Grammar, oh how I hate to teach grammar. Why? Because quite frankly, I suck at it! (As you can probably tell from my posts). Each year I have found myself reviewing the grammar over and over reteaching myself before I teach the kids. I soon came to realize that obviously I wasn't teaching those lessons very effectively because even I couldn't retain the information from year to year. So that's when I decided I had to get a little more creative.
We started out by learning about personification (taking inanimate objects and giving them human traits or characteristics) and drawing pictures. My favorite picture from this year was the girl who drew the personification sentence "The popcorn leapt out of the bowl." She drew this fantastic picture of these adorable little popcorn people jumping out of the bowl with the people looking shocked and surprised! We always have a great time with these drawings and the kids then point out personification sentences throughout the rest of the year. Granted I offer group points as a reward, so they have a little motivation to find them.
Next on the grammar list of things I ALWAYS had to reteach myself were hyperboles. Pretty much it is an exaggeration such as "That line took a bizillion years to get through!" So this year I tested out some hyperboles that I knew my students would LOVE because they were actually using them all the time...Yo' Mama jokes. I was showing the students multiple different examples of a hyperbole when all of a sudden I decided to randomly throw in "yo' Mama so dumb she thinks a quarterback's a refund!" I must confess I found joy in hearing my whole class go "oooohhhhh" in that you got served kind of way.
Now of course we had to go through the "rules" of using yo' Mama jokes in class.
1. They can't be used to hurt anybody's feelings or to really talk about someone's Mama.
2. You have to ask permission before you tell someone a yo' Mama joke.
3. You can't run up to other kids, teachers, or heaven-forbid the principal and say "yo' Mama's so fat when the weatherman says it's chilly outside she grabs a bowl and spoon."
4. We have to be mature and responsible about it knowing that we are telling the jokes to remember what a hyperbole is.
5. If you can't define or pronounce hyperbole properly after the end of the lesson, you lose your right to tell yo' Mama jokes.
You wouldn't believe how well my students now understand and are able to use a hyperbole! We have even developed a sign so that anytime I use a hyperbole in class, the first person to flash the sign gets points for their group. In all honestly, I would have never known until we developed our sign, how often I really do use hyperboles! It's great!
Lesson learned...you have to teach everything, even boring horrible grammar, in a fun engaging way if you really want kids to retain it. Because if not, you just might be offended when you walk into my class and you hear "yo' Mama's so ugly when she was born the doctor slapped her and her Mama!"