As an English teacher, I struggle to find ways to engage my hands-on learners. It is so much easier to be the demonstrator, lecturer teacher.
Yesterday, I had a smidgen of success. Students had pre-tested on Phrases and Clauses. The results showed that most of them didn't understand the difference. (The ones who did went to the library with an extended exercise that I will explain some other time.)
For the ones who didn't understand, we went through a review of the definitions together. Then we reviewed verbs and subjects to make sure that wasn't the issue. (For many of them, that really was the problem.) I wrote words on the board. Together we identified subjects and verbs and then labeled the groups Phrase or Clause.
I wrote ten groups of words on the board, and they tested themselves by labeling them at their seats. Finally, I divided the class in half and sent them to the board. I called out Phrase or Clause, and they had to write an example not previously used. The remaining students determined whether they were right or wrong and helped them fix errors. Then everyone switched places.
This wasn't very creative or innovative. Students have been at the board for many, many years. On the other hand, one student said he hadn't understood them until he had to write his own. (Thus proving once more that teaching grammar in isolation isn't very wise.)
When we finished, the students took the post test and 90% of them reached mastery at the 80-100% level.
My question is, have any English teachers out there developed manipulatives or other hands-on activities for secondary students? I have found a few ideas, but not many. I am particularly interested in ideas for teaching language usage and sentence development. Any and all ideas would be welcome!