Using Present Participles to Add Detail

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Students will be able to use present participles to add extra detail to their writing by completing a sentence play.

Big Idea

Writing intently, students add detail to their sentences with present participles.

Do Now: -ing Race

5 minutes

Challenges are a great warm-up--they grab attention and create energy. Today's Do Now challenges students to list as many -ing verbs as they can. Simple, but effective for getting them to think about verbs (and creative verbs, at that).

Deducing, wandering, strutting--our winner had over eighty -ing verbs to take the prize.

Present Participle Sentence Play

40 minutes

Sentence plays are our method of grammar study. For a full overview of the activity, please view this lesson.

I give the definition of a present participle. I also offer examples of how prepositions look in sentences and how to properly punctuate around them when they are used in the beginning, middle, and end.

As with the other grammar techniques we will study to help add detail to sentences, present participles work best when we start with a basic topic and sentence. I ask for a subject for our first class example. As in our last grammar study, students want to write about each other.
"T-mac scores a point!" Good, what can we add to it?
"Tripping?" Well, he probably wouldn't score that way.
"Weaving in and out?" That could work.
"Launching the ball?" Works better!

I allow them to choose partners again today, as the fun which comes with playing with language make this activity engaging for everyone. As usual, they work quickly, trying to best each other for comedy points, and laughter rings out around the room. I'm called from group to group to check work or hear the funny examples. Sometimes the examples are missing a subject, so I remind those groups to start with the basic sentence first, then add the prepositional phrase.

After 10 minutes, we come back together ("Eyes and ears, please.") to share our examples and laugh together, a good closing to the day's lesson.

As with our previous grammar studies, this lesson is aligned to CCSS for 9-10. My department focuses on building complex sentence skills in all grades because students generally struggle to fully learn and use these techniques; the goal is automatic use after years of practice.