Writing Toolbox: 8 Free Lessons and Charts to Help Your Students Become Better Writers

WeAreTeachers is pleased to welcome guest teacher-blogger Tiffany Rehbein. Tiffany is a high school English teacher and writes the Core Grammar blog at Sadlier School. Find Tiffany’s blog as well as free grammar and writing lessons, activities and games over […]

Sadlier School Blogger Tiffany WeAreTeachers is pleased to welcome guest teacher-blogger Tiffany Rehbein. Tiffany is a high school English teacher and writes the Core Grammar blog at Sadlier School. Find Tiffany’s blog as well as free grammar and writing lessons, activities and games over at Sadlier’s PubHub.

Think fast. What subject do you find hardest to teach? For a surprising number of teachers, the answer is writing. Progress in writing is often hard to see because writing encompasses a myriad of smaller skills, from how to use a comma correctly to how to parse through a complex plot. So when a student learns to, say, use quotations correctly, the overall level of the writing may not seem all that different. Growth is incremental, but it all adds up! Learning the concrete rules of writing frees students up to think about content and how they want to express themselves. Here are eight free resources for your classroom—some for you, some for your students—that will help you increase students’ understanding of proper grammar and sentence structure and aid in improving their vocabulary and writing skills.

  1. Five Ways to Use Commas” Mini-Poster
    You know that student who never met a comma he didn’t like or the one who sticks with periods because it’s “easier”? Here’s a mini-poster for both of them! Print it out and make it part of a writing bulletin board, or distribute individual copies for their writing notebooks. Plus, use this handout to review comma rules and give students the chance to practice.

    five ways to use commas poster

  2. Homophone Mini-Poster
    There, they’re, their! Even adults sometimes need reminders to use the right homophone. Here’s a mini-poster to keep tough-to-remember words front of mind. There’s a practice sheet as well to help your students learn to use the right word at the right time!

    Homophone-Anchor-Chart

  3. “Let’s Get Parallel” Activity
    Sentences with parallel structure have a strong rhythm and are easier to understand. Here’s a quick practice activity for in-class or homework to help your students recognize and use parallel structure in their sentences.

    let's get parallel writing activity

  4. Surprise Adverb Chart
    Adverbs seem to be falling out of fashion. Help bring them back! Here’s a quick chart of adverbs that don’t end in -ly that your students need to know.

    Adverb_poster

  5. Sentence, Fragment or Run-On?
    Is it a sentence or isn’t it? Help your students learn to tell the difference with this practice activity. Afterward, have students create their own examples and challenge their classmates to identify them.

    complex sentence writing activity

  6. Five Simple Rules for Revising Sentences
    Here’s a quick list of tips for your students to help them revise sentence by sentence. Have your students use it for an in-class peer revision session or take it home to improve their own drafts.
    eliminate redundancies in your students' writing
  7. The 10 Rules of Effective Grammar Instruction
    This one is just for you. Here is a list of the top 10 things you can do to help your students improve their grammar skills. It takes a lot of exposure to make those grammar rules stick. Here’s how to make sure your students are hearing, seeing and practicing grammar throughout the day.

    10 Laws of Grammar Instruction

  8. Complex or Noncomplex Sentence? Exercise
    A compound sentence connects related ideas with and, but or or. A complex sentence connects related ideas with a subordinating conjunction. Download this freethree-page exercise to give your students practice listening for and recognizing the difference.

    Complex Sentences Activity

Tiffany Rehbein has been a high school English teacher for 10 years. She loves engaging her students with motivating grammar and writing activities and celebrates when they “get it.” Read her Core Grammar blog.

Posted by WeAreTeachers Staff

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