Sunday, March 3, 2013

Celebrate National Grammar Day with Super Grammar!

Happy National Grammar Day!

Last year, a little update on Scholastic's Facebook page caught my eye. They were sharing some free grammar worksheets with a superhero theme.  Thinking this might be fun for my kids, I downloaded the five pages and shared them with my children. Naturally, they loved the Super Grammar superheroes. In fact, they liked it so much, I went back and read the page with a letter to the teachers from the author and illustrator. And then I noticed something else - their signature. Tony Preciado and Rhode Montijo. Hmmm. Now I am REALLY interested.

So I contacted Tony and Rhode through the Super Grammar website, and arranged to feature them in an article for NBC Latino. They kindly sent me a copy of Super Grammar to review.

Super Grammar

I thought the book would be fun reading for my kids, but little did I know that I would actually wind up using this book as part of our homeschool Language Arts curriculum. We have been using Super Grammar for about a month now and I have been amazed at how much my children enjoy learning grammar, AND how much I enjoy teaching it!

The book itself is arranged into four main sections, each one focusing on a particular group of grammar concepts (disguised as superheroes) for children to learn. These four sections are: The Completion Team, The Amazing Eight, The Super Symbols, and The Sabotage Squad.

The sections are made up of various superheroes or supervillains who represent specific grammar concepts. The smallest team is the Completion Team, which is made up of two superheroes: The Subject and The Predicate. They are the most important team and spend their days working together to create complete sentences. Individually they are powerless, but together they are super strong!

Okay. So you get the idea. Here's how I'm using Super Grammar to teach my daughter who is in third grade. (My son is in first grade, but he enjoys watching and participating, too.)

For each grammar lesson, I focus on one new superhero. Because my kids learn best with interactive lessons, I use our dry erase board to present the superhero and his or her superpowers. To make the lesson even more memorable, I went to the Super Grammar website and downloaded pictures of the superheroes, printed them on cardstock, cut them out, laminated them, and then added a magnet to the back. Voilá! I have superheroes on the board for my kids to manipulate and focus on as we learn about each one. Take a look...

I basically use the book as a Teacher's Guide, but I don't stop my kids from looking through it - they love to study it and look at the pictures. Each of my lessons builds upon the previous one (Tony and Rhode have made this very easy, thanks to their layout and the order of their superheroes). I write the most important information on the board and read aloud the rest.

Sometimes I use the sentences that Tony gives in the book as examples, but I usually wind up making up some of my own so that they can practice. I like to pull in some of the other well-known superheroes, too, and make silly sentences which make my kids laugh. (For the record, I'm pretty sure the Green Lantern's favorite color is probably not pink. :)

My daughter has assigned each superhero his or her own color, and then uses that color to identify their role in a sentence. Now that we've gotten further in the book, we've started running out of colors. So now, I have her focus on identifying the specific superhero that we're studying at the time. It was getting a little crazy because she wanted to ID each one and we had lines and circles going everywhere. See...

The best moment for me happened a couple of weeks ago when I noticed that my daughter had not written a complete sentence in her writing assignment. She was missing the subject. When I pointed that out, she immediately cried, "Oh, no! The Fragment got me!!"

I had not been thinking of Super Grammar at all when this was happening, and I was floored that she had identified her mistake so quickly. And for the first time ever, my daughter has actually begged me to teach a grammar lesson for the day.

I am completely sold on this book. The only thing missing is that I don't have enough worksheets for my daughter to practice on in order to reinforce each concept. But I know that a workbook is in Tony and Rhode's plans for the future.

In addition, Super Grammar has created some super posters, each one featuring one of the four Super Grammar Super-teams. We got ours in the mail last week and my kids immediately divided them up equally between themselves, then ran for their rooms to hang them up.

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Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I did, however, receive a copy of the book and posters for review purposes.


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