competition + chocolate = grammar review success

It’s so strange how competition for some miniature chocolates will motivate students.

In our college composition class, there’s very little time to teach grammar.  It’s mostly a review of skills we hope students have already learned.  We reinforce with mini review lessons and tools students can use to improve.  I assign students a selection from Grammar Girl and have them complete un-timed review quizzes on our course site (on Blackboard) for practice.

About two times during the semester, we do an in-class review.  This week, we did “Grammar Quiz: Lightening Round!”  Students pair up, and each team is given a sheet to write down their answers.  I play the PowerPoint slide which moves on every 15 seconds.  Each slide contains a grammar question – most of them multiple choice.  The goal is to be the team that has the highest number of correct answers.  (Of course, I end up giving everyone a little something, even the losing teams.  I always tell them, “No one’s a loser in my class!”)  Also, the bonus is that some of the questions are verbatim taken from the review quizzes they should have been doing on the course site.

It always amazes me how my students really get into it.  I hear from students who are usually quiet – you know, the “smart” ones who are just too good speak up and participate?  Yup.  Those students decide that this is worth their breath.  And when we go through the questions one by one, reviewing the grammar rules, most of them also really get into that too.  It just works – like magic. 

I’m just glad that I have a membership to Sam’s Club and I can buy chocolate and candy in bulk.

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