Lesson plan

Irregular Verbs in Context

Irregular verbs do not follow the same rules as other verbs. Use this lesson to teach your scholars how to form the past tense of irregular verbs and correctly use them in context.
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Students will be able to form and use the past tense of frequently occurring irregular verbs.

(3 minutes)
  • Give each student a sticky note. Instruct them to write down any verb in the present tense. Note that some students may need a refresher about verb tenses.
  • Direct students to change the verb to its past tense.
  • Have students look at their verb and think about the process for changing it from present to past tense. Without further teaching and reviewing, prompt students to categorize the verb as either regular or irregular.
  • Invite students to place their sticky note in a labeled section of the wall, door, or board based on the categorization on which they decided.
(7 minutes)
  • Go over some of the verbs on the sticky notes, and remind the class that most verbs can be changed to the past tense by adding -ed at the end.
  • Share examples of changing verbs to the past tense form on the board, such as walk → walked, look → looked, and paint → painted. Explain that these are all examples of regular verbs. Regular verbs form their past tense by adding -d or -ed. Most verbs follow these rules.
  • Tell students that today’s grammar lesson will be about how to form the past tense of verbs that do not follow that simple rule. Share that irregular verbs are verbs that do not form their past tense by adding -ed. Irregular verbs change when they move from present to past tense.
  • Give examples of irregular verbs, such as hear → heard, meet → met, and read → read. Emphasize that none of these verbs has the -ed at the end, but they all changed in some way. The first two examples changed spelling, while the third example changed in the way the word is said.
  • Model completing a sentence with the irregular verb in its past tense. For example, "I (speak) ____ to my grandma on the phone over the weekend."
(10 minutes)
  • Divide the class into two teams for the Irregular Verbs Relay Race. Give each team one whiteboard and a marker.
  • Explain that the game will be played by having a representative from each team come up to the front of the room with the whiteboard and marker. An irregular verb will be written on the board in its present tense. The representative must write the irregular verb in its past tense on the whiteboard and show it to the teacher. Each team that displays a correct answer gets a point. The winning team will be the one with the most points at the end of the game. All teammates will have a piece of paper, and after each verb is conjugated, they will use the irregular past tense verb in a sentence.
  • Use verbs such as say, make, hide, go, take, come, tell, see, know, get, give, find, sit.
  • Call on nonvolunteers to share how they used the irregular past tense verb forms in sentences.
(10 minutes)
  • Pass out a blank sheet of paper to each student and have them number the paper, skipping lines, from one to five.
  • Display a list of irregular verbs (think, tell, leave, feel, sit) and explain to students that they will write a sentence with each irregular verb in the past tense. Instruct them to circle the irregular verb in each sentence.


  • Provide a word bank for students during the independent practice.
  • Use sentence frames during the independent practice for reluctant writers. For example, "The dog (think) ____ he was going for a walk." and "My mom (tell) ____ me to clean my room."
  • Give struggling students extra practice with irregular verbs in the Irregular Verbs 1 Exercise.


  • Challenge advanced students to write a cohesive paragraph with the five irregular verbs instead of separate sentences. Encourage them to elaborate, using additional irregular verbs.
(4 minutes)
  • Put students into A-B partnerships and instruct them to share two of their favorite sentences with each other. Circulate and monitor, gauging whether students mastered the objective of correctly using the past tense of irregular verbs in sentences.
  • Give each student an index card for the Exit Ticket. Display the following paragraph frame and instruct learners to fill in the blanks. Note: They do not need to copy the whole sentence and should only write their answers on the index card. Number the blanks so student answers on the index card are in order.
    • Yesterday, my brother and I (go) ____ to the park after school. We (see) ____ our cousin on the swings, so we (say) ____ hello. We (sit) ____ there talking and (lose) ____ track of time. We (was) ____ late getting home and our mom was worried.
(1 minute)
  • Have the class choral read the Exit Ticket paragraph frame and write the correct answers in the blanks in the process. Clarify any confusion, as needed.
  • Remind students that irregular verbs do not follow any set rules, so they have to be practiced, used, and memorized.

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