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A Game to Practice Grammar by Cynthia Carbone Ward 

Most students think that grammar is about as exciting as a trip to the Dentist's chair. In an attempt to generate a little more enthusiasm, I devised a game called Grammaroo, which the kids enjoy immensely. It requires first that you prepare a stack of index cards with grammar questions on the front and answers on the back, and a few cards upon which you simply write one of the eight parts of speech.

Questions for the index cards are endless. You may ask students to state the simple subject or predicate of a sentence, choose the phrase in which a pronoun does not agree with its antecedent, write the correct past tense of an irregular verb, select the object of a verb or preposition, or any of a multitude of possibilities. Introduce the game by reading the following:

In the land of Grammaroo, the beautiful shining castle of Correctly-Used-Language rises above the mist. The castle has been under attack for many years by hordes of barbarians, and will soon crumble into the sea if no one helps. It is up to you to save it!

Your mission is to bring the supplies, weapons, skill, and knowledge which will restore the castle to its former glory. The route is a treacherous one, but Grammaroo will fall into a Dark Age if its language is not preserved.

Players first divide into two competing armies. Each army starts out with 50 points. 

Armies move forward by correctly answering the questions on the cards that each player draws.

Every correctly answered question yields 10 points. Some questions also carry potential penalties, which means that if they are incorrectly answered, points may be taken away. 

When a player draws a PARTS of SPEECH card, he or she keeps that card but draws another card as well. (If yet another bonus PARTS of SPEECH card is drawn, the player keeps drawing until a regular question card comes up.)

When an army believes it has enough PARTS of SPEECH to form a complete sentence, the players from that army hold up the parts of speech, demonstrating how these can be arranged to form a correct and complete sentence. This is called a coup, and yields an instant 100 points. 

The first team to score 250 points has reached the castle and saved the language. But be on guard: the losing team has joined the barbarians and will live to fight another day!


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