Will you think I’m a huge nerd if I tell you how much I love teaching language skills to my upper elementary students?! Language skills and rules for conjunctions, interjections, articles, and prepositional phrases are the “math” behind writing. Teaching students to reliably write complete, clear sentences is an important writing goal. Making sure that our students understand the role that different parts of speech and language elements play in sentences will help them be better writers. These language skill activities can help make practicing language skills more fun.
How to Teach Conjunctions, Interjections, Articles, and Prepositions
The key to teaching these four language elements is to remember that they are all parts of speech. I recommend only focusing on introducing one new part of speech per day, or even one per week if your students need extra time.
When first introducing each part of speech to students, start with an anchor chart. I like to give students an anchor chart with several example words or phrases. Here are a few ideas:
- Conjunctions: Create a FANBOYS (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) anchor chart. You can check out my conjunction anchor chart in this blog post, along with more conjunction teaching tips.
- Interjections: Give students a few examples of interjections, and then have them create comic book bursts on the chart with bold interjections!
- Articles: List out the three articles (a, an, the). Give examples of when to use each of the articles. Have students write on the posters the rules for using different articles.
- Prepositions: At the top of the chart write “The mouse went _______ the table.” Then, have students write various words that fit! Bonus points if they add an image of the mouse in different locations.
After creating your anchor charts, create a buildable sentence with students. The idea is that each time you learn a new part of speech, students will add on to the sentence. For example, the original sentence might be “I walk.” After learning prepositions, students might add “into the store”.
In addition to displaying the anchor chart, you can even feature the buildable sentences to highlight the part of speech in action or use a mentor sentence. I personally use mentor sentences from Ideas by Jivey! Mentor sentences provide our students with a model for using different grammar and language skills, so it’s an excellent tool to add to an anchor chart.
For a more detailed review for students at-a-glance, I always use this free language and grammar skills quick reference guide. This guide gives students a more in-depth look into language skills, with additional definitions and examples – perfect for their journal or folder.
After you introduce new parts of speech to students, make sure to consistently review these skills. It’s easy for knowledge of conjunctions, interjections, articles, and prepositions to get lost, so you want to keep them fresh! Spiraling is really easy with these language skills of the day, grammar practice activities and language skill quick checks. I know it can feel overwhelming to review and fit in all the language skills students need, which is why I enjoy using these easy refreshers with students.
Activities for Teaching Conjunctions
Task Cards: Of course, the classic task card! These conjunction task cards are great because the questions are in a variety of formats: multiple choice, fill in the blank, combining sentences, and more. Great for independent practice or stations!
Sentence Strips: On sentence strips, create various simple sentences and mix them all up. Then, have students connect the simple sentences together with one of the coordinating conjunctions. This is great practice on how to use the different FANBOYS and students love finding the sentence matches!
Activities for Interjections
Identifying Interjections: Think of this one like a scavenger hunt! Have students search for interjections inside of a text or magazine article. Then have students add the interjections they find to their anchor chart, so they have examples to choose from for future writing. Take this one even further by having them make some magazine art by using the interjections they cut out from the magazines to write their own short story. Students LOVE this!
Creating Sentences: There are various types of interjections that can be used in multiple contexts. Give students a list of five interjections. Then give them a prompt to begin a discussion with. Go around the room and have students interject to complete the story round robin style.
Student 1: “Hey! Did you hear about the new park down the street? It has seventeen slides.”
Student 2: “Wow! What a coincidence… I’m having my birthday party there next week.”
Student 3: “YAY! I can’t wait to check it out with you.”
Activities for Articles
Fill in the Blank: Review the rules for when to use certain articles. Then, give students sentences with blanks inside them. Have students determine whether they should use a, an, or the in the blank. This can be done drag and drop style online or with a small group.
Digital Game: Use an online platform such as Kahoot! to practice articles! Add in online questions about rules for using articles, along with selecting the correct word for a sentence.
Activities for Prepositions
Task Cards: If you know me, you know I love task cards! These differentiated prepositional phrases task cards include 32 multiple choice questions, along with 32 identifying and analyzing questions for preposition phrases.
Topple Blocks: This is a really fun prepositions game to play with students! Each colored block has six questions. When a student pulls a certain color, the entire group must answer the question. Questions include items such as completing a sentence, identifying the preposition, expanding the sentence, and more.
More Language Skills Activities
Using Pictures: This using pictures to teach parts of speech review is a fun way to get students thinking outside the box. Your students will write observations of an image, make inferences and predictions, ask questions and more.
Read and Review: This grammar review includes twelve grammar skills through high-interest stories. Students will read fictional and informational texts and answer grammar based questions, such as the difference between imperative and interrogative sentences.
Flip Book: Flip Books are a great way to review knowledge, while also creating a reference guide. This grammar skill review flip book is told as a story, and focuses on reviewing conjunctions, interjections, and prepositions. Throughout the flipbook, students will complete skill related tasks as the story unfolds.