Ideas for Teaching Interjections

Interjections are the part of speech that people use when they hit their thumb with a hammer.
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What part of speech comes to mind when you hit your thumb with a hammer? Or spill water on your cell phone? Interjections are words that show strong emotions. They appear at the beginning of the sentence, and can be followed by a comma or exclamation point, depending on the degree of emotion shown. Teaching interjections can be easy with a few tricks of the trade.

1 Creating a Comic

Creating a comic is a good way to help students access the interjection as a part of speech. Although the interjection does not relate grammatically to other words in the sentence, students have experience seeing interjections in comic books and comic strips. Students can brainstorm a list of comic book interjections such as "bam," "pow" and "wow." Students can fold a piece of construction paper into four panels and then create a four or eight-panel comic strip using several of the interjections. These interjections generally show heightened emotions and should be punctuated with an exclamation point.

2 Wham!

Students can create two cans to play the game Wham! (See Ref 3). Students divide into groups and take turns writing interjections on individual slips of paper to put in the Wham! can. Then, students create interrogative, declarative, and imperative sentences to put in the other can. A student from team A draws a sentence, and must verbally identify the sentence type. He must sit down if he guesses wrong. Then, a person from team B needs to draw an interjection from the Wham! can and use that interjection to turn the sentence into an exclamatory sentence. If they cannot do it, they must sit down. Whoever has the most people standing at the end of the game is the winner.

3 Emotion Game

Interjections deal with emotions. You can break students into teams and have each team list 5-10 emotions on slips of paper. Shades of meaning are important here. The two teams can take turns choosing a slip of paper and creating a sentence that uses an interjection that corresponds with that emotion. For example, if the student draws the emotion upset, she might create the sentence "Ugh, I am not happy that my pet goldfish died." If the sentence features very strong emotion, the student would use an exclamation point, and if the emotion is less severe, a comma.

4 Fill in the Blanks

Students can brainstorm a list of interjections such as "aha," "oh my," "ouch" and "duh." Next, students write a vibrant paragraph that leaves blanks for the interjections. Students then pass the paper to another student and have them fill in the blanks in the same genre as Mad Libs. After reading the new stories to their partners, students can double check to make sure the sentences were punctuated correctly.

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.