A Lesson in Subject-Verb Agreement

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SWBAT produce clear and coherent writing by demonstrating their proficiency with subject-verb agreement.

Big Idea

Re-teach and re-do activities that provide scaffolds for students' understanding of subject-verb agreement.


15 minutes

You might be thinking, "Why subject-verb agreement in grade 9?"  Many of my students have gaps in their knowledge of grammar for a variety of reasons.  Grammar is not an inherently exciting subject. Most high school students would rather do just about anything else than learn and practice the laws of a sentence's construction. Nonetheless, because many of my students (and maybe some of yours) need additional review and practice when it comes to grammar, I teach a lesson on subject-verb agreement.

Magazine Articles

I understand that an important aspect of learning subject-verb agreement is learning to identify subjects and verbs in sentences. To make the initial reading more interesting and therefore relevant, I bring in some magazines and ask my students look through them.  I then instruct them to find one article that they find interesting. They read the article and  identify (circle) one singular subject and verb, and one plural subject and verb. 

As they do this I circulate among them checking for understanding while making quick corrections.

Building Knowledge

20 minutes

First I select a few examples of student work and project it on a screen with a docucamera. I discuss students’ answers and why or why not their circled subject-verb agreements are correct.

Next is the review and reteach part of this lesson.  Using a power point presentation I recapitulate a brief lesson on singular and plural nouns, and verbs. While I teach the rules of Subject-Verb Agreement I ask my students to copy down notes in their journals. 

Student Learning Activity

30 minutes

I designed worksheets for my students Subject-Verb Agreement A and B.  I first hand out Subject-Verb Agreement (A) which is at a basic level of understanding and ask students to work either in pairs or individually to complete the activity. Subject-Verb Agreement (A) focuses on the basic understanding of this grammatical rule.  I remind students that when the subject is singular, the verb in the predicate must also be singular and when the subject is plural, the verb should be plural and therefore "agreeing" with each other.  I tell them that this will be true even if there are other words or phrases that come between them. 

Those students who get all the answers correct are then given Subject-Verb Agreement (B). This sheet is more difficult and requires a synthesis of the information taught. It does not include a word bank and asks students to determine which noun(s) determined whether a singular or plural verb was used.  I tell them to watch for collective nouns which I explain are nouns describing a group (like friends), or words like"each" and "every" and let them know that these all take singular verbs as well. For some of my students this understanding will take a little more practice and time to master.

As they work on the Subject-Verb Agreement activity sheets I circulate among them answering questions and while keeping them focused on the task.

Wrap Up

10 minutes

Call Out

A Call Out activity is just what it sounds like, students call out the answer to a question and explain why it is correct.  Students can be randomly chosen from names on pop-cycle sticks or written on folded pieces of paper that you pick out of a container. I pick names written on pieces of folded paper and give students about 1 minute to complete their "Call Out" response before picking another name.