I was looking at my pacing guide the other week when I realized it would soon be time to teach about personal pronouns. Confession time…things were starting to get a little stale and same ‘ol-same ‘ol with grammar in Room 411. If I was having a hard time getting enthusiastic, what chance did the kids have??? Do you ever get that feeling? I had no choice. It was time to have some fresh ideas. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if everything I had planned would work out, but I figured it had to be better than the snooze-fest that was rapidly becoming my grammar time.
Start with the Standard
My starting point was to refer directly back to the standards so I understood what was expected of 4th grade students. They needed to be able to write sentences using pronouns with correct subject-verb agreement. That meant we had to review not only singular and plural, but also learn 1st/2nd/3rd person. Got it!
I created an anchor chart with my students to introduce/review the concept of personal pronouns. BTW, if you’re a little rusty on what exactly is a pronoun, check out this website – it’s a great review and provides LOTS of information about all things pronouns. After we created the anchor chart, I gave the students a miniature version for them to glue into their language notebooks. Then they had to complete the chart in their notebook with the missing information.
I found some great instructional videos at Khan Academy and uploaded links to our Google Classroom. Then I had the students watch the videos and complete the cloze notes that matched each video.
Time for the foldable! Students were expected to start applying their knowledge of using pronouns by writing sentences that included 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person pronouns. This foldable can also be glued into a notebook for continued reference.
We had some fun with a popular cooperative learning structure called Mix-Freeze-Group. It’s just like the name sounds. Students mix around the room (be sure to articulate your expectations on how you want this to happen, or else…chaos!). Call out, “Freeze!” Announce a pronoun. If it is 1st person, students form a group of one by standing alone. It the pronoun is 2nd person, they form a group of two people. Finally, if the pronoun announced is 3rd person, then obviously they will form groups of three. Just write on the board the code for how to want them to form groups: 1st person = 1, 2nd person = 2, and 3rd person = 3. Practically no prep, and it’s a great way to get kids thinking and moving. After that, we returned to our seats and had a concept sort. Once again our trusty language notebooks came out and we created pockets for sorting pronoun cards.
We wrapped up our study of personal pronouns with another out-of-your-seat activity. I made one more copy of the pronoun cards we had used the day before with the concept sort and taped them randomly around my classroom. Using a clipboard and loose-leaf paper, students were asked to “write around the room.” They found a card and wrote a sentence using the pronoun on the card. I would suggest you have students list the pronouns at the top of their paper before starting this activity. Then, as they use a pronoun in a sentence, have them cross out the word just used. Doing so will help them keep track of which cards they’ve used as they complete the assignment. Collect their papers and score their efforts.
A week of personal pronouns could have been very boring, but with a little creativity and some fun activities it was a success! Click on the link below to download the resources I used with my students for this week-long series of lessons. Happy teaching!