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30+ Grammar Girl Assignments for Your Next Class

Many teachers and homeschoolers are already using Grammar Girl materials in class. These free assignments will help you get started.

By
Mignon Fogarty
6-minute read
The Quick And Dirty

We've gathered more than 30 assignments for your high school and college students. Use these suggested podcasts, discussion questions, and writing assignments to add fun and variety to your English classes.

 

Almost every month, Macmillan Learning editors create a new lesson plan on their Bedford Bits blog for high school and college English teachers who want to use the Grammar Girl podcast in class. They’ve amassed an impressive collection, which we are pleased to highlight below. 

The assignments are best used with Macmillan’s online learning platforms, LaunchPad and Achieve, because they give you access to ad-free podcasts and transcripts, but you can also use them with the publicly available, free Grammar Girl podcasts (available on our website and at Spotify and Apple Podcasts). 

Pick an assignment and get started, and let us know how it goes.

Table of Contents

English Basics

Apostrophes
Quotation Marks
Commas
Pronouns: Singular 'They'
Pronouns: Less Common Usage
Verb Tense
Prepositions
Prefixes
Grammar Myths
Sentence Variety

Usage

Commonly Confused Words
Idioms
British English Versus American English

Creative Writing

Figures of Speech
Slang

Other (A hodgepodge of interesting topics. Jump down to browse them all.)

English Basics

Apostrophes

Two Assignments: 

1. Suggested questions for a short reflection piece on four apostrophe podcasts and articles. (Grammar Girl episodes 260, 361, 712, 713)

Get the lesson plan. [Printable PDF]

2. Suggestions for discussing the difference between the four apostrophe topics and the difference between learning from the audio versus the text versions. (Grammar Girl episodes 260, 361, 712, 713)

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Quotation Marks

Two Assignments: 

1. Suggestions for ways students can write their own podcast script about quotation marks and reflections on what they’d need to consider to do so. (Grammar Girl episodes 264, 395, 587, 740)

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2. Suggestions for students to record the scripts for the class and to share and discuss them. (Grammar Girl episodes 264, 395, 587, 740)

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Commas

Two Assignments: 

1. Suggestions for writing or discussion topics after students engage with five podcasts or articles about commas, focusing mainly on the experience of learning through audio compared to learning through text. (Grammar Girl episode 415)

Get the lesson plan. [Printable PDF]

2. Suggestions for having students compare the information about the different ways of using commas. (Grammar Girl episodes 157, 256, 356, 415, 432)

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Pronouns: Singular 'They'

Two Assignments: 

1. Suggestions for pronoun topics students can research themselves after listening to the pronoun podcast or reading the article. (Grammar Girl episode 563)

Get the lesson plan. [Printable PDF]

2. Suggestions for tying the assignment to International Pronoun Day (the third Wednesday in October) and potential class discussion topics. (Grammar Girl episode 563)

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Pronouns: Less Common Usage

Two Assignments: 

1. Suggestions for writing or discussion topics after students engage with four podcasts or articles about pronouns such as “yo,” “whom,” the singular “they,” and pronouns for animals. (Grammar Girl episode 091, 200, 350, 563)

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2. Suggestions for topics students could research about the history of different pronouns in the English language. (Grammar Girl episode 091, 200, 350, 563) 

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Verb Tense

One Assignment: Suggestions for evaluating how a recent book students have read handles verb tense. (Grammar Girl episodes 334, 363) 

Get the lesson plan. [Printable PDF]

Prepositions

Three Assignments: 

1. Have students evaluate the debate about ending a sentence with a preposition.

2. Have students listen to the podcast about why prepositions sometimes seem to have no literal meanings and then reflect on both the content of the podcast and the experience of receiving this information from a podcast.

3. Have the students listen to two different podcasts about prepositions and then compare the information from the two sources. (Grammar Girl episodes 416, 533, 564, 800) 

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Prefixes

One Assignment: Have students discuss the words “misinformation” and “disinformation” and then listen to the Grammar Girl podcast on this topic. Discuss the two different prefixes and how they are used differently. Have students write down other words that use these two prefixes in the same way. (Grammar Girl episode 614)

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Exploring Grammar Myths

One Assignment: A fun, low-stakes assignment in which students listen to the Grammar Girl podcast about the top 10 grammar myths and write about which ones they disagree with, which ones they already knew, and which ones surprised them. (Grammar Girl episode 610)

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Sentence Variety

One Assignment: A fun, low-stakes assignment in which students listen to the Grammar Girl podcast about sentence length and then write sentences of varying length on a silly topic using short, medium, and long sentences. As a class, discuss which sentences were most effective, interesting, or confusing. (Grammar Girl episode 104)

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Usage

Commonly Confused Words

Two Assignments: 

1. Listen to a suggested podcast about commonly confused words (such as “affect” and “effect” or “less” and “fewer”), and have students reflect on what makes these words so easy to confuse and strategize ways to avoid confusing them. (Grammar Girl episodes 453, 457, 516, 524, 579, 581)

Get the lesson plan. [Printable PDF]

2. Have students identify a word they’ve recently used incorrectly and write a short paragraph about how they used it, what they should have used instead, and how they will choose the correct word in the future. (Grammar Girl episodes 453, 457, 516, 524, 579, 581)

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Idioms

Two Assignments:

1. Have students listen to five suggested podcasts covering English idioms, and then brainstorm their own ideas for a podcast that discusses other idioms. The discussion focuses on the idioms themselves.

2. Have students listen to five suggested podcasts covering English idioms, and then brainstorm their own ideas for a podcast that discusses other idioms. The discussion focuses on the research, resources, and structure they will need to create a podcast. (Grammar Girl episodes 359, 585, 591, 592)

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British English Versus American English

One Assignment: Have students listen to three Grammar Girl podcasts that compare the two forms of English and take notes on their thoughts. Discuss their thoughts and what they already knew and what surprised them. (Grammar Girl episodes 177, 587, 671)

Get the lesson plan. [Printable PDF]

Creative Writing

Figures of Speech

One Assignment: Suggestions for identifying figures of speech in a recent book students have read or rewriting a paragraph to include a figure of speech. (Grammar Girl episode 352)

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Slang

One Assignment: Suggestions for discussing if or how students use slang in their own writing and the role slang can play in fantastical work. (Grammar Girl episode 113)

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Other

Writing Scripts and Speeches

Three Assignments: 

1. A beginning listening and discussion assignment using a podcast with advice on writing scripts and speeches. (Grammar Girl episode 718)

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2. Suggestions for creating short presentations based on relevant Grammar Girl podcasts or creating short presentations on school-related topics that may interest students. (Grammar Girl episode 718)

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3. Have students identify a recent accomplishment and listen to the podcast about writing scripts and speeches. Have them write a podcast episode about their accomplishment. (Grammar Girl episodes 104, 182, 718)

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Reflecting on Writing

One Assignment: Have students pick a past piece of work and identify one of their problem writing areas. Assign a relevant Grammar Girl podcast (suggestions included) and have students listen and then evaluate a more recent piece of their own work. Students then write a reflection piece on how much they’ve improved and what they still have to learn. (Podcast episodes vary based on the students’ specific problems.)

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Exploring Early Language

One Assignment: A fun, low-stakes assignment in which students listen to the Grammar Girl podcast about the Proto-Indo-European language, come up with questions based on their listening, and research one of those questions and present the answer to the class or their group. (Grammar Girl episode 593)

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Exploring Marketing Language

One Assignment: A fun, low-stakes assignment in which students listen to the Grammar Girl podcast about the McDonald’s slogan “I’m loving it” and then choose their own favorite slogan and write a paragraph about whether it has a grammar error or not. (Grammar Girl episode 206)

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Understanding Evidence

One Assignment: Have students discuss the words “misinformation” and “disinformation” and then listen to the Grammar Girl podcast on this topic. Discuss the two types of inaccurate information and whether students have encountered them recently. Then listen to the podcast about the idiom “to have the receipts” and discuss this newer usage of “receipts” and how it overlaps and is also different from academic sourcing. (Grammar Girl episodes 614, 615)

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How to Write an Apology

One Assignment: Have students listen to the podcast about how to write an apology and then write a fictional apology to a roommate for walking on the carpet with muddy shoes. Have students critique each other’s apologies, being on the lookout for the “nopology,” “unpology,” and “fauxpology.” (Grammar Girl episode 590)

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Introducing Style Guides

One Assignment: Have students listen to the Grammar Girl podcast on style guides and then discuss which style guides students have used, the different purposes of each style guide, and which style guide they should use for this class. Students may also pick a style guide and give a short presentation on its key features and intended audience. (Grammar Girl episode 364)

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Remixing a Podcast into Another Format

One Assignment: Have students listen to one of the longer Grammar Girl podcasts on an advanced topic. In class, discuss the topic(s) and consider the intended audience, sources, examples used, and so on. Have students brainstorm how to present the same information in a different format such as a slide deck, poem, song, photograph, and so on. (Podcast episodes vary.)

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If you love these resources, check the Bedford Bits blog to find the newest Grammar Girl assignments.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.

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