On the first visit to the school, we brought several sheet metal boards with word magnets stuck to them. Each board had one line from the lyrics of three different songs, so there were three lines total. Each word was its own magnet. There were also bigger magnets each listing a part of speech, such as “verb,” “noun,” or “adjective.”
With the songs playing on a computer in the background, the students would drag the words magnets to the appropriate part of speech. To help them out, the students were given “cheat sheets” describing what each part of speech meant.
This exercise was a huge success. The students appeared to enjoy physically moving magnets around on a board, and several students sang the relevant songs the entire time they were doing the exercise. Perhaps the most important thing we learned from this visit was that most of the students struggled with organizing the words into the correct parts of speech. In almost every session, the students relied on the cheat sheet and outside assistance. Going forward, we decided that we needed to incorporate a way for the kids to learn the parts of speech within whatever device we ended up creating. In other words, the purpose of our learning tool is not simply to test the kids’ knowledge of the parts of speech; it is to teach them the parts of speech while they play our game.