Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thursday Throw Down: Student Led Grammar {Plus a FREEBIE!}

Howdy, ya'll! {Too much?!...ehh...I mean, ya know.}

I'm so excited to link up with Erin at Lovin' Lit for Thursday Throw Day: Interactive Learning!


Making learning "interactive" can happen in LOTS of ways in the classroom.

I always think to myself, "Self, if you were a student, what would be interesting to you!?"

Now I know that the answer to that question won't always be what is best for the students' learning. Ya know, like if the answer was, "Well what might  make this test more interesting is if I were at a spa" kinda answer - that may not work.


If you are bored, then the kids are bored. Period.

So each day before Writer's Workshop, my students did a simple little Interactive, Student Led Grammar Spiral Review (say that 3 times fast) to spice up their day!

Our district really pushed us to have learning student led as much as possible. I agree with this to some degree (but that's a totally different blog post).

So, I thought and thought and thought about ways to make the student learning, student led.

One day, it hit me.

Let the students teach.

They. LOVED. IT.

Cue the Magic Microphone for interactive, student led Grammar Spiral Review (Yes, I had to be very careful not to say "Magic Mic" in Magic Mike. Yeah.)


{Click on the picture to download your copy to edit and use all year long if you'd like!}

I have no idea where I saw this format for spiral review. (If you know whom I should credit, please, help a girl out!). Our team loved how there was just a tiny bit of "this and that" as a review each day. Also, this didn't ever take us longer than 15 minutes for the students to complete on their own and then "teach it" to the class (once we got into our "student led" groove).

Our district partnered Jeff Anderson's approach of grammar with our 3rd grade Grammar Spiral Review that I would create each week. Students were focused on one grammar skill for the week through a Jeff Anderson mini lesson, and then we did the Student Led Grammar Spiral Review each day.

So, after Jeff Anderson, this is how it would work....

1) Students completed each day's Spiral Review independently. They were given about 5 minutes to do so.  If students didn't finish (because some wouldn't), then they would complete the sections as the student's led the Spiral Review.

2) After the students had a chance to complete the Spiral Review, the fun would begin. I would then give the Magic Microphone (once again, not to be confused with Magic Mike) to a student. I would then have a seat and monitor the classroom from either the front or back of the room. I am there to moderate the conversation, but after a while, they get the hang of it. It flows well, and their conversations get deeper and more meaningful. 

The students then lead the class like this {reference the Spiral Review snippet in the image above so you can see why the students are saying what they are saying for their answers}:

If even ONE student disagrees with her answer, this is what she would say:

If all students agree with her answer, this is what she would say:

Not only does this learning format allow the students a chance to "be in charge" but they take this very seriously. It allows the students to practice asking and answering questions as well as listening skills which are very important for the CCSS (oh, and not to mention - important in LIFE!).

Also, you'd be surprised the conversations students will have. The deeper the skill, the more the students will interact with each other in their agree/disagree conversations. They learn how to disagree in a kind, respectful way. 

Students that literally bounce off the walls 24/7 will sit patiently, with their hand raised hoping to get chosen to "teach", super involved and super engaged during this time. It will blow you away. They will be perfect angels for 15 minutes during Student Led Spiral Review. It's insane in the membrane how motivating this actually is for students.

As mentioned above, this comes with time. Practice makes progress! 

Modeling, practicing and making expectations for each role in this Student Led Learning is critical when first implementing.

Students need to know how to hold the microphone. 
How to pass the microphone. 
How to agree politely and how to disagree respectfully. 
Students need to practice raising their hand. 
How to ask a question. 
What questions are appropriate to ask.
...And yada yada yada. 

But the good news is, is that I DID this SUCCESSFULLY with 3rd graders.

So if 3rd graders can do this, anybody can!

Don't forget to click on the sample image above to download a copy of my spiral review template {that I saw somewhere a long time ago and can't take credit for it, although I wish I could} to use with your own students. 

Have you tried something similar in YOUR classroom? 

I had a great time today linking up with Erin!

Until then, 


  1. I love that idea! I think even my 2nd graders could do it with some modeling and I bet you can do it with any topic. Wow!
    On the Go Teacher Mama

    1. They most definitely could! They would love it, too! They would feel more independent and more like "big kids"! :)

  2. This is such a fun idea!!! I totally think 2nd graders could do this idea . . . like you said "Practice makes progress"
    - Lisa from Created for Learning