Teaching Grammar Online with ESL Library
Teaching grammar can be a challenge at the best of times, and having to suddenly manage it digitally can be especially difficult. We hope this series of posts on how to teach grammar online will be helpful! Please feel free to leave comments and questions below. We're here for you!
This three-part grammar series will cover:
- How to Teach Grammar Online
- How to Assign Grammar Tasks Online (this post)
- How to Assess Grammar Online
How to Assign Grammar Tasks Online
Our Grammar Practice Worksheets section has 60 lessons available on our online platform.
Once you've chosen a target and clicked on the Digital tab, you will see all the digital tasks that are available to our subscribers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our Standard plan subscribers have free access to all our Premium plan digital tasks, so you will be able to use them all with your students.
1. Order of Tasks
The digital tasks in every Grammar Practice Worksheets lesson follow a logical, progressive order (with the easiest tasks at the beginning and the more difficult ones at the end). All these lessons begin with the grammar notes and most end with a quiz (see How to Assess Grammar Online).
For example, our Simple Past lesson includes the grammar notes followed by two easy multiple-choice exercises to practice positive and negative sentences in the simple past. After that, there are two tasks to practice regular verbs. Next comes an irregular verb list and two practice exercises. The remaining four tasks include a mix of regular and irregular verbs and cover time markers, question formation, and opposites. The lesson concludes with a quiz—a quick assessment task so you can check your students' comprehension of everything they learned in this lesson.
Keep in mind that the task order is only a general guideline. Feel free to vary the order of the tasks you assign according to the needs of your students.
2. Launching Tasks
You can preview each task before you assign it by clicking the task title. This is also how you would launch the task if you were screensharing it. Under Task Info, you will find the answer key and the task at a glance all on one page.
How many tasks should you do at one time? This depends on the time of your session and the needs of your learners.
If you only have an hour, try going through two or three tasks plus correction and discussion. If you are teaching the same learners all week, you could break up the lesson and do two or three tasks a day from the lesson along with other related material (see the Related section of any lesson page). If your students appear to know the grammar target quite well, you could do a couple of tasks and then move on to another target. However, if you have a long class, you could definitely cover the whole lesson (all the tasks for one target) since they are progressive in difficulty and not repetitive in nature.
You could always assign one or two tasks (or all of them!) for homework. See the next section for more information on assigning tasks for homework.
3. Assigning Tasks
You will get your students' results in real time for most tasks. For tasks with written (typed) answers, you will be able to score the answers and leave written feedback for your learners.
Keep in mind that you could also assign tasks for your students to complete during an online session. This way they can complete the tasks individually at their own pace (just as they would in class using a paper-based exercise), and you can see the results for all your students while you're conducting a class using a screensharing platform. After your students complete a task, you could choose to go through it while screensharing to discuss any problems they may have had.
The beauty of assigning homework tasks is that you could always choose to assign more to students who are struggling and fewer to students who aren't. You can also assign a random, one-off task on a certain target from any lesson to a student who had a question about it or wanted extra practice.
When should you teach articles? How about prepositions of place? Should you teach imperative verbs before the present progressive? Many teachers wonder which order of grammar targets is best. We have a Teaching Order chart for our Grammar Practice Worksheets section that you can apply to all our grammar materials.
Please keep in mind that this is a general guideline and is absolutely not set in stone! The order can vary according to your students' needs. It may also vary if you're following a certain curriculum.
This resource is mainly for teachers, and as such it is not available as an assignable digital resource, but feel free to share this order with your students using a screensharing platform. You could also download the PDF and email it to your students if you want them to see it.
If you're an online tutor, you can customize your teaching order much more easily. Try giving your student(s) a list of grammar targets and ask which ones they struggle with the most. Assign writing and/or speaking tasks to discover which targets your student struggles with. You could also use the four assessment/placement tests mentioned above. Any of these methods will also work with a big class, but it might be a bit more difficult to establish a teaching order if your students' needs vary widely.
We hope you found this second post in our three-part series about teaching grammar online useful!
- Here is the next post in the series: How to Assess Grammar Online
- If you missed our first post in the series, find it here: How to Teach Grammar Online