Nails On a Chalkboard

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
your curly comrade, Suzanne

Me and Lori is teachers.  
We has a blog too.  
Until all the readers runs away because we wrote like this.  

I know.  Sorry!  A lack of mastery in subject-verb agreement is the metaphorical nail on my chalkboard.  

This is not a new concept for students, but most, especially English Language Learners, could use a refresher.  In the second semester, I ran out of Star Point words, so we have been working through the Grammar Specs Lori mentioned.  Most days we talk about a rule or two and record it in our notebook, complete with a class-generated example.  Then I turn students loose to do some independent reading and look for that rule in play.  They copy down sentences that exemplify the given rule of the day.  

That worked well while talking about punctuation, commas, and quotation marks, but subject-verb agreement?  Find a {published} sentence where the subject and verb match.  Not so much.  Besides, I wanted them to hear the rightness and wrongness of certain pairs.  

Manipulatives to the rescue!  I made a list of singular subjects, singular verbs, plural subjects, and plural verbs- copied it on colored paper- cut- and boom!  I was ready to turn students loose to learn.  (Word to the wise: print each set of manipulatives on a different color of paper.  It seriously cuts down on the drama if you find a tiny little piece poking out from under a desk at the end of the day.)

After partners placed all their pieces, we reviewed a few tricky ones- each, one, neither.  Students drafted three sentences using pairs of words from their chart.  The words that I used are loosely based on Divergent.  You could require them to write sentences that relate to the book but totally don't have to.  

You can download the manipulative pieces and mat/board to use with your kiddos.  In exchange, I'd like Theo James (Tobias) sitting on my desk in the morning!


  1. After all the good stuff I have taken from you guys, I really wish I could place Tobias on your desk!! We had great success with the editing/revision rotation, and I'm thinking this subject.verb activity looks like a nice Friday wrap up. I'm adding in a quick "lighting" truism exercise before the week is out because my kids are still struggling like crazy to snag good examples. There are so many things I will do differently next year!

    1. I'm so glad the Q and A rotation worked well for you! You better believe that Lightning Writing is happening in both of our classrooms this week. Our students are struggling to come up with specific examples as well. Here's hoping for many light bulb moments for our kiddos this week!

  2. HI!!! When the links are deactivated, where can I get this info? I really want to make these manipulatives. Are they on Teachers Pay Teachers??

    1. Hi Karla! I just updated the links. Click away for the manipulatives!