Lesson: Editing

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to edit their research papers for subject and verb agreement.

Lesson Plan

Connection (3-5 mins): Students should be seated on the carpet with a partner.  They will be expected to turn and talk to this partner throughout the lesson.  Researchers, I am so proud of your progress throughout this unit.  You have successfully written an introduction, support paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph.  You are now experts on your topic.  However, we are now moving into the editing phase of the writing process.  We must now take the time to refine our writing.  I noticed while reading your paragraphs that many of you did not write complete sentences.  It is important to check our writing for grammar mistakes to ensure the reader doesn’t get lost in our papers.  Today, we will work to correct mistakes in our sentence structure.

Teach/Active Engagement (10-12 mins):  Writers, today we begin the editing process.  As I was reading through your research papers, I noticed that many of you did not check your sentences for subject and verb agreement.  We must first understand what a subject and verb are in our sentences.  Teacher uncovers chart.

1.    Ms. Smith ran quickly through the park.
2.    Jane jumped over the fence.

Teacher reads aloud first sentence.  The subject of a sentence is who or what the sentence is about.  A verb is an action word in a sentence.  In the first sentence, Ms. Smith is the subject because she is the “who” of the sentence.  I ask myself, what action Ms. Smith completed.  In this sentence Ms. Smith ran, therefore, ran is the verb of the sentence.  Teacher reads aloud second sentence.  Turn and tell your partner the subject and verb of this sentence.  Teacher calls on students to share out their responses.   

Now that we understand subjects and verbs we must determine how to make those two parts of a sentence agree.  Subjects and verbs must agree in number, which means if the subject is singular, the verb must also be singular.  For example, in our first sentence the subject is Ms. Smith.  Is Ms. Smith singular or plural? Students should respond that the subject is singular, Ms. Smith is only one person.  If the subject, Ms. Smith is singular then the verb must also be singular.  This is correct because “ran” is the singular form of the verb.  This sentence has correct subject and verb agreement.

Let’s look at a few more examples.

3.    The frog hops from lily pad to lily pad.
4.    The students is having a huge party.
5.    We wants to go home.


Teacher reads aloud the third example.  In this example the subject is the frog because it answers the question “what”?.  This subject is singular because there is only one frog.  However, the verb hops is plural.  Thumbs up if you think this sentence sounds okay when I read it aloud.  Most students will place their thumbs up.  You are all correct, this sentence does make sense although the subject and verb don’t agree in number.  This is where subject and verb agreement becomes difficult.  When we are writing in the present tense, we sometimes add an “s” or “es” to a word to make it present tense, happening right then.  This can cause problems with subject and verb rules.  However, our best bet is to read the sentence and make sure it sounds correct.  This is the best way to check a sentence if we are unsure about the subject and verb agreement rules.

Now you try with the second sentence.  Partner one read aloud the sentence to partner two and partner two will decide if the sentence sounds correct or not.  If the sentence is not correct be ready to share how to make the sentence correct.  Teacher calls on students to share out their responses. Teacher should explain that “is” is the singular form of the verb, for those students who may have misunderstandings.  It may be necessary to review common verb forms for struggling students.  Teacher repeats this process with the third example.

I think we are becoming editing masters.  It is now time to use your knowledge to correct your own papers.  When I call your name, please return to your seat with your partner.  You will begin editing your papers for subject and verb agreement.  Remember to follow the same process we did while on the carpet. 

Workshop Time (15-20 mins): Students should return to their seats.  With a partner they will read through their papers to edit for sentence structure.  I model for students that student A should read one paragraph at a time out loud to their partner.  The partner should be listening for sentences that do not make sense.  Once the partner hears a sentence that doesn’t make sense, the reader stops and they look at the sentence together.  Students are required to write in pen, marking out the incorrect sentences and writing the correct verb form on top of the sentence.  This allows the teacher to see which sentences were corrected and the original mistake made by the student. Students should then change places and read the second paper.  At the end of workshop time, students should have a corrected paper.  However, some students struggle with this activity and I suggest the teacher reads each corrected paper to ensure students have fully corrected their mistakes.

Exit Slip/Share (3-5 mins): Students will complete the sentence structure exit slip.  This exit slip requires that students correct three sentences that do not have correct subject/verb agreement.  Teacher should collect these exit slips to determine which students mastered the skill and those who still need more practice.

Reflection: Subject and verb agreement is always a difficult skill for students.  I usually teach this editing skill for each unit.  It can sometimes be difficult for students to find their mistakes.  I have students read aloud their papers to a partner in hopes that the partner will hear the inconsistencies in the sentences.  However, even this can be difficult for students.  I would suggest teaching this lesson more than once depending on students academic levels.

Lesson Resources

Subject/Verb Agreement Exit Slip  
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