First, get yourself some bingo chips, dried beans or other game piece. When reading through classroom trade books together as a group, work in an extra vocabulary activity one day by having students place game pieces or chips on the first noun on a particular page, second verb, third adjective, etc. This is great for reinforcing listening skills, as well as sight words from the story.
Second, have each student fold a piece of looseleaf paper in half vertically. Then direct them to fold their paper rectangles into thirds horizontally and unfold. Each learner should then outline the folds in pencil, and label the top of each section with the part of speech you assign it through a modeled example on the chalkboard at the front of the room. Distribute donated classroom newspapers to students, along with glue sticks and student scissors. The project? To cut out a minimum number of word examples for each part of speech category assigned. For example, eight nouns, eleven verbs, seven adjectives, etc. This activity makes for a great self directed lesson with fun music playing in the background. Need to get caught up on grading or do some intensive prep work for a massive science experiment later in the afternoon? This project will buy you some time and get those grammar skills covered at the same time.
Third, make a sorting mat. You know those coupon mats all the money saving mothers out there are using? Make one for parts of speech. Or, you could just write the parts of speech in removable ink on the laminated sections of your multipurpose game boards. Either way, have a game board ready and use the student sets of vocabulary index cards from the weekly story words to place the terms in the proper parts of speech categories. This can work out to be really low prep if your classroom management system promotes binders or two-pocket folder “offices” where children can store their own sorting mats and weekly vocabulary cards. If that’s the case, make it a quick sponge activity before lining up for recess. After you verify a student got it right, he or she can put their materials away, push in their chair and line up at the door.
As you can see, none of these ideas are expensive which makes them achievable within any classroom budget. If you are looking to get back to basics on the cheap, these ideas might just be what you are looking for.
Photo Credit: Scott Ableman