Using Grammar Girl Podcasts to Think about Revision

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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.


With the end of the semester comes the submissions of final projects. But no piece of writing is ever truly final! Use this assignment to encourage students to reflect on how they might revise and improve their finished works from this semester.

Podcasts are well-established, 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 encourage student engagement and introduce multimodality.  

LaunchPad and Achieve products include 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.


Using Grammar Girl Podcasts to Think about Revision

Pre-Class Work for Assignment: Choose 3 areas in which you felt your students struggled in their writing during the semester. Assign podcasts that you feel represent those areas for your students, and have your students listen to them before class. 

Then, ask your students to choose 1 or more pieces of writing from the semester. The work should either:

  • Exhibit one or more of the areas of challenge you’ve identified
  • Exhibit success in one or more of the areas of challenge you’ve identified

Alternatively, if you are using the folder “Grammar Girl: 25 Suggested Podcasts,” you might ask your students to review the list of suggested podcasts and identify one or more that they feel exhibits a challenge or challenges they had in their paper.

Tip: See “Add Grammar Girl and shared English content to your course” and “Create an Assessment” for help with making Grammar Girl podcasts available to students in your Achieve course. In Achieve, Grammar Girl podcasts are organized into one of the following categories: Academic Reading, Writing, and Speaking; Adjectives and Adverbs; Apostrophes; Capitalization; Commas; Grammar for Multilingual Writers; Grammar, Clarity, and Style; Other Punctuation; Parts of Speech and Parts of Sentences; Pronouns; Quotation Marks; Spelling; Subject-Verb Agreement and Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement; Verbs; Word Choice; Word Usage. 

Assignment: Ask students to write 1-2 paragraphs reflecting on how the errors do (or do not) manifest in their writing. Students should address the following questions:

  • Which of these areas, if any, do I see myself struggling with in my writing?
  • Which of these areas did I not struggle with?
  • What other challenges did I have in my writing? What successes?
  • What tips from the podcasts can I implement in my writing going forward?

Advanced Assignment: Ask each student to revise their essay or piece of writing. The revisions should address any errors and areas that would benefit from clarification, but students should also feel free to revise any portion of their work. 

Tip: If you are using an Achieve English course, consider creating a custom Writing Assignment that students can use to submit their revisions. Students can upload their original essay for revision. If the writing being revised was already submitted in Achieve, students can download that work from the other assignment and upload it to the new one for the revision. Refer to the article “Guide to Writing assignments for instructors” for help with Writing Assignments.

Looking for other end-of-semester ideas? Check out “Using Grammar Girl Podcasts to Reflect on Writing & Accomplishments.”

As you begin to think about the next semester, be sure to check out our other Grammar Girl assignment ideas. You can access previous posts from the Bedford Bits home page or by visiting “30+ Grammar Girl Assignments for Your Next Class” on the Quick and Dirty Tips website (these assignments are based on the blog posts, and six of them include downloadable PDFs!).


Did you use Grammar Girl—or any other podcasts—in your classes this semester? Let us know in the comments!


Credit: "Revision" by raindog is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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