March 18, 2018
by Caitlin Hardeman

Lesson plan

Shake it Up with Irregular Verbs

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Students will be able to form and use the past tense of frequently occuring irregular verbs.

(3 minutes)
  • Ask the students if they have ever felt bored at school, at home, or maybe in the summer or on vacation. Direct students to give a thumbs up or thumbs down to communicate their answers.
  • Share that sometimes when things seem easy or boring, it is time to shake it up. Today’s lesson about irregular verbs will shake things up.
  • Access prior knowledge by asking students to think about how to form a past tense verb. Remind them that -ed is added to the end of most verbs to form the past tense.
(7 minutes)
  • Share examples of changing verbs to the past tense form on the board, such as jump → jumped, call → called, and fix → fixed.
  • Explain that these are all examples of regular verbs. Regular verbs form their past tense by adding -ed. Most verbs follow these rules.
  • Connect back to the lesson introduction and explain that there are verbs that do not stick to the rules and they shake things up. 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.
  • List examples on the board, such as write → wrote, bite → bit, and run → ran. Point out that these verbs changed from present to past tense, but they do not have the -ed at the end.
  • Write a sentence on the board with an irregular verb, and model conjugating the verb to best complete the sentence. For example, "The dump truck (drive) ____ down my street this morning and woke me up."
(10 minutes)
  • Divide students into groups of three to four and instruct each individual to have a whiteboard and whiteboard marker. Give each group a baggie or envelope with index cards that have irregular present tense verbs written on them.
  • Display sentences on the board and have groups choose a verb to conjugate into the past tense to best complete the sentence. Have each student write their answer on a whiteboard to display.
  • Use the following sentences for the activity, and display them one by one:
    • I (say) ____ that we should go inside until the rain stops.
    • My mom (make) ____ the best cookies for my birthday!
    • The class (take) ____ a quiz in class this morning.
    • I never (know) ____ how much I would like sushi.
    • The team (feel) ____ disappointed when they lost the championship game.
    • The puppy (hide) ____ under the bed during the storm.
    • Have I (tell) ____ you how much I love you?
    • The birds (sit) ____ on the top of the bridge.
  • Give the class more examples if they need more practice before moving to independent practice.
  • Call on a nonvolunteer and ask, “What rules do irregular verbs follow?” Call on another nonvolunteer to ask, “How do irregular verbs shake things up?” Look for answers that include the fact that they do not follow simple rules, and that we just need to memorize them.
(8 minutes)
  • Distribute a copy of the Irregular Past-Tense Verbs: I Knew It! worksheet.
  • Instruct students to conjugate the verb from the present to past tense and write it on the line. Then, they should complete the crossword puzzle.


  • Provide a more extensive list of examples of irregular verbs for struggling learners.
  • Use a word wall with visuals and definitions to support students' vocabulary knowledge.
  • Reduce the number of questions on the worksheet and provide multiple choice options.
  • Give struggling students extra practice with irregular verbs in the Irregular Verbs 1 Exercise.


  • Give advanced learners the opportunity to research other word types that “shake it up” in the grammar world, such as irregular plural nouns. Challenge your students to use these irregular words in a short story and color code the word types. Remind them to make a key so that the color coding makes sense to the reader!
(5 minutes)
  • Have students take out a colored pencil or pen to check their work. Call on nonvolunteers to go over the answers of the Irregular Verbs: I Knew It! worksheet. Collect the worksheets to serve as a formative assessment.
  • Give each student a sticky note for the Exit Ticket. Instruct students to write a sentence with one of the following irregular verbs in past tense: meet, tell, run, hid, pay, sit. Remind them to circle the irregular verb in the sentence. Then, have them put the sticky note on a poster or on the board for review.
(2 minutes)
  • Read some of the sticky note sentences from the Exit Ticket.
  • Direct students to look at how each of the irregular verbs are spelled in their present tense form and then in their past tense form.
  • Remind learners that we must memorize irregular verbs since they shake things up, and do not follow the rules at all!

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