Many students are not only learning new academic subjects during school, they are also working on their English language skills. We often take speaking English for granted. Most of us have simply learned it by listening to others, and then fine-tuning it at school.
Multilingual learners may need additional help with a variety of tricky areas of the language. One that is often tricky is conjugating the progressive form of verbs. The -ing ending remains in all, but you need to know which helper goes before each in the present, past, and future tenses. Learning this is not a fun task, so thinking outside of the box is critical to keep students actively engaged.
Learning About Progressive Verbs
Progressing verbs always have the -ing ending with them. The difference is that you must know how to conjugate the present, past, and future. The present form must have a form of to be as a helper. Past progressive uses the past tense of to be as the help and let us know that something has stopped the action. The future must include will be as the helping verb. Examples:
- Present – He is talking in class.
- Past – He was talking when he fell.
- Future – He will be talking during the debate in class tomorrow.
Verbs in Action
Kids love to act out things. Not only will it help them with the skill at hand, it works on their self-confidence and speaking skills with others. To get ready for this activity, make a list of verbs related to a specific topic. This may be school. Spring, or perhaps a theme they are working on in class. Put the verbs cards and laminate them. Some possibilities for school would be writing, reading, adding, counting, walking, eating, singing, and studying.
Let everyone pick their own card and begin with the future tense. Rather than working in pairs, the person to your right will read the card and make up a sentence for their peer. They will basically be predicting the future activity which you will see. Next, go to the present tense. Each child will take turns getting up and acting out the progressive verb. As they are reading, writing, studying, adding, or counting they should state it in a sentence: I am _____ and continue to the next person. Keep going around the group and let each additional member give another present tense sentence for the action.
Finish up with the past tense in a discussion. The key is to make it clear about what has just taken place. Let the person on their left begin and make up a sentence about what their friend has just done.
To tie in with home, ask older students to draw a cartoon or use photos from a magazine to make their own progressive verb image to share with their group another day. Therapists can send home instructions for multilingual homes to be able to participate Be sure to include several examples. Give some examples on the sheet with images and sentences.
Have any other suggestions for teaching verb tenses? Share with us in the comments below!
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