We teach 12 comma rules each spring in preparation for our state writing test. In previous years, I have worked off of overheads. My students laughed at me as I repeatedly blinded myself while standing in front of the screen. This year, I decided to save my eyes and put a series of Keynote (PowerPoint) presentations together.
My goal was to make the lessons easier for visual learners to grasp. I used consistant color schemes and movement on the screen to show the students methods that helped them break apart a sentence. The truth is, grammar is very technical. There is no beauty of word choice or personal expression in placing commas. Grammar is the math, the logic, side of writing. This makes teaching grammar–well–boring (no offence to math teachers out there).
Below you will find links to my first effort at making the grammar lessons more engaging than an overhead and my hand. I started making the Keynotes at Rule 4 and worked my way through the lessons before returning to Rules 1-3. It’s interesting to see how the presentations evolve as I became more comfortable with the software.
I ended up exporting the presentations as enhanced Quicktime videos that are clickable. I linked these to my homework blog so students could review the lessons if they were having trouble with the homework.
I can honestly say that it was easier to teach these rules with these presentations. For instance, Rule 4 deals with deciding if a clause in the sentence is important to the meaning of the sentence. The students quickly grasped the idea of “taking the clause out of the sentence” when the clause removed itself on the screen. The visual clues really expedited mastery of the rules.
UPDATE:Â I have corrected the Rules 7-8 video.Â Thanks for the careful eye, John!