Bring Grammar to Life with Pearson Modular Grammar Powered by Nearpod

Christina Cavage
By Christina Cavage

We are constantly seeking out ways to engage our students, especially during these unprecedented times. Whether your students are sitting in the classroom with you, or joining your class remotely, you are probably contemplating how you can increase learner activity and engagement. Teaching grammar in an interactive, hands-on manner has consistently been a challenge for many of us.

How can we make it come alive?

How can we get students to move beyond the drill and kill type of approach many have grown accustomed to?

How can we appeal to today’s learners who are often more connected to their mobile devices than they are to the classroom? 

Well, if you have been following along, you are probably pretty aware of what Pearson Modular Grammar Course Powered by Nearpod is, and what a powerful tool it can be. It not only presents grammar in an interactive, engaging manner, but appeals to today’s learners by delivering instruction to them via their mobile devices…hands on learning for today’s learners.

Pearson Modular Grammar Course Powered by Nearpod

Pearson Modular Grammar Course Powered by Nearpod is a library of lessons on the most critical grammar structures. It includes instruction and engaging practices, allowing you to fill in the gaps in your grammar instruction. But, what makes it so engaging? Well, the platform, built by Nearpod, includes several exercise types that serve as great practices, assessments and engagement tools. Let’s take a look at some of these exercises.

Collaborate! activity
Collaborate! Activity

First, we have the Collaborate! activity. This is a collaboration board that allows students to ‘post’ their ideas for everyone to see. These types of tasks are great for assessing background knowledge, starting a discussion, checking what students know, and reviewing homework. Students can read one another’s posts, and even like one another’s posts.

Matching
Matching Activity

Another great activity type is Matching. With the matching activity, students can match pictures to text and text to text. This exercise is great for matching sentence halves, questions and answers, and vocabulary terms.

Draw It Activity

Next, we have Draw It! Draw Its allow students to interact with content. They can do so by drawing with their finger, perhaps circling, underlining, or even writing. Different colors can be chosen, and students even have the option to type rather than use their finger. Draw Its are great for getting students to notice the grammar. Asking them to identify structures, or functions in context can help them see the grammar come alive while interacting with it directly. As the teacher, you can see how each student interacted with the grammar. This can be a great resource for conferencing with students.

Video
Interactive Video

One of the most engaging tools is the Interactive Video. The interactive video allows students to receive a video lesson, and during that short micro-lesson, there are quick checkpoints to assess a student’s understanding. Open-ended or multiple choice questions can be asked throughout the video. Having students watch short videos to learn, and then having checkpoints can really do a lot to get students engaged in the lesson being presented.

There are several other great activities as well: polls, open-ended questions, quizzes and races, like the Time to Climb, and those are highlighted below. As you can see, there is a lot to the Pearson Modular Grammar Course Powered by Nearpod. It can supplement your instruction, and make grammar truly come to life by engaging students in a wide variety of ways.

Exercise Type What it is How it is used for engagement?
Collaboration Board Allows all users to post their ideas; like others’ ideas; text or images Engage on-site and distance students; hear others’ ideas; social learning
Draw It Students can underline, circle, draw, write or type Engage with content, interact with content
Polls Quick checks of thoughts, ideas or formative assessment; can be timed Allows everyone to see what others are thinking
Open-Ended Question Allows students to write multiple sentences; can be timed Share writing; ideas; review homework
Matching Match pictures to text, text to text; can be timed Ideal for vocabulary, sentence halves, question and answers
Fill in the Blanks Sentence completion, vocabulary or grammar in context; can be timed Great for application of new skills
Time to Climb Students ‘race’ one another; ideal for formative assessment or review; can be timed Gamification; competition
Quizzes Multiple choice for formative and summative assessment Assess in a fun, interactive way
Interactive Video Video with checkpoints to assess microlearning Keep students engaged in learning new content

To learn more about the Pearson Modular Grammar Course Powered by Nearpod, visit pearsoneltusa.com/nearpod. We also encourage you to watch the recorded webinars with Christina Cavage to learn more about this great program. You can view our webinars here.

Extend Your Grammar Instruction with Pearson Modular Grammar Course Powered by Nearpod

Christina Cavage
By Christina Cavage

What a year it’s been! We are entering a new academic year during unprecedented times. If you are like me, you are looking for ways to deeper engage your learners whether they are sitting in the classroom with you, seeing you via Zoom, or participating in your asynchronous online environment. If we have learned anything this year, we have learned that we have to revisit how we present content, and how students interact with content.  That’s where the Pearson Modular Grammar Course Powered by Nearpod comes in.

What is Pearson Modular Grammar Course Powered by Nearpod

First, let’s review what exactly it is. Pearson Modular Grammar Course Powered by Nearpod is a library of lessons on the most critical grammar structures. It includes instruction and engaging practices. The idea behind the delivering it via the Nearpod platform is that it allows you fill in the gaps in grammar teaching in an engaging yet pedagogically sound manner. You can supplement your teaching, whether it be listening, speaking, or writing with these supplemental grammar lessons. However, the greatest thing about this platform is that it allows you, the teacher, to reorganize a lesson, modify a lesson, delete content from a lesson, and even add content and activities to the lessons. Thus, it is truly customizable. In essence, lessons and content can be tailored to your courses’, program’s or students’ needs.

Once you add a lesson to your library, it is yours to modify. You can reorder slides or delete slides you do not need.

Let’s say you want to modify. You can modify existing content by changing questions, adding images, or even altering quiz questions.

Watch this short video to see how you can easily modify content.

By doing so, you can be sure to cover the student learning outcomes (SLOs) in our course. I also often change the names of people to reflect the students in my class! Or, consider modifying by changing the location of places used, or the images. One of my favorite things about the Pearson Modular Grammar Course Powered by Nearpod is the ability to add your own content and your own activities. There are several options when adding content. Here is a Nearpod’s list.

List of Nearpod activities

There are some great options included in this list. A few of my favorites include Video, Flocabulary Video, Field Trip and Slideshow. If you showed a PowerPoint in class, you can create a slideshow of it, and embed it in your lesson. If you want to engage your students in a particular theme or place, add a Field Trip. These field trips take you to the moon, and around the world. The Flocabulary Video is a great way for students to have video storyboards and share with one another. And, then video. The video option is wonderful because you can add your own created video, or you can search on YouTube and find a video there. In either case, you can embed questions within the video. So, students watch a piece of the video, and then are presented with either an open-ended question or a multiple-choice question. This is a great engagement tool, as well as an excellent way to formatively assess your students.

Lastly, you can also add your own activities. There are several types of activities you can add. You can add collaborative discussion boards, polls, matching, open-ended questions and more. In the end, Pearson Modular Grammar Course Powered by Nearpod provides curated content built on sound pedagogy that can be altered to meet your needs.

Watch this short video to see how you can easily add your own content to the course.

Let’s be honest, no one understands the needs of your program, your course and especially your students more than you!

Ready to give the Pearson Modular Grammar Course Powered by Nearpod a spin? Find out more information at nearpod.com/pearson or contact your dedicated ELT Sales Specialist for a demo at pearsoneltusa.com/reps.

The Value of Repetition

Stacy Hagen
By Stacy Hagen

As teachers, we are trained to focus on activities that are communicative and task-based. Grammar practice, particularly at the sentence level, often brings associations of rote drills and repetition. However, Zoltan Dornyei (2009) points out that communicative language teaching is based on learning by doing and does not look at how people actually learn. Some second language researchers have turned to cognitive science to look at what is happening in the adult brain as we learn, and findings related to memory and skill acquisition have important implications for how we practice the skills.

This article explains the value of repetition in the grammar class.

For a long time, we were taught that repetition was a bad word.  This goes back to the audio-lingual era of drill and kill.  But research from cognitive science tells us that repetition has value. 

First, brain scans show that repetition causes the brain to physically change.  New connections are formed between neurons (think of neurons as information messengers).  And the connections between neurons are thicker, stronger, and more hard-wired.

This helps students retain and solidify what they have learned.  Without a lot of repetition or review, students are less likely to recall what they have learned. 

The trick is to make repetition interesting.  I’m sure you know all these techniques for repetition:

role play

drama techniques

story-telling

pairworks

strip stories

songs/chants

Let me show you another technique to make repetition interesting:  4/3/2.  It works well for the re-telling of a story or an event.   In this exercise from the new edition of the Fundamentals of English Grammar, there are two fables.  Half the class has story A and half the class has story B.

Give students time to learn their story well enough to retell it.  Partner A then tells Partner B the story in 4 minutes.  Next, Partner A tells another student the same story in 3 minutes.  Finally, Partner A has 2 minutes to tell a final person.

Often during the first telling, students voices are very low and the language is halting.  The second time it’s better, but by the third time, the class can become very animated.  It’s a wonderful way to work in repetition and encourage fluency at the same time.

References:

Nation, I.S.P & Jonathan Newton. 2008. Teaching ESL/EFL Listening and Speaking. New York: Routhledge.


Stacy Hagen is a teacher, a teacher trainer, and the co-author of the best-selling Azar-Hagen Grammar Series. The most recent edition of Fundamentals of English Grammar is now available. pearsoneltusa.com/azar

Cover of Fundamentals of English Grammar 5E

Grammar on the Go and Beyond!: Pearson Modular Grammar Powered By Nearpod

By Christina Cavage

Today we are challenged in ways we have never been before. We are preparing to deliver classes both online and face-to-face. In our online classes, we are constantly seeking out tools that are accessible to our students as well as looking for ways to do those quick, formative checks in a digital environment. While in our face-to-face classes, we are often seeking out ways to deeper engage the iGeneration, and make lessons more appealing, yet just as effective. To complicate matters even more, costly texts often do not address all our student learning outcomes, leaving us to seek out additional materials.  These challenges can be overcome. The Pearson Modular Grammar Course Powered by Nearpod was developed to meet and address these challenges. So, what exactly is it?

What is the Pearson Modular Grammar Course Powered by Nearpod?

Pearson Modular Grammar Powered by Nearpod is a library of grammar lessons built on Nearpod’s student engagement platform. Teachers can select the lessons they want to deliver in their classroom by adding them to their library. Once in your library, you can customize the lesson. By adding, deleting, or modifying the content you can give your students a truly tailored learning experience.

The Pearson Modular Grammar Course Powered by Nearpod is organized by units. Within a unit there are several lessons. For example, the present time. This unit is organized around the theme of ‘Here and Now.’ There are four lessons within the unit, and every unit opens up with a section opener, and ends with a section closer. Take a look at the graphic below.

Structure of a unit

Once again, any of the content can be added to, or modified to meet the needs of your learners.

Activities and tasks are engaging. They include Collaborate!, a collaborative discussion board, matching, fill-ins, polls, open-ended tasks, draw-it activities, games, and more.  In summary, the flexibility and adaptability make the Pearson Grammar Modular Course Powered by Nearpod an excellent tool to supplement your current instruction, both in a face-to-face class and online.

Collaborate! board

You can learn more here.

To experience the Pearson Modular Grammar Course Powered by Nearpod yourself, contact your sales specialist and ask for a demo. Find your rep here.

Reducing Cognitive Load

Stacy Hagen
By Stacy Hagen

As teachers, we are trained to focus on activities that are communicative and task-based. Grammar practice, particularly at the sentence level, often brings associations of rote drills and repetition. However, Zoltan Dornyei (2009) points out that communicative language teaching is based on learning by doing and does not look at how people actually learn. Some second language researchers have turned to cognitive science to look at what is happening in the adult brain as we learn, and findings related to memory and skill acquisition have important implications for how we practice the skills.

This article discusses the concept of cognitive load.

Our working memory (think of this as our immediate memory) has capacity limits.  Basically, we can’t handle as much information as had previously been believed.  New research on learning tells us that students benefit if we can reduce the cognitive load.

Scientist used to think that 5-7 chunks* of information could be held in our working memory.  But new research tells us that two to four chunks are more realistic.  The implication for teachers is that we need to break our explanations into more manageable chunks for our students. In practical terms, one of the things we can do is to introduce less information at one time.  You’ll see this in the fifth edition of the Azar-Hagen Grammar Series.  Long charts have been broken up into smaller ones.  Here’s an example from the Fundamentals of English Grammar, Fifth Edition:

example of a grammar chart with information in manageable chunks

Previously, this introduction to articles was in a two-page chart.  Now there are two new charts, and we have simplified the explanations.  We also use pictures to illustrate the concept of specific and non-specific. This is more manageable and user-friendly for students.

As you will see in the new editions of the Fundamentals of English Grammar and Understanding and Using English Grammar, the presentation of material in the grammar charts helps reduce the cognitive load. Breaking down explanations and exercises into shorter pieces or sub-tasks helps reduce the working memory load, allowing learners to absorb material better.

*A chunk is a single unit.  Think of a phone number.  There are 10 digits or 10 unrelated numbers.  But we can group phone numbers into 3 chunks to make it easier to remember.

References:

Dornyei, Zoltan. 2009. The Psychology of Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Stacy Hagen is a teacher, a teacher trainer, and the co-author of the best-selling Azar-Hagen Grammar Series. The most recent edition of Fundamentals of English Grammar is now available. pearsoneltusa.com/azar