Students of all ages struggle with subject-verb agreement, so instilling a thorough understanding of these grammar rules for first-grade students is very important. Furthermore, organizing a lesson plan doesn't have to be dry just because it teaches grammar. You can begin with engaging exercises and reinforce your instruction with games and interactive reviews.
Introduce the Lesson
Before diving in to grammar rules, give your class an exercise to get warmed up and ready for the lesson. Without telling them the point of the lesson, ask your students to write a few sentences for you. Have them write one sentence in which they tell you an exciting thing they did by themselves recently, and one sentence in which they tell you about an exciting thing they did with another person. After they've finished writing, call on a few students to read their sentences aloud, and allow the class to respond briefly. Write each student's sentences on the board and underline the subjects and verbs, and explain that you will be teaching about how subjects and verbs need to agree with each other to work.
Discuss the Rules
Now that your class is warmed up and ready for the lesson, lead a discussion about subject-verb agreement rules. Explain that singular subjects take singular verbs, and that plural subjects take plural verbs. Be sure to discuss present, past and future tenses, and include linking verbs, such as "is," "are," "was" and "were." Write examples of singular and compound subjects on the chalkboard along with singular and plural verbs, and ask students to identify correct verbs for different subjects. Also, give examples of incorrect sentences, and read them out loud so students can hear how silly they can sound when the subjects and verbs don't agree.
Play a Game
Now that you've covered the rules of subject-verb agreement, lead your students through an activity so they can apply what they've learned while having some fun. The online game "Space Verbs 1" on "Got Kids Games" is free to play, and you can display it easily on an interactive whiteboard, such as a Smart Board. The game is outer-space themed: a sentence is displayed with a blank space where the verb should be, and then two planets show up, each with a possible verb form. You can split the class into teams and call on the first team to raise their hands for each question, and even allow a team member to come up front and select their answer. If you don't have an interactive whiteboard, you could just write out each sentence and each set of answer choices on the chalkboard.
Go Over It One More Time
Finish the lesson by assigning the homework and then reviewing the material one last time. However, this time ask for volunteers who can explain the rules to you. When possible, call on a second student to complement another student's explanation. For example, if one student tells you that a singular subject needs a singular verb, you can then ask another student what kind of verb a plural subject needs. You can even ask the entire class to call out the answer together.
- Young American Writers Project: YAWP Playwriting Residency Curriculum; Will Chandler and Emma Walton Hamilton
- K12 Reader: Subject Verb Agreement
- Got Kids Games: Space Verbs 1 - Free Grammar Game for Kids
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