Using Grammar Girl Podcasts for Fun, Low-Stakes Activities

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This blog series is written by Julia Domenicucci, an editor at Macmillan Learning, in conjunction with Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl.



There’s never a bad time to use Grammar Girl podcasts in your classes, and they can be especially fun early on in the semester. Since fall 2020 is proving to be one of the most unusual semesters for both instructors and students, today we have some low-stakes assignments using thought-provoking Grammar Girl podcasts.

Podcasts have been around for a while, but their popularity seems to increase every day—and for good reason! They are engaging and creative, and they cover every topic imaginable. They are also great for the classroom: you can use them to maintain student engagement, accommodate different learning styles, and introduce multimodality. 

LaunchPad and Achieve products include collections of assignable, ad-free Grammar Girl podcasts, which you can use to support your lessons. You can assign one (or all!) of these suggested podcasts for students to listen to before class. Each podcast also comes with a complete transcript, which is perfect for students who aren’t audio learners or otherwise prefer to read the content. To learn more about digital products and purchasing options, please visit Macmillan's English catalog or speak with your sales representative. 

If you are using LaunchPad, refer to the unit “Grammar Girl Podcasts” for instructions on assigning podcasts. You can also find the same information on the support page "Assign Grammar Girl Podcasts."

If you are using Achieve, you can find information on assigning Grammar Girl in Achieve on the support page "Add Grammar Girl and shared English content to your course." If your English Achieve product is copyright year 2021 or later, you are able to use a folder of suggested Grammar Girl podcasts in your course; please see “Using Suggested Grammar Girl Podcasts in Achieve for English Products” for more information.


Exploring Early Language with Grammar Girl

  • The Proto-Indo-European Language

Assignment: Assign students to listen to the podcast. Ask them to note one thing they learn, and one question or something they would like to learn more about.

If you have synchronous classes: Put students into small groups and ask them to discuss their findings. Then, ask them to choose one group member’s question and research it. Later, come together as a group and present the findings.

If you have asynchronous classes: Put students into small groups and ask them to use Google Docs or another system to discuss their notes. Then, ask them to choose one group member’s question and research it. Have each group create a short lecture slide presentation of 3-5 slides that can be emailed out to the class. It should include the group members’ names, the question they were exploring, their discoveries or conclusions, and their sources.


Exploring Marketing Language with Grammar Girl

  • Is "I'm Loving It" Proper Grammar?

Assignment: Assign students to listen to the podcast. Ask each student to choose their own favorite brand slogan, jingle, or catch phrase. Before class, each student should analyze their choice and write a short paragraph about if their selection has a grammar error or not, and why.

As a class, have students present on their choice and if it is grammatical or not, and why. Record the brands, the slogans, and if the slogans are grammatical in a spreadsheet. Then, discuss your findings. Do most of the slogans use proper grammar or not? Are there any trends in what industries the slogans are from, or who the audience for the slogans is?

If your class is too big to do this together, break the students into groups of three to five.


Exploring Grammar Myths with Grammar Girl

  • Top Ten Grammar Myths

Assignment: Assign students to listen to the podcast. Ask students to write down which myths they thought were true, and which they already knew were false. 

As a class, have students vote on which myths they had thought were true. Then, discuss the top ranking myth or two. Where have students seen this myth used? Have they ever seen anyone correct another person for using this myth? Where did they first hear this was a myth?


More Grammar Girl Activities

If you are looking for other activities, be sure to check out the other Grammar Girl posts, especially:

Using Grammar Girl Podcasts to Start the Semester

Using Grammar Girl Podcasts in an Online Classroom

Grammar Girl & Ideas for Teaching Online


Credit: Pixabay Image 3653430 by geralt, used under a Pixaby License