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Teaching Grammar: verbals


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Teaching grammar can be tough! Whether you are a novice teacher or are looking for fresh approaches, this presentation will give you tips and tricks for teaching verbals: infinitives, gerunds, and participles. Watch this grammar lesson plan alone or with your English department.

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Teaching Grammar: verbals

  1. 1. Background Teaching verbals - infinitive, participle, gerund - enables students to: ● punctuate phrases correctly. ● add variety to their sentences. ● understand dictionary terms.
  2. 2. Prior Knowledge Students will need to: ● recognize subjects and verbs. ● recognize nouns and their “jobs.” ● recognize adjectives and the words they modify. ● recognize adverbs and the words they modify.
  3. 3. Review Before introducing verbals, I find it best to review parts of a sentence: ● subject/ verb ● direct object/ indirect object ● predicate noun/ predicate adjective ● object of the preposition As we review parts of a sentence, students and I recognize nouns, adjectives, and adverbs together as well. This further emphasizes that our language is connected!
  4. 4. Introduce Verbals Verbals look like verbs, but they do not function as verbs. To introduce the concept, I do this: I ask students to give me a verb. Let’s say someone gives me “run.” Then I write this: Mason loves to run. Running, Mason is out of breath. Running is wonderful exercise for Mason.
  5. 5. Introduce Verbals, continued Then I ask students if they have ever written these types of sentences before. (They have, of course). They have all written verbals. Then I identify the verbals in the sentences. Mason loves to run. (infinitive) Running, Mason is out of breath. (participle) Running is wonderful exercise for Mason. (gerund)
  6. 6. Order of Introduction I have introduced verbals all at once, and all of them separately. I have started with gerunds, thinking that students can find words that end in -ing. I have started with participles, thinking that students understand adjectives. I have the best luck starting with infinitives because they are so easy to recognize. This gives students confidence in understanding verbals. Feel free to start with what works best in your experience. In the following slides, I cover tips and tricks for covering all verbals.
  7. 7. Infinitives Infinitives are “to + a verb form” that function as a noun, adjective, and adverb. 99% of the time, an infinitive will have “to.” There are exceptions, which I typically do not introduce on the first day of lessons! Just so teachers know, here is an example: Brandon lets the kids eat popsicles. “eat” is an infinitive.
  8. 8. Infinitives Infinitives have different functions: I want to eat ice-cream! (noun - direct object) Tony has many dishes to scrub. (adjective - modifies “dishes”) That math problem was hard to do. (adverb - modifies “hard”)
  9. 9. Infinitives During the introductory period, I do not ask students to identify if the infinitive is a noun, adjective, or adverb. I do that later - when we discuss adjectives with participles and “noun jobs” with gerunds. After the first day, we complete an activity (worksheet, exit tickets) to review infinitives.
  10. 10. Gerunds I teach gerunds next because students are familiar with “noun jobs.” This is how I introduce gerunds - by reviewing the jobs nouns have. NOUN JOBS Subject, direct object, indirect object, predicate noun, object of the preposition, appositive. This is the basic list I use with high school students for a noun’s function in a sentence. You may wish to create an anchor chart of these.
  11. 11. Gerunds To introduce gerunds, I ask students to give me “-ing verbs.” I write/ type them, showing students that they have prior knowledge in this area. Then I take a few of the verbs and turn them into verbals. Examples: Keeping my dog clean is impossible! (subject) Gary loves juggling. (direct object) Dad struggles with sleeping. (object of the preposition)
  12. 12. Gerunds Take into account if your students can locate gerunds before identifying their “jobs” in sentences. When they can locate gerunds, then begin emphasizing their functions. I have not emphasized gerunds’ functions before, and students struggled when I introduced participles (since participles can end in -ing).
  13. 13. Gerunds: Examples Sometimes it helps to show students examples. Feel free to use these: Cleaning takes hours. (subject) The toddler loves playing. (direct object) Alyce gave budgeting a try. (indirect object) I have a problem with jabbering. (object of the preposition) My favorite activity, swimming, tires me. (appositive)
  14. 14. Gerunds and Infinitives As we cover gerunds, I review infinitives with students. Infinitives can be nouns, and I will switch gerunds to infinitives to show students this. For instance, look at the previous example: The toddler loves playing. (direct object) Change it for students: The toddler loves to play. I typically cover gerunds for about a week.
  15. 15. Participles When students can identify infinitives and gerunds, I introduce participles. Participles are adjectives! Students already know adjectives, and they have seen these in the dictionary before. To reiterate that they already use participles, I show a dictionary definition of a word like ‘broken.’ Students can see that it is a “past participle.” (Sometimes, I click on “participle” and give them the dictionary definition - which includes the word “verbal.” This emphasizes these terms to their lives).
  16. 16. Participles Participles end in -ing or -ed, and sometimes -en or other verb forms. (It sometimes helps to acknowledge with students that English is weird). Participles are normally by the word they modify. They also frequently have commas. Using these clues and prior knowledge, I encourage students that they will find participles!
  17. 17. Participles Show students common placements of participles. Throw away the broken dish. (by the noun it modifies) Excited, the boy jumped up and down. (at the start of a sentence, followed by a comma, modifying the subject) Eleanor, running, looks exhausted. (set off by commas, by the noun it modifies) I remind students they can already find adjectives, but now they are finding adjectives that could be verbs in a different form.
  18. 18. Finally... After covering participles, I return to infinitives as they can be modifiers. That is an important lesson to understand. (modifies “lesson”) To match, wear this costume. (modifies “wear”) Connecting all the ideas leads nicely into phrases - the next concept I cover.
  19. 19. A Few Notes ● Remind students that an infinitive must have a verb follow it. “To” can also be a preposition. ○ Jason needs to stay home. (infinitive) ○ Jason went to the store. (preposition) ● It is the teacher’s choice if students are “allowed” to split infinitives or not. Some teachers believe infinitives should never be split, while others think sentences sound natural with split infinitives: ○ Carli needs to not take too much time. ○ Carli needs to take her time.
  20. 20. Further Reading Feel free to share this with ELA teachers and colleagues! I would love to hear how you used this information in your department or at meetings. Email me with comments or suggestions: Looking for more grammar lesson planning ideas specific to types of sentences? I’ve devoted an entire blog post to Grammar Lesson Planning, Verbals.
  21. 21. Teaching Materials Review: verbals worksheet and scramble A bit interactive: verbals task cards Interactive notebook: verbals interactive pieces Coloring sheet: verbals coloring sheet Bundle: verbals powerhouse bundle The complete (never buy another grammar activity again) Grammar Curriculum.
  22. 22. Want more honest and helpful grammar talk? Join Grammar Gurus on Facebook. Thanks to Photo Clipz for the graphics.