Identifying and Classifying Verbs in Context
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- Standards |
- Resources & Preparation |
- Instructional Plan |
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Verbs are the glue that holds sentences together; without verbs, there can be no action in a sentence. In this lesson, students participate in an interactive read-aloud of Ruth Heller's Kites Sail High: A Book About Verbs. As students listen to the story, they respond to guided questions that help them express their understanding of the three types of verbs—action verbs, state-of-being or linking verbs, and helping verbs. After the skills are introduced and demonstrated, students have the opportunity to work both in groups and individually to identify and classify verbs in context. Finally, students summarize what they learned about verbs during the lesson.
From Theory to Practice
- Syntactic ability can be acquired through social interaction with authentic texts. One strategy is "sentence collecting" (Speaker & Speaker, 1991), in which students read authentic texts at home and school and collect sentences interesting to them in meaning, function, or structure. These sentences are then used in the classroom to inspire reflections and discussions, thus situating authentic syntax in social contexts.
- In-process questioning helps learners construct meanings for the texts and sentences within the texts they are comprehending or composing.
- Authentic communicative situations in which students speak, listen, write, and read with other persons gives their linguistic and communicative abilities a chance to grow. Situated interactions, supported by direct or indirect instruction, help learners acquire syntactic aspects of literacy.
Common Core Standards
This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.
This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.
NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts
- 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
- 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
- 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
- 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
- 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
- 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
- 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).
Materials and Technology
- Kites Sail High: A Book About Verbs by Ruth Heller (Putnam, 1998)
- Verbs, Verbs, Verbs by Martin Terban (Scholastic, 2002)
- Chart paper and colored markers
- Computers with Internet access
- Magazines, newspapers, books to use for collecting sentences
- Overhead projector and transparencies
- Writer’s notebook or writing folders
|1.||Read Kites Sail High: A Book About Verbs by Ruth Heller in advance of the lesson. This book explains what verbs are and highlights all verbs in bold type. Plan some questions to ask students during the interactive read-aloud. You can write your questions on Post-it notes and attach them to the pages of the book. These guided questions will be used to stimulate discussion and help you determine when to build students' background knowledge.
|2.||For more information on conducting an interactive read-aloud, you may refer to the lesson "Catching the Bug for Reading Through Interactive Read-Alouds" by Cathy J. Morton. Although this lesson is for K–2 students and focuses on a different topic, it provides some helpful tips in the Preparation section for planning an interactive read-aloud session.
|3.||Read the text Verbs, Verbs, Verbs by Marvin Terban. This book is an excellent background text on verbs and can be used as a resource in answering any questions you or your students may have about verbs.
|4.||Collect sentences from magazines, newspapers, and other sources to use as examples of the different kinds of verbs:
Include these sentences on worksheets for students and also on chart paper or transparencies for demonstration purposes.
|5.||Arrange for students to be able to use computers with Internet access, and review the Wide World of Verbs website. This website was created by a fourth-grade class, and focuses on action, state-of-being, and helping verbs. Each section includes a story to help students learn about and remember the specific verb form. Students can also take a test on the three different kinds of verbs.
- Be able to identify action verbs, state-of-being or linking verbs, and helping verbs
- Express their understanding of verbs by participating in an interactive read-aloud in response to the text Kites Sail High: A Book About Verbs by Ruth Heller
- Develop an awareness for the use of verbs in context by collecting sentences from authentic texts
- Apply the skills that they have learned by working in cooperative groups and individually
- Use the Internet as a source for reinforcing concepts learned about verbs
Introduction to Skill
Aim: What is a verb? What are the different kinds of verbs? What is the verb's role in a sentence?
|1.||Assess what students already know about verbs by asking them if they know what a verb is. Explain the importance of verbs in a sentence and the skills students will be learning in this lesson (i.e., the ability to identify action, state-of-being, and helping verbs).
|2.||Write the aim questions on the chalkboard and explain to students that the lesson will focus on answering these questions.
|3.||Conduct a whole-class interactive read-aloud of Kites Sail High: A Book About Verbs by Ruth Heller. This strategy involves reading the text aloud and posing questions during the reading to involve the entire class in the learning process. Use the guided questions that you prepared in advance of the lesson to stimulate a class discussion. By responding to your guided questions, students are able to share their knowledge with one another. They can also begin to develop answers to the aim questions.
|4.||As you are reading, you are also thinking aloud, allowing students to share in your thought process. Highlight the role of the verb in a sentence. In this text, verbs are printed in bold type, thus making it easier to identify and classify them. Focus specifically on the sections that deal with action, state-of-being, and helping verbs.
|5.||Continue to ask and accept questions from students during and after the interactive read-aloud. This will enable you to conduct ongoing assessment of their comprehension.
Demonstration of Skill
|1.||Display a few of your collected sentences showing examples of action verbs, state-of being or linking verbs, and helping verbs. These sentences were prepared in advance of the lesson on chart paper or an overhead transparency (see Preparation, step 4).
|2.||Explain where you found these sentences and why you chose them. Point out the different kinds of verbs in the sentences you collected.
|3.||Encourage students to start collecting sentences from magazines, comics, newspapers, ads, headlines, etc. Students can gather their collected sentences in their writing notebooks or folders.
|4.||Refer to the examples of action, state-of being, and helping verbs in Ruth Heller's book. Summarize for students how to identify these verbs in a sentence.
|5.||Ask and accept questions about the different kinds of verbs that you have been examining in this lesson. This will enable you to conduct ongoing assessment of students' comprehension.
Cooperative Application of Skill
|1.||Distribute the worksheet that you prepared in advance of the lesson with collected sentences showing action, state-of-being, and helping verbs (see Preparation, step 4).
|2.||Ask students to work in pairs to identify and circle the verb in each sentence. Ask them to also classify the kind of verb in each sentence, and encourage them to discuss their reasoning with their partner.
|3.||Gather students together to discuss the worksheet and explain how they identified and classified the verb in each sentence.
Individual Application of Skill
Allow students time to access the Wide World of Verbs website. On this site, they can learn more about action verbs, state-of-being verbs, and helping verbs. Have them read the story for each kind of verb and also take the verb test.
Note: To further extend individual application of the skill, have students use their own collected sentences to practice identifying and classifying verbs. This activity provides an authentic context for the use of verbs in sentences. Make sure to also provide students an opportunity to share their sentences and verbs with the class to reinforce learning.
Close and Assessment
Ask students to summarize what they have learned during the lesson. In addition, ask them higher-order thinking questions to assess their understanding of verbs. (Studies have shown that teachers ask more recall or knowledge questions than any other type of question. More higher-order thinking questions need to be asked. Types of Questions Based on Bloom's Taxonomy may be helpful in developing these questions.) A few examples include:
- What does a verb do in a sentence? (knowledge)
- What are the different types of verbs? (knowledge)
- How can you distinguish between an action verb and a state-of-being verb? (comprehension)
- How will you use what you have learned in this lesson to write better sentences? (application)
Refer back to the aim questions and determine whether students are able to answer them.
Student Assessment / Reflections
- Throughout this lesson, observe students during class discussions, group work, and individual applications. Are students actively participating in the interactive read-aloud? Are they able to express their understanding of verbs? Can they identify and classify the verbs in the collected sentences? Are they able to answer the lesson's aim questions?
- Assess the completed worksheets to ensure that students are able to identify and classify the verbs in the collected sentences. Evaluate also their ability to explain their rationale to the class, which indicates their understanding of the concepts and whether further instruction or practice is needed.