GrammarFlip.com presents grammar and usage lessons along with a composition component through online lessons. Lessons are presented at three levels. Level 1 is for students in about third through fifth grade or for older students who need review. Lessons at this level cover the basic parts of speech, punctuation, and capitalization. Also covered are more difficult usage topics such as personal pronouns and their antecedents, the use of hyphens, and when to use quotation marks or italics. Level 2 targets grades six through eight but can be used by high schoolers who need review. Some examples of Level 2 topics are objective case pronouns, appositive phrases, semicolons, dependent and subordinate clauses, active and passive voices, and adverbs modifying adjectives. Level 3 is for high school level, although some younger students will be ready to address challenging topics covered at this level. Among Level 3 topics are objective complements, reflexive pronouns, dangling participles, proper usage of who and whom, gerunds, and gerund phrases. Every student has access to all three levels.
GrammarFlip automates the parts of language arts instruction that can be handled completely by the program. Grammar, usage, and sentence construction are taught incrementally through lessons that follow a predictable format: a diagnostic assessment, video instruction, three practice exercise sets, and a post-evaluation. All assessments and exercises have ten questions each, and all of the assessments and exercises are immediately and automatically scored.
Students are supposed to begin with the diagnostic assessment. Although the program doesn’t suggest it, parents or teachers might want to view a student’s assessment score and consider skipping lessons on topics they appear to have mastered. On the other hand, if a parent or teacher knows that a student knows nothing on the topic to be covered in a lesson, the diagnostic assessment might be skipped rather than discourage a student with unanswerable questions.
Following the diagnostic assessment (assuming you used it), students watch a video instructional segment. These videos vary in length from about two to eight minutes. The presentations show grammar concepts and information against colored backgrounds with voiceover instruction. A slide show highlighting key points from the video is available in a separate window, and students can review it as needed.
Three exercise sets have students practice the concept they have just learned. The style for questions is either multiple choice or fill in the blank. The same style is used for all questions for each concept, and the post-evaluation is presented in the same style as the exercises. These lessons help students learn and apply concepts, but only one concept at a time—students know exactly what they are to look for. Nevertheless, the exercises are suitably challenging.
A writing application that follows each set of exercises challenges students to apply the concept within their own writing. Unlike the parts of each lesson I've already described, writing applications vary in format and don't have predictable answers. They are given specific instructions for each writing assignment, and students write within the program rather than on paper. For example, the writing application for lesson 1.12 reads:
Think of your favorite music groups or some of your favorite book, movie, or TV characters. Let them be the antecedents in a variety of sentences where you use the appropriate pronoun. Go for a mix of pronouns (both singular and plural pronouns); don’t just use the same one over and over. Note: It may be difficult to include the antecedent and its pronoun in the same sentence; it’s okay to put them in separate sentences. Underline your pronoun and boldface its antecedent.
The assignment for lesson 3.04 requires students to write individual sentences rather than a topical paragraph:
At this point, you can recognize and write prepositional phrases. But do you know how they function? Write five different sentences in which you include a prepositional phrase functioning as an adjective phrase. Underline the word that the adjective phrase describes. Remember, an adjective phrase should describe a noun or pronoun.
These writing assignments are an excellent way to assess whether or not a student has grasped grammar and usage concepts well enough to apply them. Because student responses will vary widely, it is up to the parent or teacher to evaluate them.
Students need to save their work, and the instructor is then able to view it from the “writing portals” in the teacher's program. While it is not possible to mark up the student’s work, the instructor can write notes to the student and can click on a plus or minus button to indicate whether or not the writing assignment was satisfactory. Students can access what they have already written and make changes.
Precise requirements for writing assignments make it easier for teachers or parents to evaluate student work if students are held accountable for only those requirements. However, a parent or teacher with time available can require student accountability for all grammar, usage, and sentence construction concepts that have been taught thus far. Since there are no answer keys for the writing assignments, it is up to the parent or teacher as to how strict to be with their evaluations. The effectiveness of the writing application assignments will depend heavily on how the parent or teacher chooses to use them. Since GrammarFlip.com writing assignments are designed to reinforce correct grammar and usage rather than to teach composition skills, students need additional instruction in composition skills beyond what is included in this program.
Students earn virtual badges as they complete lessons. Progress is recorded, and parents or teachers can easily view student progress and scores on individual activities, except for the writing assignments.
There are 30, 32, and 24 lessons in Levels 1, 2, and 3, respectively. If students complete about one lesson per week, they will still have time in their schedule for other language arts work on vocabulary, spelling, composition, etc. The largest amount of time will likely be required for the writing assignments, but other lesson components are likely to take no more than 15 minutes per day.
For a fun way to review or quiz students, try the Kahoot game that is linked within GrammarFlip. (This Kahoot support article explains how to set up the game.) The teacher presents questions orally, using the questions that are available for each lesson, and students can enter answers on their own devices. This should be especially fun if you have more than one student working on the same lessons.
You can try GrammarFlip.com for free for a 30-day trial period.
GrammarFlip.com has come up with a very workable solution for language arts instruction that takes advantage of the computer for the grammar and usage components of language arts that can be automated. Then the writing assignments do an excellent job of reinforcing those lessons while also providing an opportunity for students to do some writing at least once a week.