A few weeks ago, we talked about evidence-based strategies for grammar drill. The strategies are great, but it can be challenging to fit this into mixed groups. It’s also not the most motivating of activities! I’m sharing some of my strategies to make grammar drill a little more engaging.
Do you have any activities that you love to use in your therapy room? Share your ideas with us in the comments below!
Let’s get up and move! I love using movement to engage students. Research also shows that movement can improve student learning.
Movement can be an effective cognitive strategy to (1) strengthen learning, (2) improve memory and retrieval, and (3) enhance learner motivation and morale (Jensen, 2005).
Here are some activity ideas:
- Verbs: Jump, hop, walk, sit, stand, roll. You name it! Students can say what they will do (future tense verbs), what they are doing (present progressive), and what they just did (past tense verbs). The SLP Now Membership includes some sorting mats and action verb visuals to supplement this kind activity.
- Nouns: Find objects around the room. Use sentence starters (e.g., “I found one…” or “I found two…” to work on plural nouns).
- Pronouns: Pass a ball (or other object around the room) to practice pronouns (e.g., “I passed it to her/him. She/He got the ball.”).
Those are just a few suggestions! The possibilities are endless!
Here are some of my favorite apps for drill-based grammar practice:
You can target virtually any target using these apps (e.g., verbs, nouns, pronouns, compound/complex sentences). The activities are repetitive, so it’s easy to get multiple repetitions.
I’m using Cookie Doodle in the pictures below to target present progressive and past tense verbs.
Reinforcers can serve multiple purposes! Even if you’re targeting a different skill, it can be an easy way to embed grammar practice.
You can use dice, spinners, stickers, bubbles… The list goes on and on!
I’m using Pop Up Pirate in the picture below to target present progressive and past tense verbs. The student tells me what color sword they’re going to pick and/or what color they picked. I like to set expectations ahead of time (e.g., “We’re working on…”) and use visuals (as needed). This makes it possible to target any grammar target!
Videos are another fun way to switch up drill-based practice. I especially love the Disney Pixar Shorts.
Students can describe what is happening (or what happened) in the video. You can use visuals from the SLP Now Membership (or create your own!) to structure this practice.
I do my best to implement evidence-based strategies while I’m using the activities listed above. For example, my visuals often include two targets (e.g., present progressive and past tense verbs on the same page) because contrastive imitation is one of the most effective strategies to use when teaching grammar skills. Setting up the visuals in this way reminds me to use those strategies and helps scaffold my students as they develop the skill.
Want to read more? Check out the first post I wrote about why (and how) I teach skills in therapy. The post includes a general “framework” for teaching in therapy. You can find other posts in the series here.