Future tense- it indicates the action is in the future relative to the audience. It's significant to cite the proper tense because it sharpens writing by signaling "what happens when."
What is the future? When I ask this question, the kids immediately think of the "way out" future, as one student put it, and describe possibilities that we read recently in our Time for Kids magazine about new inventions. After giving them a few moments to enjoy those thoughts, I circle the wagons, and center them back on their more immediate future. They contribute thoughts about the future to the Smart Board What's the Future? Smartboard (flying cars still made it in.) Next, I ask some questions: QUESTION "Where will we go in thirty minutes?" ANSWER "To the library." QUESTION "What will you have for lunch today?" ANSWER "A turkey sandwich." QUESTION "Who will travel out of the state this summer?" ANSWER "Me!" This line of questioning can go on as long as desired, but the point to demonstrate is the word will just keeps showing itself in these questions about the future. I take out my banner that reads, "Where there's a WILL there's a Future Tense."
Going to is another way to express thoughts in future tense. For example, in relation to the above QUESTIONS and ANSWERS, "Are you going to library in thirty minutes?" or "Is she going to eat a turkey sandwich for lunch?" and finally, "This summer are you going to go out of the country?" A student may ask some of their questions this way.
One of the most significant moments in our fifth graders' immediate future is the fact that they will go on to the middle school next year. By this time in the second semester, we have visited the middle school for a tour, heard a presentation for how to select and register for class schedules, and have many conversations with worried parents about how their child will transition. Due to all of these factors, it just makes sense for the kids to center their thoughts about future tense around the theme of going off to middle school in August.
I split the kids into groups that are NOT of their choosing. It's my thought that by randomly selecting groups with a stick pull they'll be better mixed. For this activity, it's what I want because a group of friends- ok I'll say it- girls discussing middle school has developed into giggly tangents in the past, requiring my constant redirection.
Once in their groups of four or five students, I tell them to compose a list of questions or fears Writing Middle School Questions they have about moving onto sixth grade and middle school. Each student must contribute by writing at least five questions individually, then after a few minutes, instruct them to share their questions with each other. What they will ultimately discover is that the majority of their questions will fall into future tense usage naturally. Because this is a future tense lesson, direct their attention to this once back in a large group. Smart Board class contributions. Contributing Questions/Noticing the Pattern Ask them to look again at their questions to determine if there are any NOT written with a future tense vibe. If so, ask for volunteers to read those questions, Showing Future Tense with MS Questions and turn them into future tense.
An example, "Are the teachers strict?" becomes, "Will the teachers be strict?" to place it in future tense. #1 Examples of Future Tense MS Questions... and... #2 Example of Future Tense MS Questions...and Smart Board questions Future Tense Questions Compiled
A great way to end this lesson is for the kids to individually write a short narrative Student Examples of Future Tense MS about how they imagine their first day at middle school to go or what they think middle school will be like. Student Examples Future Tense MS
Using the future tense sentences they've written, or simply creating as they go, it gives them practice in structuring sentences together into paragraph form. A natural result from sharing questions during the application is the writing will flow easily will all of that middle school on their minds!