Friday, June 10, 2011

Making Grammar Text Exercises Open-Ended

Purpose: To make grammar text exercises more engaging and more multi-level; open-ended exercises allow students to participate at their own ability levels.

Preparation Time: 10+ minutes; allow extra time if you plan to make a handout rather than using the board.

Materials: grammar exercise from a traditional grammar book; board and markers

Preparation: Look at the sentences in the grammar activity and decide how you’d like to change them. For example, in a beginning level exercise, you might see the following sentence:

Lucy ______(do) her homework every night..

An alternate approach involves asking students to fill in the blanks with any word that makes sense in the sentence. Use the same text in Rounds 1 and 2, but change what students need to fill in.

Round One: Lucy does _______ every night.

Students could fill in the blank with: dishes, mending, exercises, etc.

Round Two: Lucy ____ her homework every night.

Students could write: finishes, does, checks, etc.

Round Three: Students write their own version of the above sentence, changing the name, the activity, the verb and/or the time.


I do it:

1) Review the vocabulary or grammar that you are focusing on. If your grammar focus is the past tense, make sure the verbs in the sentences are in the past tense.

2) Model the activity by doing several examples and using different words to fill in the blanks, so students understand there is no right answer, as long as the sentence makes sense. Go through all 3 rounds with each sentence.

3) Try doing some examples that don’t make sense to check for comprehension.

We do it:

1) Do a number of examples on the board, filling in the blanks with words elicited from students. Have fun trying out different possibilities.

2) Ask students to come to the board and fill in blanks. Other students decide if sentences make sense.

You do it:

1) Students work on their own to complete the sentences, written either on the board or on a handout. Tutor/teacher circulates to assist as needed.

Note: In a multi-level class, give a time limit rather than a quantity-of-work limit. Each student does as much as he or she can in the given time.

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