Thursday, February 21, 2013

Easy Ways to Improve Grammar and Writing Skills

One of my frustrations as a junior high teacher is using classroom time to work on basic grammar skills.  With NoRedInk, I can set up practice lessons for students specific to the needs I’ve pre-assessed.  I can target certain skills for either the whole class or specific students.  Students can then work on them at home or when time allows.

Students can personalize the sentences by choosing topics of interest.  If they miss something, NoRedInk will provide second-chances and tutorials.  The program analyzes student answers and provides additional practice for the topics missed most often.  Individual student progress is tracked with color-coded “heat maps”, so teachers can quickly see specific areas of challenge.

A teacher developed this site, and it is continually growing and improving.  Its basic program is free, and there is a premium program for teachers who want more. 
If you are a tablet user, consider Tap to Learn’s Grammar App HD (99¢), with over 200 tutorials and 1000 questions.  This fun program is Apple’s top grammar app.  It is also available for Android users.  Take a look at all of Tap To Learn’s educational apps while you are at it, you may find others you like.

CC Connection:  Sites and applications such as these will allow students to address and master the ELA standards in Language, specifically Conventions of Standard English 1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. 2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.


Fran said...

Ok, I don't want to seem dense here but there are two little words in both standards that are causing me a great deal of confusion when I look at your two program/apps. Those two words are "in writing."

I assumed that meant the student would be "writing with appropriate grammar" in their own writing" so yes, teaching grammar check in word processing would be in my "prediction."

Really? More isolated practice in grammar? "Writing Next" by Steve Graham reports on the effect size of those efforts.

Karen Ruiz Larson said...

Fran, thanks for your comment. Yes, the standards call for grammar to be taught within the context of writing, and in fact, we've been working in that direction for a few years. But in my reality, not all students walk into the classroom at the same skill level and many need additional instruction in certain areas. These tools are one way to differentiate instruction for those who do need practice.