What to do with Parts of Speech

Glazed eyes often accompany my unit on Parts of Speech and I don’t think it is my teaching style (he says, confidentally). It’s that the concept of how words act within the structure of a sentence is so incredibly abstract for my sixth graders that they can’t connect it with their own base of knowledge. I’m not sure how learning about nouns, verbs, etc, helps them progress as writers. Yet, it is part of what I need to teach, so we do activities (such as using a Nerf Brain Ball as a devise for showing prepositions – I threw the brain ball across the room and hit Mr. Hodgson in the head, etc).

Our final project is to write a short piece about themselves and then use color-coding to identify a set number of Parts of Speech within their own writing. I hope this brings some ownership to them, but I am still not so sure. (They also can do a bonus of writing and performing their own Grammar Rock song, which are still underway).

Here is a student sample of a Parts of Speech project:

Nouns are blue
Verbs are red
Adjectives are yellow
Adverbs are green
Conjunctions are orange
Prepositions are pink
Pronouns are purple
Interjections are brown

Feel free to use my project handout, if it interests you.

Peace (in dissecting our language down to its bare bones),

  1. We make a list of adjectives, nouns, verbs, and participle phrases. Then we select three adjectives and one of each of the others and sing to the tune of Farmer in the Dell…
    The adjective, adjective, noun…the adjective, adjective, noun, the adjective, adjective adjective noun, verb(s), participle phrase,
    We use a similar color coding.

  2. How fun to Google “parts of speech” and come to your website! I am teaching the developmental English readers this semester and was looking for ideas (so their eyes don’t glaze over). This is a terrific idea–thanks, Kevin!

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