If I were I would Part II

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This lesson was originally designed to be used with 5th graders to teach using the future unreal conditional tense.

  • Talk to the class about what fun it is to imagine impossible things, like having a money tree, or being able to fly. Let them share some fun, impossible ideas.
  • Read the book Tiger by Sherry Been.
  • Copy the first sentence of the book on the board. (If you were a tiger, we would call you Great Swimmer) Point out that because we're talking about something impossible (being a tiger) we use an if. . . would statement.
  • Change the sentence to talk about a favorite animal of yours. (If you were an elephant, we would call you Great Pachyderm). Have student help you think of other things you could say and ask them to answer using the complete sentence. (If you were an elephant, we would call you Giant.)
  • Let students talk with neighbors about what animal they would like to be while you pass out a lined piece of paper and the worksheet.
  • Notice all of the sentences in section one of the worksheet follow a simple if . . . would statement.
  • Have students title their lined paper with the name of an animal they would like to write about (I don't let kids choose tiger, or elephant)
  • Have them write two sentences about their animal following the simple if . . . would statement. Talk about where the comma goes as they write.
  • Show students another way to use the if. . . would statement by flip-flopping your sentence on the boards (We would call you Great Pachyderm, if you were an elephant.) And then have student write another sentence about their own animal using this flip flopped structure.
  • Look at the section 2 sentence on the worksheet. (If you were a tiger, we would call you Carnivore because you like to eat meat.) Point out that this is a good way to add detail and explanation. Notice that the verb in the explanation (like) is in the present tense.
  • Write a sentence on the boards about elephants using this structure (If you were an elephant, we would call you Caring because you look after the babies in your herd.)
  • Challenge students to write a sentence about their animal using this structure.
  • Look at the section 3 sentence on the worksheet (If you were a tiger, we could see that your fur has stripes.) Point out that words other than would can be used to talk about the impossible. List them on the board: would, could, should, might.
  • Write a sentence on the board using could about elephants. (If you were an elephant, we could watch you pick up a car.) Point out that all of the verbs after the could stay in the present tense. Ask students to tell other sentences about elephants that could follow this format.
  • Challenge students to write 3 more sentences about their animal, one using could, should, and might. They can use these words within any of the formats they have already practiced.
  • Give students a minute to review and proofread all of their sentences, and choose a favorite one to share, have groups each listen to each other read their favorite sentence.
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