You may remember learning about parts of speech oh, so long ago in your own elementary school days. Perhaps your teacher just discussed the different parts of speech and then handed out a worksheet or Daily Oral Language (DOL), expecting you to figure out how to use the parts of speech in an actual sentence. How intimidating is that? But learning about the different parts of speech doesn’t have to be boring or intimidating. In fact, there are many creative and exciting ways to teach parts of speech to your elementary students.
Just thinking about the different parts of speech can be overwhelming for many students! There are nine different parts of speech, and some of them have similar names that can be confusing or misleading. Some parts of speech describe tangible objects (nouns), but other more abstract concepts like adverbs can really throw your students for a loop.
Teach Students To Remember What They Learn
As you know, students that are taught about parts of speech (or anything, really) in more engaging ways are more likely to retain the information they learn. When planning your unit on parts of speech, consider giving some of these ideas a try. By appealing to the different learning styles and preferences of your students, you can make learning fun while upping those upcoming standardized test scores.
8 Ideas to Teach Parts of Speech
- Colored Highlighting: Appeal to your right-brain learners by encouraging coloring as you teach parts of speech! Have students analyze sentences, either on the whiteboard or on individual tablets or in notebooks, by coloring the parts of speech different colors. Students can construct a key to explain which color represents each part of speech.
- Sorting Buckets: Label buckets, boxes, or other storage receptacles with the different parts of speech. Provide students with laminated words or have them write out/cut out their own. Time them to make it a friendly competition by having students race against each other or the clock.
- Task Card Centers: Students can work in small groups to rotate through centers with task cards, like these Parts of Speech Task Cards. Assign a set of task cards to each group or center and have students work collectively to practice the skill.
- Substitution Game: Have students practice their synonym skills by brainstorming words that could substitute for words of each parts of speech category. For example, as students learn about adjectives, have students find synonyms for different adjectives like beautiful, smart, and funny. Have students remember the Substitution Game when they attempt open-ended response or on-demand writings. Encourage them to substitute overused, simple words with more vibrant, descriptive synonyms.
Follow-Through Skill Practice
- Mad Lib Type Game: Great in pairs or even in small groups, teach parts of speech by having students play an Mad Lib type activity like Blankity-Blanks! Instruct students to assign random words to their corresponding parts of speech, and then share the funny results aloud.
- Fill in the Blank Worksheets: While they sometimes get a bad rap, worksheets are sometimes just what you need to reinforce basic concepts. Alternatively you could project sentences to the whole class and have students fill in the blanks, assigning an appropriate part of speech that fits. Differentiate for struggling students by using a word bank.
- Label the Room: One of the best ways to engage students is to get them up and moving! Ask students to move around the classroom, similar to the Task Card Centers, but have them label the room. They’ll easily label nouns and adjectives, but they may struggle or have to work together to appropriately represent articles and adverbs!
- Partner Match: Assign words to represent parts of speech to different students and instruct them to work together to find their match! For instance, assign the words “dog,” “delicious,” “pizza,” and “beautiful” to four different students and have them pair up. Pairing “delicious” with “dog” would fit both parts of speech, but wouldn’t make very much sense! Students will have to collaborate to find their proper match, and may end up giggling almost as much as during a Mad Lib type game by the end!
By folding these engaging parts of speech exercises into your lesson plan or unit, your students are sure to engage with the lesson. They’ll be more likely to understand parts of speech. They’ll also likely retain more information for end-of-year tests.