate reason or it becomes 'busy work'. Your homework assignment should reinforce the lessons given above.
5. Grading of homework- You are responsible for the collecting, grading and reporting the results of the homework. You should be aware of any major problems that show themselves in the homework, e.g. 'no one understood verb agreement'. It is very important that I have this information.

This assignment is worth 28 points on your grade record sheet; equivalent to a major test.
(I am assuming that you are completely familar with all the Parts of Speech e.g.nouns, adverbs, etc. If you are not, you must review the appropriate sections in your grammar book!)
Grammar Units

1. Pronouns and antecedents

2. Verbs and Verb Agreement

3. Infinitives, gerunds, participals and verbals

4. Phrases and Appositives

5. Clauses

6. Compound/Complex Sentences

7. Sentence Faults and Parallel Structures

8. Commas

9. End Punctuation

10. Apostrophes, colons, dashes, et al
Greenwald, J. Page 3


PRESENTERS __________________
__________________ __________________

DATE - ____________________

SUBJECT- ___________________


Lesson Plan and Preparation 6

Pedagogy 6

Knowledge of subject 6

Activity 3

Reteaching 3

Homework -Content 2

Homework- Correction 2


Total 28

Overall Comments:

Greenwald, J. Page 4

Summary: Since first beginning this approach six years ago, Grammarfest has been incorporated as a schoolwide celebration with posters and contests. It has evolved and is still changing each year. (For example, during the last two years I have preceded Grammarfest with a two day lesson in Diagramming! It really helps certain students understand parts of speech.) Hearing the students challenge each other about the proper placement of appositives or debate about whether it is proper to begin a sentence with 'however' would warm the heart of any English teacher. But, it was from a parent that I heard the greatest praise: "I can't believe it; I actually heard my teenager sitting at the breakfast table arguing with her friend about whether a question mark should go inside of quotation marks or outside."