You know those grammar mistakes that come up again and again and again?
The ones that they make mugs and T-shirts about because they drive teachers so crazy? Well we’re here to help you fix them.
Mistake #1: There, Their and They’re
Lesson: “You be the judge”
There is a place. Their shows possession. They’re is short for they are. How can you reinforce the spelling of these three homonyms? Have students be the judge! Give them a set of sticky notes with sentences using there, their and they’re. Write some sentences correctly and others incorrectly. Then, have students sort the sentences.
Mistake #2: You’re and Your
Lesson: Your surgery
Students always seem to forget to add an e and insert an apostrophe when needed! With this grammar no-no, remind students to re-read their sentences and see if they are using your as a shortened version of you are. If so, they need the e and apostrophe!
To help reinforce these words, play Your Surgery! This is just like Contraction Surgery except students are focusing on your and you are. Write sentences that all use the word your on large sentence strips. The sentences should use the word your both correctly and incorrectly.
The student’s job is to correct the sentences that are wrong. Put out a box of Band-Aids and a fat Crayola marker. If they think that your is incorrect in the sentence, they add a Band-Aid in between the u and r. Then, they use their markers to insert an e after the r.
Mistake #3: Then and Than
Lesson: Then-Than flip
To help students understand when to use then vs. than, have them play Then-Than Flip! Each student has a Popsicle stick with two different-colored squares attached on each side for easy flipping. One side says then, the other side says than. Read (or write) out sentences, leaving a blank where the students should insert the word.
For example, I like grapes better ____ bananas. The students hold up their mini-sign showing the correct word.
Mistake #4: Lie and Lay
Lesson: Lie-Lay action!
A student can choose one object (book, pencil, anything in the room). Next, make up a sentence for them, leaving a blank where lay or lie should be inserted.
For example say, “Max, _____ your pencil on the table.”
Max should then respond, “Max, lay your pencil on the table.”
Next, you might say, “Chloe, please _____ down on the floor.”
Chloe should then say, “Chloe, please lie down on the floor.”
Mix up sentences that use the words lay and lie (present tense) to see where the student needs extra help.
Mistake #5: Who and Whom
Lesson: Fishing for Who and Whom
Cut out a variety of paper fish from construction paper. Writes sentences on them, leaving a blank where who or whom should go.
For example, “To _____ it may concern” or “_____ went to the store?”
Next, attach a magnet to the fish on the same side as the word. You can buy magnet strip rolls at office-supply stores. Find a stick outside, attach a long piece of string and add a magnet to the end of the string. The student uses the stick fishing pole to ‘catch’ sentences. Each time they catch a sentence, they put it in their “who” or “whom” pile.
Mistake #6: Two, To and Too
Lesson: Two-To-Too slide
To assess students’ understanding of the three words to, two and too, create a clothespin slide game. Cut a sheet of construction paper in half. Next, divide the strip into three columns. In each column, write two, to and too.
Each student gets a strip of paper with the three words written in the columns, as well as a clothespin. The clothespin is attached to the bottom of the strip. The teacher reads a sentence. Then, the students slide their clothespin so it is in the column that contains the right word. When they think they are correct, they show the teacher.
Mistake #7: Affect and effect
Lesson: Affect/Effect art
Knowing when to use affect and effect can be a difficult concept for students to grasp. To help deepen their understanding, have them create Affect/Effect Art. Give the students a sheet of white construction paper. Next, instruct them to draw a line down the center of the sheet.
They write affect on the left side and effect on the right side. Explain to students that affect is a verb and effect is a noun. Their challenge is to come up with an example of affect, draw it and then create its effect.
For example, the affect sentence could be: “The loud music affected my concentration.” A student could draw a person unable to do his or her homework and holding his or her ears.
On the effect side, the student could draw an F on a paper. Their effect would be: “The loud music had a negative effect on my homework.”
Students write their sentences under their drawings for affect and effect.
MISTAKE #8: I and Me
Lesson: Drop “_____ and”
The easiest way for students to know when they should use I versus me in their sentences is to drop the “_____ and.” For example, You and I went to the store versus You and me went to the store. Which sounds correct?
I went to the store or Me went to the store?
Another example is with a name: The dog followed Mason and I or The dog followed Mason and me.
Drop “Mason and,” and which sounds right? The dog followed me.
Mistake #9: It’s and Its
Lesson: Pipe Cleaner apostrophes!
Print out the word its in large, bold font on paper. Next, give each student half of a pipe cleaner. The students bend their pipe cleaner to create an apostrophe. Working with small groups, read a sentence that uses the word its and it’s.
For example: It’s interesting that a cat can retract its claws.The students place their apostrophe in between the t and s if they think the word in the sentence is a contraction.
If they think it doesn’t, they leave the word as it is. Then, the teacher can assess which students understand the difference between the two words.
Mistake #10: Principal and Principle
To help students distinguish the difference between principal and principle, remind them that only one can be your pal! When students are writing to or about a principal (head of a school) in their piece of writing, they remember the word pal. A principle (a rule, basic truth or theory) would not be your pal. — weareteachers.com.