Review: English Grammar Teaching Method

I am having an interesting experience using English Grammar Teaching Method by English on a Roll.

I received the Instructor's Manual and 1 Cube Set to use with my family.

The Instructor's Manual has detailed instructions for how to use the program--so detailed that it even suggests hand motions to use as the instructor follows the script to visually and kinesthetically reinforce what is being taught.

Because of the level of detail, and because this program is quite different from any other that I have used, I am still at the bottom of the learning curve 6 weeks into using English Grammar Teaching Method.

However, I am not discouraged.

For one, my kids cheer whenever I get the cubes out.

And if I forget to get the cubes out (we've been using them during lunch, when I have the kids all at the table and willing to engage in anything new), they remind me to get them.

At lunch, I have anywhere from 8-12 kids gathered around the table (sometimes the teens are at work or play elsewhere).  I've targeted my teaching to the under-10 set of kids, so we've taken things slowly.

For example, the first lesson introduces 1 cube containing the subject pronouns--both singular and plural.  We took 5 days to explore that single cube.  Loosely following the scripted plan, I introduced each subject pronoun one at a time (the exception being "you" because it is both singular and plural) giving the kids lots of practice with the terms "subject pronoun," "singular," and "plural."

As directed by the Instructor's Manual, we did lots of pointing and looking, and on our own, we were inspired to make up sentences using the terms.

We did the same with the second cube and second lesson.

The kids loved the fact that the cubes have different colored type on them.  That caught their attention!  And the color coding makes it much easier for me to find the cubes we need each day than it would be if they were all the same.  It also reinforces the various grammatical categories.

Nature Angel works on Lesson 4.

Included in the kit are 2 blank cubes and a set of blank label stickers for customizing lessons.

The cubes have a nice heft and feel in our hands, and the very fact that there is something to manipulate is a clear draw for my crew.

All of us have noticed that getting the first cube out of the box each day is a minor struggle for us.  There's not enough room for us to get our fingers into the box and around that first cube, but after that, there's no problem.

So far, the plastic storage box has proven sturdy and up to the task of keeping the cubes safely contained between lessons--in spite of small people being very drawn to trying to get the box off the shelf and into their own possession for exploratory purposes.

Part of each lesson is a worksheet.  I have a lot of pre-readers/writers, so instead of copying and passing the worksheets around (permission to do so is granted in the copyright), we've gone through the exercises orally.  The kids like it when I show hold up the book and show them the pages, though, because sometimes there are funny line drawing illustrations.

Nature Angel (age 10) says, "I like making the sentences, and they teach you a lot about grammar."

Ladybug (age 6) says, "I like doing the words.  I like the cubes."

When shown the cubes, Lola (age 2) says, "I like that one."

I quite like the Instructor's Manual.  It is very detailed, and I am not comfortable leading a lesson without it yet (I am not even close to being able to lead a lesson as demonstrated in this video), but it is still approachable and user-friendly.  I feel hopeful that in another 6 weeks or so, I'll be more confident in teaching with it.

Because I do plan to keep using it.  As I stated earlier, even though getting comfortable with this program is taking longer than usual, it feels worth the effort.

Brother watches Little Princess have a turn . . . and waits for his own chance to handle the cubes.

Because waiting for turns has been frustrating, I'm going to drop using it with my littles, but in the new school year, I'll be using it with my 4 teens during our Symposium time.  We'll move faster than we can with the littles, and it will be nice to get grammar done all together.

There's also the possibility of using the cubes for spelling/reading games one-on-one with my emerging readers.

Because they do love to get their hands on the cubes!

Brother (age 5) says, "I like the cubes.  I like learning letters."

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  1. Great review! I had a note in my box (it was a tiny piece of paper) saying that the trick to getting the cubes out easily was to flip the box upside down and open them on the lid. We found that much easier then trying to pull the cubes out of the box.

  2. I've never heard of this product. It looks like a great learning tool.


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