Most of my students are English language learners. They have correctly learned that –ed is added to verbs to show past tense. However, they have not learned all of the exceptions. This is evident during conversations or announcements, such as, “She gaved me two,” when they are given an extra paper when passing out assignments. I correct them by modeling the right way to say it (She didn’t give you one?) and they generally repeat it the correct way. However, I hear certain verbs misused often, and give is one of them. I give explicit instruction in such cases.
I have thin writing composition books (journals) that I use for grammar lessons. I posted a picture that lent itself to writing sentences for the chosen verb. I modeled writing the sentences on large chart paper while students copied them in their grammar journals. I started with sentences in the present tense, emphasizing the use of give versus gives. We had a short discussion about when to use which verb with which subject. (As I wrote, I used a marker of a different color to write the verb because I wanted it to be used a visual cue of the different forms. Students sitting anywhere in the room are able to see the tense change and spelling.) Next, I wrote sentences using the past tense, emphasizing the change in the verb to gave. After modeling the first two sentences, I asked students to use the picture to create sentences for the class chart. Few students were able to use the past tense of the verb correctly. I modeled using it correctly and writing a sentence, then asked them again to contribute a sentence to the chart. More students were able to use it correctly, but some still had trouble. They wanted to use gived or gaved. I pointed out that gaved and gived do not take suffixes. I created a few more sentences with students until most were able to use correctly. I knew I would work one-on-one with students who needed help during independent practice.
Students were instructed to create their own sentences using the present and past tense of give. I gave them the option of writing to the posted picture or any topic of their choosing. They had to write two sentences in the present tense with one each using give/gives and two in the past tense. I worked one-on-one with students I noted having trouble with the past tense. I had them walk over to the chart, point to it, and read the sentences using gave. I asked them to read the verb only, so they could practice saying it and hearing themselves say it. I asked them if they saw the word gived or gaved. They said no. I asked them to repeat the verb and read the sentences again. They were standing in front of the chart at eye-level as they pointed and read aloud. This engaged them physically, visually, and orally. Learning through different modalities cemented the learned for them. I asked if they felt ready to write the sentences. They were, so they went back to their seats to write the past tense sentences.
I circulated as students worked and checked their work. Real time assessment allowed me to catch mistakes immediately. I circled incorrect forms of the verb and students knew to make corrections. They were directed to the sentences posted on the chart if they needed an example.
To close the lesson, I had students read their sentences to a partner. This gave them practice using the verbs orally. They also got a chance to hear it used correctly from another student. I didn't leave it to chance that I would catch them using the word correctly or incorrectly and give praise or correction. I wanted them to hear its proper use immediately. This closing activity ensured that happened.