assorted notepads

Learning grammar with the Sticky-Notes-Method

Last year, in an article in the series “Learning vocabulary the right way”, we explained how to learn new vocabulary quickly and successfully with the help of notepads. Today we want to show you how you can also learn grammar with the help of the little colorful sticky notes.

Tip 1: practice irregular verbs with sticky notes

If you are learning a language that has irregular verbs, the sticky notes are a great way to learn these verbs quickly and effectively.

Write down the different forms of the irregular verbs on the sticky notes. Use one sticky note per verb form. On the back of the sticky note, write the German translation of the verb form.

We would now like to show you this exercise with a very concrete example: If you are currently practicing the irregular verbs in English, you will certainly learn the forms go – went – gone and do – did – done. Now write them down on six pieces of paper. On the back write down the German translations.

Now stick these notes in a place where you often pass by. It is important that you stick the notes in a mixed way. Every time you pass by, sort the slips of paper into the correct order (do – did – done etc.). Now read this order aloud and also pronounce the German translations aloud.

The next time you come by here, get the slips of paper mixed up again.

Try to add a new set of verbs every other day. Verb forms that you are sure of, you take off the wall. But you can collect these sticky notes to repeat them later.

Tip 2: Learn grammar rules with sticky notes
If you are in the process of learning important grammar rules of a language, we also have a good tip for you: Write down a rule you want to remember on a notepad, briefly, concisely, and with your own wording. It is important that you do not, under any circumstances, simply copy this rule from your textbook. You will only be able to remember it if you have understood it and can formulate it yourself.

On a second sticky note, write down an example sentence for this rule. Choose a sentence that you think sums up the rule particularly well and that you can remember.

Do the same with other rules. Now stick the mnemonic sentences and the example sentences mixed up in one place. The next time you come by here, it is your task to assign the appropriate example to each mnemonic sentence.

The mnemonic sentence and example that go together should then always be read aloud. This way you will be able to remember both faster.

Tip 3: Learn inflection patterns of verbs with notes
You can also use this learning method when learning inflection patterns of verbs, for example. To do this, write down a conjugated verb. Each verb form is written on a separate piece of paper.

As an example, we would like to give you an example of the inflection of Portuguese verbs on -ar. Suppose you are just learning this inflection pattern in the present tense (the present). Now write the six forms (with the translations on the back) on six sticky notes.

Your notes will look like this: eu ando (I go) – tu andas (you go) – ele/ela anda (he/she goes) – nós andamos (we go) – vós andais (you go) – eles/elas andam (they go)

Stick on these pieces of paper again in a colorful way. When you pass this place again, put the pieces of paper back in the right order.

If you now also add the other tenses (the future, the past, the forms of the subjunctive, etc.) and keep sorting them correctly, you will have a challenging and meaningful exercise!

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