Basic Discovery

From Mechanically Inclined

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This lesson was originally used with 5th graders and comes our of Jeff Andersons book Mechanically Inclined

In this lesson students will work with passages in 1st person present tense and 3rd person present tense, beginning to notice how subjects and verbs work together in a piece of writing

  • Start by copying this worksheet and cutting it in half
  • Pass out the top half to students labeled 1st Person
    • Discuss what 1st person and 3rd person mean. As an added bonus I also challenged kids to think about what 2nd person might mean (it is a story written using you instead of I or he)
    • Read the short story (or write a true one about yourself) and notice how it is written in the present tense.
  • Pass out the other half of the worksheet labeled 3rd Person
    • Read this version of the story
    • Look at the first sentence from each story with the class and notice which words changed. Notice it is not just the nouns and pronouns that changed
    • Have students compare the two stories and highlight every word that changed on the 3rd person version of the story.
  • Make a tree map on the board broken into 1st Person and 3rd Person Have the class tell you words that changed and list them on the Thinking Map (i.e. I/he get/gets look/looks)
  • Discuss the list and patterns
    • Not only nouns and pronouns change, verbs have to change to match their subject
    • Most verbs just have to have an s added to switch to third person
  • Pass out this worksheet
    • Read the story with the class
    • Challenge them to make whatever changes are needed to switch the story into the 3rd person. You may want to do the first sentence together.

Originally submitted by Carolyn Grumm

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