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Teaching Grammar in Context

Shareen Mayers, January 2017

Since the introduction of the new national curriculum, grammar has been a challenge for many teachers, and pupils! However, from looking at the research, it seems that the best way to teach it is in context (see David Reedy's video!)
But what does that mean? In simple terms, it means that words can take on different forms, depending on how they are used in a sentence.
The word ‘so’ can be used in so many different contexts so it’s important to teach ‘so’ in context. 
This lesson is so exciting!
Subordinating conjunction
I brought my walking boots so that I could climb the mountain. 
‘How are you feeling?’ asked Tom. 
 ‘So-so!’ expressed Hardeep. 
Quite a few teachers have expressed to me that they only teach ‘so’ as a co-ordinating conjunction but as you can see in the examples above, it is far more complex than that! Teaching words in context is essential. 
Four quick steps
  1. Explicitly teach an aspect of grammar, e.g. using adverbs or subordinating conjunctions. 
  2. Use high quality texts to model how it is used in context.
  3. Model and demonstrate the use of grammar or punctuation in shared writing or shared reading. 
  4. Ask the pupils to apply their new learning to their writing. 
Fill Grammar Gaps enables teachers to teach grammar in context, using interactive whiteboard activities and high quality texts. It covers KS1 and KS2 grammar areas and can be used in whole class or for intervention groups.

Shareen Mayers (@ShareenMayers)
Primary English consultant and series editor for Fill Grammar Gaps