Simple grammar

15th November 2002 at 00:00
I give this lesson on grammar to my Year 9 low-ability pupils. I tell them I am going to teach them 15 grammatical terms, including "verb", "proper noun", "adjective", "adverb" and "indefinite and definite articles". I explain these terms and we make a few sentences - often silly ones, for example: "James likes wearing a red dress." This draws attention to the adjective and noun.

Eventually, we are able to analyse each word and they become quite excited about the idea that you can give a label to words. I finish with a multiple-choice test.

The next lesson uses an advertisement about T-shirts for adults to help them understand why it's important to learn these words. We talk about who it's aimed at, its purpose and layout. The students underline the verbs and we write them on the board, so we can look at tense, sophistication of the vocabulary, and number of syllables. In this example they include "reflect", "inherited" and "reassure" - quite sophisticated.

We also look at pronouns, adjectives and adverbs. The only pronoun, for example, is "you". Later we analyse the whole advertisement in these terms. One student wrote: "The advertiser uses the verb 'feeling' to offer the audience the impression that this product will make us feel clean and confident."

The project has made pupils more confident about using grammatical terms. They have begun to ask question like: "What sort of noun is that, concrete or abstract?"

Jane Christopher is deputy head at Droitwich Spa High School, Droitwich, Worcestershire

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