Monday, August 17, 2009

Ten Grammar Games and Lesson Resources

1. Grammar Ninja is a fun game for students to play as they develop a working knowledge of the parts of speech. Grammar Ninja has three levels for students to work through. As long as you answer questions correctly, they continue through the game, but answer incorrectly and the words explode.

2. Mad Libs offers a widget that you can install on your blog to allow visitors to play Mad Libs. I've always thought that having a "fun element" on your classroom blog is a good way to keep students actively visiting the blog without prompting from you. If you're an English teacher, the Mad Libs widget might be something to consider adding to your blog.

3. Great Source iWrite from the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt company features an awesome animated and narrated glossary of grammar terms. In this glossary you will find animated, narrated videos explaining the use of punctuation. You can also find the same type of video explaining the parts of speech and mechanics of writing.

4. Grammar Bytes is a great website for Language Arts teachers. Grammar Bytes offers teachers and students a glossary of terms, handouts, interactive exercises, and slide show presentations. There are eighteen slide show presentations available for free download from Grammar Bytes. Each slide show is accompanied by a handout for students to complete as they view each presentation.

5. Daily Writing Tips is a blog that I've mentioned in the past as a good source of content about writing in English. Recently, they announced the release of an ebook about English grammar. The ebook is 34 pages long and is free to anyone that subscribes to their email newsletter. Visit Daily Writing Tips for all of the details about the ebook.

6. The Houghton Mifflin Company produces Grammar Blast. Grammar Blast offers 35 interactive grammar activities for students in grades two through five.

7. The Grammar Practice Park produced by Harcourt School Publishers provides 12 games for students in grades three, four, and five.

8. The British Council's Learn English website offers 69 interactive activities for learning the rules of grammar. The activities are not listed by grade level so you will have to preview them to determine which activities are best suited for your students.

9. Scholastic Inc. has a page for elementary age students called Maggie's Learning Adventures. On Maggie's Learning Adventures visitors will find five grammar activities as well as activities for learning Spanish, Math, and Science.

10. The BBC's Skillswise website is a great resource for a wide variety of content areas. On the grammar and spelling page there are 21 activities suitable for students of middle school and high school age.

Image credit "The Grammar Police" by Flickr user the_munificent_sasquatch

From Archives.Gov - The Social Security Act 1935

Last week featured documents from the original Social Security Act of 1935. Along with the first page of the original act, included links to amendments to the original act, background on FDRs rationale at the time, and links to lesson plans about FDR's response to the Great Depression.

Applications for Education
Social Security and health care reforms have long been hot topics in political campaigns and Congressional debate. Chances your high school and middle school students have at least heard about Social Security and in some cases may have first-hand experience with Social Security benefits. These documents from the National Archives could be useful for having students make comparisons between how they understand Social Security today and how it was originally designed.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
US History Animated
Picturing the Century - Lesson Plans and Worksheets
Lesson Plans for Teaching About the Supreme Court

Good Interactive Game/ Lesson for Teen Drivers

The New York Times has an excellent interactive game that every teen driver or aspiring driver should play at least once. Gauging Your Distraction requires players to try to read and reply to three text messages while negotiating lanes of traffic. The game ends when all three messages have been sent. I gave the game a try and found it to be quite challenging.

Applications for Education
Gauging Your Distraction is an excellent activity to incorporate into a driver training program.

Put TED Talks On Your Desktop

It is no secret that I enjoy TED Talks. With very few, if any, exceptions every TED Talk offers the opportunity to learn something new and or the opportunity to be inspired. In May, TED Talks began to be available in more than 40 different languages. Now, thanks to design service Thirteen23, you can access TED Talks through a desktop client. The client uses Microsoft's Silverlight 3. Silverlight 3 is available for Windows and Mac operating systems. Click here for more information about installing the TED Talks desktop player.

Applications for Education
TED Talks present a great opportunity for students to explore their interests in a topic. I've also seen first-hand TED Talks inspiring students to conduct independent research on a topic they've heard discussed in a TED Talk.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Teaching With TED Talks
TED Talks in 40 Languages
30+ Alternatives to YouTube