Lesson plan

Juggling Verb Tense

Verbs are the only kind of word that have tenses. Some of them are standard and easy to learn, while others are irregular and tricky. This lesson will review verb tense changes that follow the regular pattern and those oddballs that don't.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to identify past, present, and future tenses of regular and irregular verbs.

(5 minutes)
  • Explain that you are going to do an ad-lib word game, like an abbreviated version of Mad Libs. You have a sentence in mind, and students will provide the verb for that sentence without knowing what the sentence is.
  • Have students write their verbs on a piece of paper and share them with a partner or small group.
  • Now read the sentence aloud and call on students to say their word when you come to the blank. Tell them they MUST use the exact word as it is written on the paper, even if it doesn’t make sense.
  • Use sentences like the following, recognizing that most students will use the present tense:
    • Tomorrow I _________ on my way to school.
    • When I was in kindergarden I _________ every day. *
(10 minutes)
  • Now ask students how you could change the game so that the sentences make sense. Students will suggest that they modify the verb to fit the tense of the sentence.
  • This time, read the sentence, have students convert their verbs to the correct tense, and have them fill in the blanks again. Do this with both sentences — and keep playing if you’re having fun!
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute the worksheet Those Oddballs: Irregular Verb Tense.
  • Review the instructions together and complete the activity as a shared learning experience.
  • Take class suggestions when completing the activity chart, explaining the answers students don’t know.
(15 minutes)
  • Have students complete the activity, writing a sentence for each irregular verb.
  • Support: Distribute the Life Changes worksheet. Work with students to review the verb tense rules of regular verbs.

  • Enrichment: Have students create their own Mad Libs with mostly verbs missing, and covering a variety of tenses. Let students lead the class in finishing their Mad Libs.
(5 minutes)
  • Have students create a T-chart on the back of their papers. Tell them to write five verbs in the left side and the past tense of those verbs on the right side. Have students trade with a peer to review. Discuss any questions.
(5 minutes)
  • Discuss: Why is it that no other words change between past, present, and future tense? Explain that verbs are action words, meaning we need time signifiers, as opposed to nouns, articles, adjectives, and adverbs, which remain the same in past, present, and future.

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