Downloadable copies of the cards can be obtained by clicking the links below.
Generic Grammar Cards
New! February 2023
The Concept of a Sentence Cards
New! February 2023
The Instructions – Generic Grammar Cards
Noughts and Crosses
Use a traditional noughts and crosses grid but in each box write a type of sentence. For example simple sentence; complex sentence using because; compound sentence; statement sentence. The children then have to write an example of that type of sentence in the context of the text they are studying and leading up to their final written outcome.
Can be used to match full versions of words with their contracted form. this can be done as a table top activity or a ‘get up and go’ where the full versions have to find their contraction. Children can then write sentences with the full version and the contraction. Contractions often occur in dialogue so speech bubbles and/or inverted commas can be introduced here.
The Hoop Game
Pupils take a conjunction from the hoop and say a sentence in context using that conjunction. If the group agrees that the sentence makes sense, the child scores one point. If they then write the sentence down on their whiteboard the score is doubled, and if the capital letter and full stop are present the score is doubled again. The game can be played so that coordinating conjunction score one point and subordinating conjunction is scored two points. The group game can be easily adapted for although grammatical concepts such as modal verbs, adverbial phrases etc.
Items on a picture are labelled with a noun using a sticky note. Using a different coloured sticky note, two adjectives can be applied to the noun thus creating an expanded noun phrase. This noun phrases can the be used in a sentence. The sentences can build to form, for example, a description of a character or a setting. In a non-fiction context, factual and adjectives are used to describe the nouns.
Text Message Dialogue
Two Smartphones can be used to generate a conversation between two characters in a book. The conversation can then be screen grabbed and printed. Next, children add the punctuation and the reporting clause before continuing the conversation in words themselves. An alternative to using the smartphones is the SMS generator on http://www.classtools.net
Based upon the vintage children’s TV series, this is an active game that gets children out of their seats. Signs are placed around the room – for example statement – command– exclamation– question. In pairs, the children are given unpunctuated sentences and on the command ‘runaround’ have to go and stand underneath the sign that represents their sentence type. One variety of this game is to put punctuation marks around the room with the children having to find the punctuation mark that would end their sentence.
Children have a a piece of coloured card or paper on which they make a list of either nouns/verbs/adjectives/adverbs relating to a text or a theme. The class then go outside and run around holding their cards. When the teacher shouts ‘Sentence soup!’ they get into fours – one of each colour. They then compose and write on a whiteboard a sentence containing nouns/verbs/adjectives/adverbs and then take these inside for reflection and improvement. This can also be played as a table top game indoors. Thanks to teacher Harriet Brewer for this idea.
Grammar Grand Prix
This is probably best used a plenary activity. Each table is allocated a colour of a racing car. Each table has one ‘runner’ who is the only person allowed to leave their seat. The teacher will call out a grammatical feature such as ‘fronted adverbial’ or ‘modal verb’ and the pupils in each group then have to compose a sentence containing that feature. The first to the teacher with a correct version moves their racing car along one space on the IWB. This game can be played at the end of each lesson thus revising the grammar that is being taught. Thanks to teacher and poet Tom Weir for this idea.
Flashback to the days of Grammar for Writing. This can be used as a daily lesson opener or simply as a process. The teacher shares with the children a boring sentence. The teacher then models and shares with the children how the sentence can be improved. This is done by adding in – adding on – changing words – adding sentences and finally asking the question can we combine the sentences. This can be used in fiction and in non-fiction writing and needs to be made age appropriate by reference to the grammar curriculum.
Sprinkle the Magic and SOS Singling Out Sentences
The idea is the same for both of these activities with the term sprinkle the magic being used for key stage one and SOS – Singling Out Sentences for key stage two. Basically, this is ‘magpieing’ by sharing texts with children and identifying really good words, phrases and sentences that the children might like to use in their own writing. This is intended to bring children’s writing alive over and above the basic needs of the grammar curriculum.
Instructions – The Concept of a Sentence Cards
Long, long ago in a time known as the ‘The Literacy Hour’ there was published a document called ‘Developing Early Writing’. In that document, almost hidden, because it had no pictures, was a chapter called ‘Developing the Concept of a Sentence’. And it was really good. The ideas below are based upon the contents of that chapter.
Rainbow Sentences, Traffic Light Sentences and Sentence Count can work together to provide progression and/or differentiation.
In all cases, exclamation marks and question marks can replace full stops to demarcate sentences.
Each sentence is written using a different colour. This makes sentence demarcation clear. The physical act of changing the pen encourages learners to remember the full stop and the capital letter. When modelling, make sure that many sentences flow onto the next line so that it is clear that one line doesn’t necessarily equal one sentence.
Traffic Light Sentences
The capital letter is written in green to indicate the start of the sentence and the full stop is in red to indicate the end. The same principle of changing pen or pencil to indicate the end of a sentence applies as it does in Rainbow Sentences but there is less colour scaffolding here. When children move on from simple sentences, conjunctions can be added in orange.
This time, there is no colour scaffolding but a tick is put in the margin or elsewhere at the end of every sentence. This, again, is a physical act to stop the ‘and then’ syndrome.
Beginnings and ends
This encourages the reading aloud of sentences and the matching of beginnings and ends to ensure the sentence makes sense.
Finish my Sentence
The first part of the sentence is given and the children have to complete the sentence; this gives experience of better quality sentence openers.
Is it a sentence?
A sorting activity. Read aloud and decide whether the ‘sentence’ makes sense as a whole.
Paper Chain Sentences
An idea taken from How to Boost Reading and Writing Through Play by Georgina Durrant published by Jessica Kingsley. This is very much a ‘hands on’ practical activity. Words are written by the children, or scribed by adults, onto loops they have made which are linked together in paper chain style to make a sentence. Helps children to hear what makes a full sentence. This can be extended to joining sentences with coordinating conjunctions and/but/or,
This is intended to motivate children to write more than one sentence. Children earn 1p for every sentence they write. You can add a limited number of 5p coins to encourage them to use exclamation and/or question marks. By limiting the number of 5p coins available this ensures that the children don’t put an exclamation mark or a question mark at the end of every sentence!