Battle Grammatica: Reveling in Grammar

Battle Grammatica: Reveling in Grammar

by Marty WynnBG Gameboard

In a world that seems to be more and more reduced to sound bite communication or 140 character tweets, one would wonder if the need for proper grammar is becoming extinct.  Should sentence structure, punctuation, spelling, and grammatical rules matter today?  Maybe we need to go back to the beginning of creation to answer that.

God created language in the first place, a language so complete that Adam could name all the animals before Eve was even created.  God created language because He wanted to communicate with us and enjoy relationship.  Grammar proved invaluable as people scattered over the earth and man went from one language to multiple spoken and written languages.  The discipline of grammar gave written and spoken languages structure so people could effectively communicate with one another. Compiling grammatical rules gained importance over time because of evangelism and Bible translation.  Learning correct grammar today gives us the tools needed to fashion words into powerful communication. Thankfully, the teaching of grammar is alive and well at Grace Classical Academy, due in part to the game Battle Grammatica.

Battle Grammatica is now a copyrighted board game created by Mrs. Esther Vandiver some 25 years ago when she was homeschooling her children.  Mrs. Vandiver’s kids needed to learn grammar, and she wanted it to be fun.  Battle Grammatica is played at GCA to help students learn the rules of grammar and have fun in the process.  During the second semester of each school year, 4th-7th grade compete in Battle Grammatica and winners are recognized for their accomplishments.

There are eighty-six grammar definitions used in the Battle Grammatica game and two goals each player needs to keep in mind while playing the game—the first is to make personal points, and the second is to help the total of all the players’ points be more than the points of the enemy in the game, the Slothful Knight.  The players are earning points to defend the castle by defining categories of grammar and grammatical terms.  The Prideful Prison, Dungeon of Despair, Spoils of Battle, and the Choose Your Battle Field keep the game interesting for students.  The game is played for a set time period and can be played at a beginner or advanced level. If the Slothful Knight makes more points than all theplayers’ points combined, the castle is lost.  If the players’ combined scores are
more than the Slothful Knight’s score, the castle is saved; and, the player having the most points is dubbed The Diligent Knight and gets ten extra credit points to apply toward his or her grammar grade.  If The Diligent Knight has a higher score than the Slothful Knight, all the players must have worked diligently, and each player then receives the number of points he or she has earned in the game as extra credit.

Students and classes must have a firm grasp of the definitions, parts of speech and rules of grammar to play the game and win.  The game is demanding and one would be hard pressed to find many adults, including English majors, who could play the game well.

The Slothful Knight in Battle Grammatica wants to destroy the joy and unity of the people.  He will encourage the people to 1) exchange a rich, clear, colorful language for a dull, impoverished one; 2) lose all love of the beautiful, noble and the true; and 3) be slothful in their attempts to communicate, losing their ability to be precise and effective. May the Slothful Knight be defeated at GCA!