Verbs, adjectives, suffixes, adverbs - requirement to teach in KS1

(61 Posts)
ipadquietly Fri 20-Sep-13 19:33:07

Some of my class are so verbally challenged many of them can't string a sentence together orally. Next year they will need to deconstruct a sentence using technical vocab, and recognise suffixes, prefixes, etc.

Does anyone else who teaches KS1 think this is absolutely mindbogglingly ridiculous and unnecessary?

pozzled Fri 20-Sep-13 19:48:20

I'm afraid I disagree. Although I'm a KS2 teacher so perhaps I don't count! I felt that my Y6s last year really benefited from using the correct terminology.

I know it's hard when children are behind where they should be, but the majority of 6-7 year olds can learn the word 'adjective' just as easily as 'describing word'. And when teaching spelling patterns for things like plurals/-ing/-ed etc it makes sense to refer to suffixes.

ipadquietly Fri 20-Sep-13 19:58:43

I love literacy with a passion and it's my mission to improve the vocabulary of the children! Any ambitious vocab is celebrated and seen as a power word that makes a story more powerful and effective. It really doesn't matter at the age of six whether 'crept' instead of 'walked' is using a more powerful verb, or that 'massive' instead of 'big' is using a more powerful adjective. Little children, who have been speaking for 3-4 years haven't got the linguistic frames of reference for these abstract words!

juniper9 Fri 20-Sep-13 20:09:45

I teach year 3, and we already introduce prefixes and suffixes. The children's targets use terms such as subordinating connectives and adverbial phrases.

They seem to get on OK with it.

souperb Fri 20-Sep-13 20:12:14

But don't they already learn specialist vocabulary in phonics? Such as diagraph, phoneme, grapheme etc. I wouldn't have thought it much more difficult to learn adjective (instead of "describing word") and I really, really dislike verbs being called "doing words" (so inaccurate!).

I think children will learn any term you give them (like the horrible "connective" that has fallen out of the sky in recent years). But I think understanding parts of speech is useful and not out of the reach of mostchildren unless adults "decide" it is too hard for them.

mrz Fri 20-Sep-13 20:13:05

I'm a Y1 teacher and my school started using correct terminology from nursery about a year ago and the children love it. We use the Pie Corbett progression doc

ShowOfHands Fri 20-Sep-13 20:14:00

DD is in Y2 and she has no problem with any of what you describe. You seem to be very negative about your students.

mrz Fri 20-Sep-13 20:15:08

We don't teach the terms "grapheme or phoneme" in phonics

pozzled Fri 20-Sep-13 20:19:43

I didn't mean to imply that you weren't doing those things- I'm sure you do them all well.

Two years ago I would have agreed with you completely that the children don't need to know the grammatical words, and I did find it quite daunting when the SPaG test came in. But I can honestly say I found it really helped my teaching, and the children's understanding. Especially some of the EAL children who couldn't always tell when they'd used a word incorrectly.

HalfSpamHalfBrisket Fri 20-Sep-13 20:28:42

I did linguistics at university and found it incredibly hard to do systematic analysis of sentences as I did not know the correct terms for the parts. I regularly got trounced by international students at my own language. (70s child, comprehensive, little formal grammar was taught.)
I think explicit teaching of grammar using the correct terminology is great. Understanding language structure may even help with other languages.

ipadquietly Fri 20-Sep-13 20:35:26

I'm going to give up this job. I wonder how many of your pupils would be able to tell you exactly what a verb or an adjective is. From nursery...

I really really am not negative about my class. At all.

I just question the need for knowing this terminology at six.

mrz Fri 20-Sep-13 20:49:37

Perhaps you missed where I said we use a progression ipadquietly?
In nursery they learn their name is a proper noun and needs a capital letter...

mrz Fri 20-Sep-13 20:53:20

and yes they could tell you that because it is relevant and age appropriate

WidowWadman Fri 20-Sep-13 21:03:11

What's wrong with being taught the right terminology from the start? Surely, it's the concept that is taught that's new to the child, so teaching it with its proper name from the start can't make it any more difficult?

EasyFromNowOn Fri 20-Sep-13 21:06:28

My ds's y4 teacher asked me last year why his grammar homework frequently had bits translated into French. I had to explain that I didn't know what the various parts of the sentences they were identifying were in English, because it was never taught at school (80s English primary). All the proper grammar instruction I've ever had has been in a foreign language, and I have to think it in French and then translate it back in to English.

eddiemairswife Fri 20-Sep-13 21:34:57

I suppose it depends on your intake. In the school, where I was teaching, over 90% of the children's home language was not English. So much of the time in KS1 would be trying to enrich their spoken vocabulary. Even in years 5 and 6 I had pupils who did not know common words such as 'lucky' and 'snowdrop'. I remember reading a book to a Y6 class which contained the phrase 'full of beans'. The only child who knew what it meant was the one boy whose home language was English. I remember when I was taught nouns, verbs, adjectives; it was the year we took the 11+. I think we sometimes try to teach children to run before they can walk.

AbbyR1973 Fri 20-Sep-13 21:55:53

As a parent I agree that there is no reason that correct terminology couldn't be used. I suppose at a simplistic level it's like that annoying thing where people insist on calling trains "choo-choos" and cows " moo-moos" to babies and toddlers. Very young children are quite capable of understanding complex words and language if exposed to it in everyday life, after all that's how babies learn to speak.
On the other hand I wouldn't want stories to be deconstructed in a technical way for DS's to the extent that they lose the enjoyment of the story itself.

chantico Fri 20-Sep-13 22:03:13

It's neither ridiculous, not unnecessary, to use the ordinary, simple terms (such as ones cited in OP) to describe how language works.

I just asked DS, and he remembers learning all those terms (and quite a few more) in Reception and Year 1.

WidowWadman Fri 20-Sep-13 22:03:47

Why would a random idiom such as "full of beans" (which I first came across at the ripe old age of 25, when I moved to the UK) be something which a child should grasp earlier or find easier than a word such as "verb" or "noun" or "adjective"?

It's really irrelevant whether you call a verb "verb", "doing word" or [insertwhatevername], it's just a name for a concept. If the kid can understand the concept, then it's ok to give the concept its correct name.

ipadquietly Fri 20-Sep-13 22:08:55

but if the kid can't?

WidowWadman Fri 20-Sep-13 22:22:19

if the kid can't what? Do you suggest they shouldn't learn about word classes altogether until a later stage? Understanding the building blocks of sentences surely would help them stringing them together? What should they learn before starting on different types of words?

I'm not a teacher, so can only go by my own experience of learning - and by what my child is learning.

gintastic Fri 20-Sep-13 22:39:22

My DD is in Yr 1, and her homework this week was to identify the temporal connectives from a list of phrases.

I was a bit taken aback, but she is totally at ease with the terminology...

Not that I had to google what a temporal connective was or anything...

ipadquietly Fri 20-Sep-13 22:40:38

It didn't work in the literacy strategy. My child had no clue what the parts of a sentence were until he was old enough to deconstruct the sentences - in Y5-7 or so.

10 years later the same old thing is introduced. It doesn't work. 6 year olds do not have the frames of reference for all these abstract concepts. I don't know how anyone who works with a 6 year old can say they 'understand' them, apart from spouting the learned definitions.

steppemum Fri 20-Sep-13 22:57:28

I think it is all a bit OTT at 6, but on the other hand, my Y1 dd was reading to me yesterday and said 'that is a connective mummy' pointing to the word and. She then went on to find all the other connectives on the page.

But she is in the top group, and having helped out in her class, I know most (maybe 2/3) couldn't.

I didn't do grammar as a kid, so I do want mine to know it, but think it is pretty unrealistic to expect all this to be the norm at Y1

Tiggles Sat 21-Sep-13 07:55:10

I guess it depends slightly why they are verbally challenged. If it is a lack of being spoken to then hopefully by the end of a year in school their oracy skills will be greatly improved. If they have specific language impairments maybe more awkward.
I have always been surprised how easily mine have picked up concepts in grammar that we didn't learn until around year 5/6 sometimes even in secondary school. Last year when DS2 was in Y1 and DS3 was in nursery, DS3 said something and DS2 said "That's aliteration" they both then spent the next hour or so finding 'aliterating' sentences. They happily natter about split digraphs etc when they are working on phonics etc.

Elibean Sat 21-Sep-13 15:17:52

I have a degree in English Literature (a good one) and have no idea what suffixes, prefixes etc are blush

I 'know' grammar. I just don't know what the terms are. So I shall look forward to my Y2 dd2 teaching me (no one taught dd1 when she was in KS1 - or since, afaik).

I have to google most of these terms and I had an A at GCSE for Eng Lang plus an Alevel in Eng Lit blush

DD is in yr 2 now and has already been encouraged at school to use more interesting words

Elibean Sat 21-Sep-13 15:58:38

And although both of mine (6 and 9) are bright and doing well at a good school, I have to admit I grin at the notion of them happily nattering about split digraphs! Perhaps mine are weird, but they never chat about grammar in their spare time smile

But on a more serious note, I can't help thinking that the more language/literacy challenged amongst their peers, though probably quite capable of learning the correct term for a concept, would benefit more from time spent just helping them learn a wider vocabulary and, actually, just talking or listening to correct grammar first. I know, in theory, they can do both - but in practice, the curriculum seems to be increasingly packed.

ipadquietly Sat 21-Sep-13 17:53:24

So, I asked my Y2 class at the beginning of the year what a simile is, because I know they were introduced to them in Y1. There was much humming and hahhing. Most couldn't remember, and then we had a murmur of 'bubbly bath' and 'yellow yoyos', because they'd remembered alliteration.

An older child would be able to relate the word 'simile' to 'similar', and therefore have a frame of reference for the jargon. In the same way, an older child will be able to relate verbs to adverbs.

I think, in infant school we should be providing children with a broad vocabulary (powerful verbs, adjectives and adverbs), which children will (hopefully) use in their speech and written work. I see no need to classify these words at such a young age.

mrz Sat 21-Sep-13 18:47:08

"I think, in infant school we should be providing children with a broad vocabulary (powerful verbs, adjectives and adverbs)"

so why not say "that's a great adjective /adverb" or "that's a powerful verb"

ipadquietly Sat 21-Sep-13 21:57:04

What is the point of using the jargon if children don't have a clear concept of what a sentence is? Again, we are asking them to run before they can walk, as in so many areas of literacy. Why not just concentrate on developing language skills?

WidowWadman Sat 21-Sep-13 22:03:35

How should children get what the concept of a sentence is without being taught it?

This thread baffles me somehow. Maybe it's a UK thing though - I remember having been taught grammar pretty much from the start when growing up in Germany.

amistillsexy Sat 21-Sep-13 22:05:47

Why not just get on with teaching them things, instead of moaning that they don't already know it confused

ClayDavis Sat 21-Sep-13 22:16:21

I don't know if it is a UK wide thing, Widow. It seems to vary from school to school. I was taught it at school and I have taught it to KS1. Equally, I know lots of people my age who weren't taught it and schools where it doesn't seem to be taught now.

ipadquietly Sat 21-Sep-13 23:19:35

As everyone on this thread seems to be able to teach children of 6 to parse sentences, I think I will retire gracefully - from the thread and from the job.

RobotHamster Sat 21-Sep-13 23:22:56

I think its brilliant. DS is like a sponge and has been learning about adjectives this week. I was never taught any of this at school and still don't know what nouns and verbs are. He knows what a grapheme is (i dont) - he can cope with this.

simpson Sun 22-Sep-13 00:45:00

DD has been learning at school this week about verbs (although has known for a while).

She knows about alliteration (thanks Horrid Henry) because she has an older brother, ditto similies.

I guess things need to be repeated again and again, DD (yr1) has also been learning about time connectives (was her homework this week) which DS went over last year when in yr3 (now yr4).

mrz Sun 22-Sep-13 06:16:51

The very word sentence may be a grammar term you should introduce in reception/nursery ipadquietly and then they can learn the term and the concept.

Many of our pupils arrive with little language (unless you count point and grunt and whine) so we prioritise Speaking & Listening including developing vocabulary and grammar.

CecilyP Sun 22-Sep-13 08:02:11

I guess things need to be repeated again and again, DD (yr1) has also been learning about time connectives (was her homework this week) which DS went over last year when in yr3 (now yr4).

If they have to go over it again and again, it including in Y3, it suggests that they didn't really get it in KS1 as per ipad's post. Please don't retire, ipad - unless you want to for other reasons.

mrz Sun 22-Sep-13 08:33:21

It's called progression, they introduce the concept very simply at first then develop it year on year. A time connective? in Y1 might be next, then or when but in later years meanwhile, consequently, subsequently, initially, eventually etc. and I would hope they would stop calling them time connectives

Retropear Sun 22-Sep-13 08:36:02

I kind of have mixed views on this.

I used to call them describing,doing words etc in ks1 blush and yes to be honest concentrating on spelling,punctuation and confidence in writing was kind of enough imvho.

Also my dc are now in 5 and 4 and started doing the things mentioned in the op properly in year 3.I have to say they pick it up very quickly as it's hardly rocket science. I think they could leave it until year 3 to be frank but it needs to be covered then,leaving it until 5 &6 is too late. Pace is sometimes an issue in our school(they seem to have been doing prefixes and suffixes for aaaaaaages) so there is a danger they could run out of time if left until key stage 2.

But then my 3 are quite literate,not sure what is best for the less able tbh.Must be a nightmare already getting spelling,punctuation and content licked by year 2 if you struggle.

meditrina Sun 22-Sep-13 09:07:00

I suppose it ones don to whether you see grammar as abstract and 'difficult' and therefore inherently unsuitable for young children. Or whether you see it as a way of talking about language, using straightforward terms that children can absorb easily, alongside all the other proper terms they learn at school.

It's really not a difficult thing, though I suppose teachers who were not taught it themselves (in the 1970s and a few decades after) might struggle themselves. That is not however because grammar is not suitable for small children, nor because it can be taught iteratively, but because it was simply omitted as dull and hard.

OP may however be in quite a different situation - she says many in her class cannot even string a sentence together out loud. Now, these pupil need to learn how to produce a more standard version of the language. Teaching them they need a subject and a verb, and then giving them more options from there (ie a grammar based intervention) is a way ahead, long before they are able to read.

Retropear Sun 22-Sep-13 09:31:57

I also think a lot of it is used far more in ks2 so easier to teach ie checking pronouns in editing,drawing in more adjectives etc.

I guess the question is when is better to teach ie when will it go in more quickly.

Also if you push too much with some younger children you can put them off writing at all.Which is better less beautifully constructed writing or more less technically correct?

I feel for kids as amazing content with varied language smilies,metaphores etc is expected too.

I love creative writing myself but take my hat off to these young kids- a lot is expected of them.

ipadquietly Sun 22-Sep-13 10:05:18

mrz We do talk about what a sentence is, and expand and improve sentences in KS1. We do lots of work with questions, and how to answer using a full sentence. We cover time connectives (because it tells you about the time something is happening) and connectives (because they connect) - both easy for a 6/7 year old to relate to and learn to use. Adverbs will be covered by answering questions using 'how?'. Powerful verbs are collected through drama and children are encouraged to use them. Lots of work is done with adjectives.

My dispute is that most children will be unable to understand the words 'verbs, adjectives and adverbs' because they have no frames of reference for the words.

Also, I really don't see how knowing the word 'verb' is going to improve a 6 year old's literacy.

mrz Sun 22-Sep-13 10:09:08

but at the level of a 6 year old they learn by reference ...that is a really good verb you used in your sentence X ... please read it out to the class ...can anyone tell me the great verb X used?

CecilyP Sun 22-Sep-13 10:48:29

Is it just me:, am I the only one who is profoundly glad that no teacher told me that I used a really good verb in a sentence when I was 6-years-old? Come to think of it no-one told me I used a really good verb in any sentence throughout my school career.

mrz, are there any good verbs in the post above?

simpson Sun 22-Sep-13 10:49:17

DD's (5) year 1 homework this week was to write a few (I forget how many) sentences about doing chores around the house and underline the verb.

It seemed quite straight forward to me.

mrz Sun 22-Sep-13 12:28:50

I'm obviously older than you CecilyP because I was taught Grammar from reception and told I had used an interesting verb or an exciting adverb in my writing and loved it!
We used First Aid in English every day and worked through the exercises

and sorry but no your verbs are very ordinary wink

mrz Sun 22-Sep-13 12:30:29

I actually purchased Mr Gwynne's Grammar for nostalgia

ClayDavis Sun 22-Sep-13 13:02:58

We worked through Hayden Richard's Junior English everyday. I'm not sure I can get quite so nostalgic about that.

mrz Sun 22-Sep-13 13:37:04

Dare I confess my school has never stopped using Hayden Richards hmm

ClayDavis Sun 22-Sep-13 13:57:02

I can't see any reason for stopping using it. It's good at what it does. I used Jolly Grammar in KS1. They've brought out a 3rd one but I'm not sure how effective it would be in year 3. I'd want something with a bit more practice I think.

CecilyP Sun 22-Sep-13 14:28:40

I'm obviously older than you CecilyP

I doubt that, mrz.

^because I was taught Grammar from reception and told I had used an interesting verb or an exciting adverb in my writing and loved it!
We used First Aid in English every day and worked through the exercises^

You must have been very advanced, mrz, as I was still on the first Janet and John book after my one and only term in reception. I had never heard of a verb till first year juniors, or an adverb till about 3rd year.

and sorry but no your verbs are very ordinary

How disappointing - though I am sure they were perfectly adequate for saying what I wanted to say.

mrz Sun 22-Sep-13 15:41:01

Adequate like Ofsted satisfactory is no longer good Cecily wink

You could at least have tried informed or ^ notified^ or apprised or proclaimed or revealed for one of the told grin

mrz Sun 22-Sep-13 15:43:50

We also chanted continents and oceans and learnt poetry by heart

CecilyP Sun 22-Sep-13 15:52:07

But I wasn't angling for a place in pseud's corner. We also learned poetry by heart, but chanting continents and oceans, no! I thought that was a pre-WW2 teaching method.

mrz Sun 22-Sep-13 15:57:51

Not in the school I attended ...every afternoon the map was pulled down (it was on a roller like a blind) and the headteacher pointed to each as the children chanted the names ...we also had desks with dippy inkwells and pens ...told you I was old wink

ClayDavis Sun 22-Sep-13 16:29:50

Shh. You'll upset all those people that think Gove is being unrealistic in expecting children to know the names of the continents and oceans by the end of KS1.

We learnt poetry and had desks with inkwells but I don't think we chanted the names of the continents. I'm 31. Although to be fair, my school was stuck far more in the 1880s than the 1980s. I think it still has rules about who is allowed to tether their horse to the school fence.

WidowWadman Mon 23-Sep-13 19:39:39

Ah well, my daughter who started reception just about 3 weeks ago came home tonight to proudly explain to me what an alliteration is. Doesn't seem to have her done any harm.

PastSellByDate Tue 24-Sep-13 10:06:56

Hi ipadquietly:

A very long time ago - so long ago dinosaur's roamed the earth - in America on Saturday mornings during commercial breaks a government funded scheme payed for short animations about vocabulary.

Spellings may be slightly different in some areas - but these are catchy tunes and oddly enough once you see these they kind of stick. So yes it is possible for very young children (this was aimed at primary school kids ages 7 - 9) to get this.


conjunctions (connectives):







There may be more but that's a good start. My DDs both find these funny & it seems to have helped them 'get' the concept.


PastSellByDate Tue 24-Sep-13 10:07:53

sorry ipad - not sure why I typed vocabulary and not grammar - I think I will go get my coffee now.

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