Meet the FANBOYS (For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So): A Story of CONJUNCTIONS
Imagine you are teaching your first junior session, ever, and the topic which you are expected to teach is grammar-in particular conjunctions. You know all the conjunctions. So you begin: “Conjunctions are words such as for, and, nor, but, or, yet and so that are used to link phrases, words and clauses together” and as you try to incorporate them into the lesson you can sense that your junior student is bored. He barely responds to you and he is staring at you blankly with his big wide eyes. Nerve-wracking isn’t it? After all, there is the possibility he is going to give you a low score if you don’t step up your game.
Let’s be real…as important as grammar/conjunction is, it can be a little dry.
Teaching conjunction to young learners can be really difficult as you will not only need to attain and retain their interests but you also need to get them to understand the complex idea of the language.
The question, though, how can you do this????
Conjunction games can be used during your sessions as part of the grammar component. Conjunction games teach students how to link nouns, clauses and phrases. The interactive nature of games may motivate students better than having them read and repeat. Games increase cooperation and create excitement through friendly competition.
One of such games I normally play with my junior students when teaching conjunction is the conjunction word wall. Assuming that in the introductory part of the lesson you had already told your student (s) some conjunctions words (but, and, yet, or, because, nor, although, since, unless, while, where etc) you would now have your student call all the words that they can remember. As they do so you write them down then you ask them to make sentences with them. You will then write sentences of your own and have them pick out the conjunctions. After, you put a list of all the conjunctions for them to review after the lesson.
Another game I love to use to teach conjunction is the scramble sentence game which works well at various levels. For this activity you will need to use several sentences featuring conjunctions. I give them a sentence that is in the incorrect word order and then I ask them to unscramble the word placing everything in the correct order. For example, 10,000/ just/ and/ cats/ us=Just us AND 10,000 cats. Each correct sentence gets a star.
Another game is the conjunction Bingo game which I play with a full class. Kids love playing Bingo. Using the Bingo format I draw some cards on the whiteboard with nine spaces and in each space there’s a conjunction word. I then call out a conjunction word and then the student will need to make a sentence and then he crosses off that word. Students with three conjunction words in a row win.
Challenge games is also a plus when teaching conjunctions. I use memory games in teaching this form of grammar which prompt students to be able to find pairs of matching conjunction words. I also tend to use puzzles a lot. So I upload my homemade puzzles and have the student (s) find all the conjunctions words that they can find. Puzzles help students become familiar with a variety of conjunction words while at the same time creating a challenge and building excitement as students try to be the first to complete the puzzles.
Since boredom is one of the easiest ways to make our students lose their focus, it’s up to us as teachers to find ways to make grammar interesting and possibly even entertaining!
I’m always on the lookout for ways to spice it up and to make it more fun for my students. What about you?
If you have any suggestions please let us know!