Language Arts Warm-Ups

Seven Effective Exercises to Stimulate Learning

Young man writing English sentences on the blackboard
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Just as a physical workout needs a solid warm-up for peak performance, warm-up exercises at the start of any class prime students to begin learning. Language arts warm-ups focus on grammar and composition with quick activities to encourage the creative flow. Grab your students' attention by engaging them with a stimulating task related to the day's lesson. You can introduce it on the whiteboard or with a hard copy placed on everyone's desk, but make sure they can get started immediately upon their arrival.

Language arts warm-ups can review previously covered material or provide a preview of information to come. They should be quick, fun and designed for student success, such as the examples here.

Identifying Adverb Clauses

Adverbs modify other words, often verbs but also adjectives and other adverbs, by answering when, where and how. Adverbs may come in dependent clauses, or groups of words, making them a bit harder to identify. Welcome your language arts students to class by asking them to identify the adverb clauses in some recognizable proverbial sayings. 

Finding Indirect Objects

Indirect objects receive or benefit from the action of a verb, but they don't always jump out of a sentence the way direct objects do. Exercises in finding indirect objects get students thinking beyond the easy answers, so warming up with an activity based on indirect objects should make their brains more limber and ready to receive new information.

Uncovering Verbals

Verbs sometimes stand in as other parts of speech. Collectively called verbals, verbs in use as participles, gerunds, and infinitives may be part of a phrase that includes related modifiers, objects, and complements. Task students with identifying these undercover verbs and revealing their actual identities for a fun way to engage your grammar sleuths.

Practicing With Participles and Participial Phrases

Building on the identification of verbals, an activity designed to further highlight the role of participles and participial phrases—when verbs become adjectives—sparks recognition that things may not always be as they seem. This useful concept for many language arts topics also translates to most other academic subjects as well.

Differentiating Independent and Dependent Clauses

A first glance, independent and dependent clauses appear the same. Both contain subjects and verbs, but only independent clauses can stand alone as a sentence. Start class with this exercise to remind students that rote answers rarely work in language arts and encourage them to use their critical thinking skills.

Distinguishing Complete Sentences From Sentence Fragments

Complete sentences can contain only one word, while sentence fragments may run on for several lines of text. Get students in the mood for grammar with a fun exercise challenging them to turn fragments into full sentences with the addition of a predicate. This activity promotes the development of complete thoughts.

Remedying Run-On Sentences

Run-on sentences result from missing conjunctions or punctuation. Starting class with an exercise in correcting run-on sentences prompts students to pay attention to the details. This makes a good opener for lessons on composition and creative writing.