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Grammar:

Stuffed Animal Grammar

 

Today's Snack: Enjoy some animal crackers, though they aren't "stuffed" with anything . . . and drink so much milk that your tummy feels "stuffed."

 

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Supplies:

Nametag with adult's name, and the adult wearing it

Playground slide | a big stuffed animal

Project this Treat or print this out so students can see it as well as hear it

 

 

It's important that children pronounce words correctly. Before they set foot in school, they need to be "schooled" in proper grammar.

 

That's why parents, child-care providers and preschool teachers should keep a keen ear toward the pronunciation mistakes that children are making, but without harshly correcting them. Instead, adults should MODEL proper speech.

 

Remember, children don't need critics - they need coaches!

 

When they can order the sounds correctly in their minds, and pronounce the words right and in proper order, they're much better off when it comes time to record those sounds on paper in written form.

 

But you don't want to crush a child's spirit by constantly correcting his or her grammar or pronunciation. That's annoying, and not necessary.

 

It's much better to listen to your child's everyday speech, and work a correction of bad grammar or mispronunciation gently and inconspicuously into your side of the conversation.

 

That's the best way to teach: to not appear to be teaching.

 

Here's a fun game of role reversal. The adult will say something that is bad grammar in a made-up conversation with a stuffed animal. The child or children, overhearing this, will correct the adult. The first one to raise a hand and give the correct grammar gets to come up and hug the stuffed animal.

 

Adults should be as funny and dramatic as they'd like during their part of this play-acting, and it will become more enjoyable and memorable for the kids.

 

You can come up with countless exercises yourself, but here are three examples to get you started:

 

 

1. Proper past tense of a verb

 

Adult puts on the nametag with first name clearly printed, then dramatically takes it off, and says to the child or group of children:

 

I shouldn't have tooken off the nametag.

 

The adult leads the children into brainstorming what SHOULD have been said.

 

Correct response:

 

Child: You should have taken it off?

 

Adult: Yeah. Now you come up here and hug the Grammar Bunny (or whatever kind of stuffed animal you're using)

 

 

 

2. Another example of proper past tense.

 

Group goes out to the playground, and one child comes down the slide. The adult stands at the bottom and catches the child. Then:

 

Adult: He came down the slide and I catched him.

 

Child: You mean you caught him.

 

Adult: Yeah, I didn't want him to fall off, so I caught him. Let's pretend the Grammar Bunny is coming down the slide. You can catch him and hug him!

 

 

 

3. Plurals.

 

Here everyone stands up, and the children encircle the adult.

 

Adult: AAAAIIIIEEEE!!!! Grammar Bunny, we're surrounded by childs!!!

 

Child: You mean you're surrounded by children!

 

Adult: Yes! Raise your hand if you are a child (pause while children each raise hands), and now raise your hand if you think you are a group of childs (pause). No? Oh, yeah! You're a group of children!!! Now you (the child who caught the error first) come and hug the Grammar Bunny.

 

 

 

4. Mispronunciation.

 

Adult (hugging the Grammar Bunny): I really like aminals.

 

Child: Really? You like animals?

 

Adult: Yes, I think they're pwetty.

 

(Again, children will be amused, and one should come up with something like this)

 

Child: You mean pretty?

 

Adult: Yeah, I think they're weawwy pwetty.

 

(Eventually, the right pronunciation should be suggested)

 

Child: You mean really pretty!

 

Adult: YES! Now come up here and hug the really pretty Grammar Bunny!

 

 

Other examples:

 

Correct verb form:

He should of went.

Yes, he probably should have gone.

 

Correct verb past tense:

Then I hided in the bathroom.

You hid there?

 

Correct verb past tense:

The dog bited him.

The dog bit him? Why?

 

Word choice:

This works really good.

Oh, it works really well? How have you used it?

 

Avoiding a double negative:

I drew a picture of him without no ears.

Without any ears? Why? So he couldn't listen to you?

 

By Susan Darst Williams www.AfterSchoolTreats.com Writing: Grammar Granny 2010

 

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