Using Grammar Girl Podcasts to Start the Semester

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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.


A runner, holding a baton, at the starting line on a track


Grammar Girl podcasts can be used at any time of the semester—including at the start! During the first few weeks of class, try assigning some podcasts about different grammar topics to prepare all your students for the weeks ahead.


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.


Podcasts for the Start of the Semester

  • Pronouns and Antecedents [7:33]
  • Irregular Verbs [6:59]
  • Modal Auxiliary Verbs [9:11]
  • What Is a Subordinate Clause? [7:08]
  • Verbs Sandwiched between Singular and Plural Nouns [3:34]
  • Sentence Fragments [5:05]
  • Comma Splice [6:37]


Assignment A: During one of the first weeks of class, ask your students to rank the following sentence grammar topics in order of how confident they are in using them. Have 1 be “most confident” and 6 be “least confident.” (Alternately, ask them to write down the topic they are most confident in using and the topic they are least confident in using.) 

  • Pronouns
  • Verbs
  • Coordination and Subordination
  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Fragments
  • Run-ons and Comma Splices


Take the three most difficult topics and assign students to listen to the relevant podcasts. After, discuss the podcasts as a class.


Assignment B: If you assign the diagnostic Practice Test for Sentence Grammar in either LaunchPad or Achieve, check the class results to identify the topics where students struggled the most. Assign students to listen to the relevant podcasts--if you are assigning the Final Test for Sentence Grammar, schedule the podcasts to be due at least a few days before students take the final test. 


To learn more about Diagnostics in LaunchPad, please read “LaunchPad > View Diagnostic reports as an instructor”; to learn more about Diagnostics in Achieve, please read “Achieve > Introduction to Diagnostics for instructors.”


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