In English, we recently began chapter three which is all about…you guessed it…verbs! In our first two chapters, we discussed sentences and nouns. Most of this was a review for the kids, but this new chapter on verbs is a LONG one. Like, 14 or 15 sections long, several of which will be new to most of the kids.
I decided to start out easy. The first section was all about action verbs. These are generally the easiest verbs to identify. Hop, run, sing, yell, push, kick, well, you get the idea. Any time we do a lesson such as this, there is not much to teach – most of it is review. So instead of sitting around having the kids listen to me give example after example or having them do work from the book, we play a game that they LOVE. I read a sentence out loud and call on the first student to stand up after I finish the sentence to identify whatever we are working on that day.We have established several rules, however. For instance, they must remain seated with their bottoms on the chair until I finish reading that sentence. Also, no shoving their chairs out of the way when they stand up, as it can ram into someone else. With these few rules, we have established a successful way to practice our concepts!
So last week, when studying action verbs, I read a sentence such as “The pig ran slowly to his mother’s house”. I watched for the first student to stand up (although, I try and call on a variety of kids so it is not the same one every time!) and they had to identify the action verb in that sentence (“ran”). The most common error (although there were very few!) was the kids identifying the adverbs instead of the verb (ex: “slowly” instead of “ran”). We discussed how the word “slowly” doesn’t describe WHAT he did as a verb is supposed to do, it describes HOW he did it. For the last question, my kiddos always ask if I can call on the person who jumps the highest out of their chair! It’s amazing what a little “exercise” will do – it totally motivates them to get involved and they have now started to ask if we can play the stand-up game when we complete our English lesson!!
Another motivator for my students is using magazines and making collages. So to tie this into our English lesson, I split the kids into groups of two or three. They had to search through (school appropriate) magazines that I keep in my classroom and find as many action verbs as they could. After gluing them onto paper, they counted them up and the group that had the most at the end of the time limit (15 minutes) got a small prize 🙂 They were AMAZING searching through those magazines and I loved the conversations I heard! Several times I overheard one student ask another, “Is ____ an action verb? I don’t think so…” with the other student responding “Let’s see…can you DO it? No? Then it’s not…” It was wonderful! Here are their collages…
Towards the end of the lesson, when time was up, I had each group choose their three favorite action verbs on their collage and act them out for the rest of the class. The other kiddos then had to try and guess which verb the group was acting out. My favorite was a group that acted out “do” – they went around the classroom and, well, did lots of stuff! That was a toughie to guess 🙂
Teaching English can be a major challenge because of all of the issues with our language – it is not an easy language for kids to learn! But there are ways to make it fun and exciting so that they do not dread our English lesson every week (I usually do two per week). How do you like to teach English? Any fun games you play with your class?