Learning about helping verbs can be fun for your students if you introduce some helping verb games into your lesson plan. Consider how much more fun your students will have when games are played in the classroom – most teachers agree that when students learn in a fun way, they memorize new concepts better.
One game that is sure to get your students excited about helping verbs is “Rags to Riches,” a game that is set up a lot like the popular television show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” It requires a little bit of setup, but it can be played easily.
Before playing the game, devise about forty sentences that feature helping verbs, and pick out four words from the sentence to be the four answer options (make sure one of them is the helping verb).
When it is time to play, divide your class into groups of four. Each group will work as a team, and will designate one person to be the spokesperson for the team. For each question, which is worth $5, have your students select the helping verb from the four possible answers. Have them keep tally of each question they get right while playing the game. The winning group will either reach $100 first, or will have the most money after a certain number of questions.
Many teachers rely on the tried and true songs that feature helping and linking verbs and invent helping verb games that feature these songs.
Use the songs below in a singing contest in your class: whoever can sing the song correctly in front of the class first can get a prize. You can also use these helping verb songs with your class for musical chairs.
Get the game started with you as the singer for the first round. For each round after that, designate one student who is “out” to be the singer.
Have kids take turns starting and stopping the singing of the song, and when the song stops, they all have to sit and one will automatically be out. You can add extra fun to the game by calling on one student who is still “in” to say the next word from the song on the spot – if they forget or make a mistake, they are “out,” too!
Here are two songs that can help you play Helping Verb Musical Chairs:
Linking Verbs: Sung to the tune of “London Bridges”
Be am is are was were been
Has have had
Do does did
Can could shall should will would may
Might must beingHelping Verbs: Sung to the tune of “Jingle Bells”
There are 23,
Am is are was and were
Being been and be
Have has had,
do does did
Shall will should and would
There are five more helping verbs
May might must can could
First, have your students memorize the helping verbs in this order:
am, are, was, were, is, have, has, had, may, might, must, be, being, been, do, does, did, shall, should, will, would.
Then, tell your students a big story about how you were grading papers the other night, and that the room is haunted, because all of the dead verbs haunting the papers.
Teach the students that helping verbs are “dead verbs,” since they can be overused in writing, very boring, and that there are often better ways to write descriptively and elegantly without these helping verbs.
Have each student make a tombstone for one of the helping verbs, and have them write a sentence using the helping verb on the tombstone.
Underneath the sentence, have them write “RIP,” and write a new sentence underneath that expresses the same thing without a helping verb. This is one of those helping verb games that can be played at a certain time of year and can be incorporated with other Halloween learning materials.
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