Another beginning is lesson is the parts of speech review. For some students, this is comes very naturally, others painfully slowly. For your students who do not intuitively grasp the differences between the basic parts of speech, I suggest that you give them these three "tests." Each test will help them figure out what part of speech the word is. It's simple. If the word makes sense in this phrase, then it is that part of speech. If it doesn't, then it is not.
The noun test:
I want (some/ a/ the) ____________________.
Ask students whether words like freedom, chaos, sadness are nouns. Then ask them to use the test and put them in the phrase to check if they are correct.
The adjective test:
Of course any noun works here. I like to use the noun "chinchilla" because for many years, I kept them - not in the classroom. Ask them to try out the test with colors and numbers.
The action verb test:
Can you _________________?
You need to explain that if that the verb needs to be in the present tense to make this work.
No test that I've come up with unfortunately. I find it best to explain that adverbs answer these three questions in ONE word. If you the answer is TWO words then, it is not an adverb. Of course most grammar books will list all the parts of speech that adverbs modify but I find this is not particularly clarifying when trying to figure out what an adverb is. Here are the three questions
How? (Cleverly, suddenly, happily... alot of ly)
When? (now, later never)
Where? (here, there, everywhere)
It is the last question that students will confuse with prepositional phrases. Hence, the emphasis on ONE word. "In the kitchen" for example cannot be an adverb, nor can any place name. Of course, the last question is "to what extent" but I like to lump that "How" since it's easier to remember.
These four I believe are best taught or reviewed at once. I have done more - prepositions, conjunctions, interjections etc. but I find that students tend to glaze over after a short time here. If they get the big four, you are off to a good start.
The next thing to do is an English mad-lib. To do a mad-lib, you need to know the parts of speech. One that I have used successfully after this lecture is in the drive. It only takes about 10-15 minutes. Middle school students (7-9th grade) find it hysterically funny and it's a good way to close this lesson.