How to Teach the Parts of Speech in the Secondary ELA Classroom

How to Teach the Parts of Speech in the Secondary ELA Classroom

Have you ever heard a student say, “Why do we have to learn parts of speech? We already learned this in elementary school!” and then you look at their writing and see that it’s clear they don’t remember much of what they learned?

I imagine you could actually apply to this many other skills taught in elementary school. As secondary-level teachers, we expect our students to come to us possessing and having mastered a set number of skills, such as recognizing and correctly using parts of speech. Here’s the thing, though. Yes, they learned it, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be reviewed and even retaught at the secondary level.

Tips For Teaching Parts of Speech

Here are a couple of tips I’ve picked up along the way to help you figure out how to incorporate parts of speech instruction, activities, and assessments into your lesson plans. Read here on why I think it’s so important to teach and review parts of speech at the secondary level.

Teaching the Parts of Speech Tip #1: Chunk it Out

Even though students have already learned the parts of speech, they will still benefit from carefully planned instruction and activities. Parts of speech are the building blocks of literacy and literature. When students master the parts of speech, their individual functions, and how they fit into sentence structure, they can better understand what they read and just how much words matter.

For this, I want to encourage you to break up the instruction of the parts of speech into smaller sections and group like parts of speech together. For instance, I always think it’s a good idea that because adjectives and adverbs are so commonly confused with each other it’s better to teach the two together to highlight their different functions.

Teaching the Parts of Speech Tip #2: Make it Fun and Engaging

Elementary teachers have the Schoolhouse Rock classics like I’m Just a Bill and Conjunction Junction, and while they are cute and catchy, they are not necessarily something that’s going to capture and engage the minds of middle schoolers and high schoolers.

For that, it’s important that teachers get students up and moving, problem-solving, and doing a variety of learning activities to keep them engaged and focused.

Teaching the Parts of Speech Tip #3: Secondary-Focused Resources

To teach and review using the two strategies above, I designed several teaching resources that work really well in my classroom, and I think they will work great in yours too!

Parts of Speech Unit Bundle

If you’re looking for something comprehensive that includes materials for direct instruction, worksheets, activities, reference sheets, assessments, and answer keys, this is definitely for you! There are eight units In the Parts of Speech Unit Bundle, covering nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections. Use all of it or some of it, you choose!
Parts of Speech teaching Unit

Capture Their Attention!

To get students moving and thinking on their feet, I “capture” their attention so they have to work together to “escape”! In Parts of Speech Escape Room Activity, students must complete 7 different growth-mindset tasks in order to “escape”. Each task is different from and connects to the others, including matching, identifying parts of speech, sorting, close reading, a word maze, and ending with decoding a final message. This is a perfect way for students to review and apply parts of speech while working together and having fun! This resource includes all of the materials you need to execute this activity. With minimal prep time, your students will certainly be engaged!

Parts of Speech Flip Book

One activity my students always enjoy is creating flipbooks. They are simple to make, but they love them! With Parts of Speech Mini Flip Book, you receive all the resources you need including 9 tabs, including an introduction tab and one tab for each part of speech. Each page is dedicated to one specific part of speech and includes definitions and examples. The best part is that it’s hands-on and can be used with interactive notebooks!

Parts of Speech Task Cards

Another easy and simple way to get students moving and thinking is to use task cards. They aren’t just for elementary, trust me! Using Parts of Speech Task Cards for Secondary ELA, you can introduce the different parts of speech and have students practice and review what they know using task cards. You get two sets of 40 task cards each (that’s 80 total!) in this resource. In the first set, each card has a sentence written on it, and students need to identify the part of speech of the bold-faced word. In the second set, each card has a famous quote written on it, and students need to identify the part of speech of two different words. This activity is excellent to use as a quick review, or even pre-assessment to see what students already know. Easy to set up and facilitate!

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