Middle school students need to learn the lessons of grammar so they can become proficient writers and thinkers. A direct object is a noun or pronoun that receives the action in a sentence where an action verb is present. Understanding direct objects fundamentally creates stronger action-oriented writing. Utilizing a little creativity can make grammar lessons fun for middle school students.
Cloze activities feature any piece of writing from an anthology or a novel. Students receive a paper with the novel excerpt that has several blanks for action verbs and direct objects. Students fill in the blanks and try to guess the original word exactly. Another variation would be that the students could also write their own silly stories, leaving blanks for their classmates to fill in. Students read stories aloud at the end of class.
Dramatize Direct Objects
Students write sentences containing an action verb and direct object such as "Sarah dropped the book" or "Mike touches his toes." Students then stand up and act out the sentences. Since direct objects only occur with action verbs, acting out direct objects in the space physically is a strong sensory way to learn.
Draw Direct Objects
Students receive a blank sheet of paper and instructions to fold it into four boxes. Students then draw a scene in each box depicting a sentence with an action verb and something receiving the action. For instance, drawing the sentence "Spider Man spun his web" would feature the character in the act of making his web. Students can cater their sentences to their abilities of writing and drawing. For example, "Marty planted a flower" would be easy to draw.
Direct Object Basketball
The class is split into two teams and each student receives a note card. Students are required to write a sentence on the card, featuring a strong action verb and a direct object receiving the action. The cards are piled in the middle of the room and teams take turns choosing a sentence and finding the direct object in front of the class. If a student finds the direct object, he gets to take a shot, using a desktop ball and hoop or a ball made of tape and garbage can. Students continue shooting until they miss.
Kathryne Bradesca has been a writing teacher for more than 15 years. She has also contributed to newspapers and magazines such as "The Morning Journal" and "The Ignatius Quarterly." Bradesca received a master's degree in teaching from Kent State University.