Teaching Grammar: How to Build Sentence Types?

Conditional Mood

The source of the chosen text is the trailer for the movie called The Grey. The following excerpt will be used: “How hard would you fight; how far would you go…to get back home?” (TheGreyMovie2012, 2011). This piece has been chosen to illustrate how conditional mood should be used in a sentence. To teach this grammar point, the following lesson plan could be adopted:

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  • The teacher shows the clip to the students and writes the question from the movie on the class board.
  • The instructor asks students whether the question is related to a real or hypothetical situation.
  • The teacher explains how conditional mood is used (the construction, situations in which it is utilized).
  • Students write their responses to the question from the trailer.
  • Students work in pairs and exchange their answers with each other. After that, they tell the class the answers of their partner.

This text will be used for one activity since it illustrates solely the way a question is formed. Therefore, it will be necessary to use more examples of how to build other sentence types. The objectives of the exercise are to teach learners how to write conditional statements and questions and explain to them the difference between a real and hypothetical situation. The text does not involve teaching cultural aspects since this movie raises ethical and philosophical issues and does not aim to educate the viewer. However, the teacher may encourage a discussion regarding the importance of staying strong in the face of danger and difficulties and not falling into despair. The discussion may take place at the end of the activity to finalize the work on the text.

Passive Voice

The text is taken from the fairy tale called Cinderella. It has been selected because all students know this story since childhood, and it will be easy for them to remember the context. The grammar point to be illustrated is passive voice, and the chosen excerpt is as follows: “She was taken to the young prince, dressed as she was. He thought she was more charming than before, and, a few days after, married her” (Perrault, 2003, para. 48).

Lesson Plan Summary

The following sequence should be adopted:

  • The instructor asks students if they remember the fairy tale and its plot.
  • The teacher asks learners when these events have occurred in the story (the printed excerpts are distributed). The instructor tells the correct answer if the students are wrong.
  • The teacher stresses the form “she was taken” and explains how passive voice is formed (in both present and past simple) (Perrault, 2003, para. 48).
  • The instructor asks students to explain the difference between “she was taken” and “she was more charming” (Perrault, 2003, para. 48).
  • Students change active sentences into the passive voice.
  • At home, students will need to complete a task on passive voice.

This text will be used as part of a grammar unit on the topic of passive voice because this example is not enough to illustrate all the aspects of this concept. More texts will be required to illustrate other passive forms (future, present/past continuous, modals, verbs and so on). However, it is necessary to include a cultural perspective since this is a folk tale known throughout the world. It is crucial to educate students on the ethical and moral implications of the story.

Future Tense

The source of the text is the article from The New York Times called “Trump Says He Will Not Meet Putin This Weekend, Contradicting the Kremlin”. Both the title and the first sentence of the article will be used to introduce the concept and then provide context for it. The topic to be discussed is future simple and its formation. The sentence illustrating the concept is as follows: “WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Wednesday that he will not meet with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia this weekend, contradicting the Kremlin, which said earlier in the day that the two would have a discussion while in Paris for an unrelated gathering of world leaders” (Baker, 2018, para. 1).

Lesson Plan

To teach students the grammar point, the following strategy may be adopted:

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  • The teacher presents the title of the article and asks students to explain what it reveals (future events / a decision made).
  • Students come up with the rule during the discussion.
  • The teacher presents how the correct form is built and explains when future tense is used.
  • The instructor reveals the complete sentence and focuses on the sequence of tenses in the provided example.
  • Students discuss which event happened first and why “will” was used in this sentence.
  • Students create sentences using the future tense.

Concluding Points

The text should be used for one activity since it displays the use of one rule while the other instances should be illustrated with more examples. This way, it will be easier for learners to decompose and memorize future tense. The text does not require teaching cultural aspects since this is an informative article. The paper covers political issues that may cause disagreement among students. Thus, it is necessary to switch to another exercise without discussing the context of the article or the ideas in it.

Adverbs

The text is taken from the advertising concept created by Apple. The slogan (“Think different.”) is part of Apple’s multiple advertisements, which are discussed in the article by Forbes (Siltanen, 2011). The grammar point illustrated in the slogan is the use of adverbs. This text was chosen to spark up the debate among students whether the creators of the ad have made a mistake (used “different” instead of “differently”).

The plan of the lesson is as follows:

  • The teacher explains what an adverb is, its purpose and place in a sentence.
  • The teacher asks students to provide examples of adverbs.
  • Learners make sentences using different adverbs.
  • The instructor presents the ad and asks students to take a look at the slogan. They should notice that the slogan breaks the rule discussed at the beginning of the lesson.
  • The teacher encourages learners to think of broader context and shows other examples of the ad (provided in the article).
  • The instructor explains that the slogan may be expanded into the following structure: think (that it is) different or think (about the things that are) different.
  • The students should conclude that the context plays a major role in understanding certain grammatical instances.
  • For homework, students need to find other examples of this exception (for instance, “Think Pink” by Victoria’s Secret).

The text will be just one activity because it will be used to wrap up the lesson and encourage students to focus on the context when it seems, at first, that rules cannot be applied to the situation. The slogan does not involve teaching cultural aspects since the main objective is to boost the thinking process in students apart from explaining the correct use of adverbs rather than to expand their horizons.

Prepositions

The text is taken from the speech of the main heroine from the movie trailer for the first part of The Hunger Games. One of the phrases is as follows: “I never wanted to be in the Games” (Movieclips Trailers, 2014). The excerpt has been chosen because it illustrates how prepositions are used to express different ideas; therefore, various prepositions will be discussed and practiced throughout the lesson. Also, almost all students know about this trilogy, and it will be easy for them to follow the video.

The summary of the lesson plan is as follows:

  • The teacher shows students the first part of the trailer and stops after the heroine pronounces the chosen text.
  • The instructor writes the sentence and underlines the preposition in it.
  • The teacher asks students how is it possible to be “in the Games” and what they think it means (Movieclips Trailers, 2014).
  • After the class has watched the clip until the end, the teacher explains the use of such prepositions as in / on / under / inside / outside and so on.
  • Students complete a multiple-choice quiz about the trailer. For example, “The main heroine is… (in, under, outside) the plane”.
  • At home, students will need to create 10 sentences using different prepositions.

The text will be used during one activity since its purpose is to introduce the new topic to the students and start the lesson with quick brainstorming. The objectives of the activity are to teach students how prepositions of place are used and encourage them to make their own sentences. The activity does not imply teaching cultural aspects because it will be used as a warmup exercise.

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Past Continuous

The chosen text is part of the lyrics for the song by John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band. It has been selected not only because it illustrates a specific grammar point greatly but also because it will be easy for the students to understand the text. In particular, the following lines will be used to illustrate past continuous tense: “I was dreaming of the past / And my heart was beating fast” (Johnlennon, 2016).

Plan

To teach how this tense is used, it is necessary to follow the plan below:

  • The teacher distributes copies of the text and asks students to listen to the song and fill in the blanks (the verbs in the past tense are missing but their infinitives are listed next to the text).
  • The instructor explains to the class the way past continuous if formed and when it should be used.
  • The teacher asks students to explain why John Lennon used past continuous in his song.
  • Students are provided with three simple examples to remember.
  • Students work in pairs and describe a picture using past continuous (any image is suitable for the task). Alternatively, the teacher may show stills from the video for learners to discuss.

Concluding Points

The text will be used during one activity since it illustrates the use of the first person singular form but the students should be taught all the forms during one lesson. The objectives of the activity are to teach students how past continuous is formed and used and encourage them to use this tense when making their own sentences. In addition, the cultural aspects of the song should be presented. It is significant to explain the contribution of the singer to the music industry and society in general.

Present Perfect Simple

The text is part of the short poem written by William Carlos Williams called “This is Just to Say”. It has been chosen due to its originality and simple language used by the author. The first four lines have been selected to illustrate the use and formation of present perfect simple. They are as follows: “I have eaten / the plums / that were in / the icebox” (Williams, n.d., para. 1).

Summary of the Lesson Plan

The lesson plan is as follows:

  • The teacher presents the first four lines of the poem and asks students about their meaning.
  • The instructor asks the class which of the two actions has happened first.
  • The complete poem is distributed and learners underline present perfect, past simple, and past continuous forms.
  • The teacher stresses the sequence of verb tenses.
  • The emphasis is made on the lack of punctuation (and the reasoning behind this artistic decision).
  • Students add punctuation marks to those places where they think the natural pause should be.
  • In pairs, students read the poem using their own pauses and intonation.

Concluding Points

The text will be just one activity because it illustrates one grammatical instance. However, it is easy to memorize the first four lines of the poem, which will help students remember the concept of the present perfect simple. The objectives of the activity are to instruct students how to use and form present perfect simple and explain to them how the speaker can express the result using correct verb forms (“I have eaten the plums” – the icebox is empty). The students should be taught the cultural aspects of the poem as well. It is important to stress the impact made by Williams on the contemporary US poetry.

Attachment

The text to be used in the class (Williams, n.d.):

“I have eaten

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the plums

that were in

the icebox

and which

you were probably

saving

for breakfast

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold”

Modal Verbs

The source of the chosen text is a comic book by Dan Parent. It has been selected since the popular television series called Riverdale are based on it, and this text will immediately attract the attention of students. The grammar point to be illustrated is the use of “have to” as a modal construction (see Figure 1). The extract to be used is: “What a minute! Howzat work? Do we each get three wishes, or do we have to split them up?” (Parent, 2016, p. 2).

Summary

The lesson plan is the following:

  • The teacher asks students to name the modal verbs they already know.
  • Students make a couple of sentences using different modals (orally).
  • Printed copies of the text are distributed, and the instructor asks whether students have recognized the heroines (possible answers: Riverdale, Archie Comics).
  • Learners read the text out loud.
  • The instructor focuses on the use of “have to” and explains what features of a modal verb this construction has.
  • The teacher explains when and how this construction is used, and students make their own sentences using it.
  • The class discusses the difference between have to / need to and have to / must.

Concluding Remarks

The text will be just one activity since this assignment is aimed at discussing an aspect of a big topic. However, the heroines and the events from the text can be used to make other examples of using modal verbs. This way, through associations with a popular TV series, learners will memorize the rules quicker. The text does not involve teaching cultural aspects since it is entertaining in character. The objectives of the activity are to teach students to recognize modals in the context and instruct them how to differentiate between them.

Reference

Baker, P. (2018). Trump says he will not meet Putin this weekend, contradicting the Kremlin. The New York Times. Web.

Johnlennon. (2016). Jealous guy – John Lennon and The Plastic Ono Band (with the Flux Fiddlers). Web.

Movieclips Trailers. (2014). The hunger games: Mockingjay – part 1 official trailer #1 (2014) – THG movie HD. Web.

Parent, D. (2016). Betty and Veronica summer annual digest. The Archie Library, 244, 1-192.

Perrault, C. (2003). Cinderella; or, the little glass slipper. Web.

Siltanen, R. (2011). The real story behind Apple’s ‘think different’ campaign. Forbes. Web.

TheGreyMovie2012. (2011). The Grey – official trailer. Web.

Williams, W. C. (n.d.). This is just to say. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, April 29). Teaching Grammar: How to Build Sentence Types? Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/teaching-grammar-how-to-build-sentence-types/

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"Teaching Grammar: How to Build Sentence Types?" StudyCorgi, 29 Apr. 2021, studycorgi.com/teaching-grammar-how-to-build-sentence-types/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Teaching Grammar: How to Build Sentence Types?" April 29, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/teaching-grammar-how-to-build-sentence-types/.


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StudyCorgi. "Teaching Grammar: How to Build Sentence Types?" April 29, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/teaching-grammar-how-to-build-sentence-types/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Teaching Grammar: How to Build Sentence Types?" April 29, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/teaching-grammar-how-to-build-sentence-types/.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Teaching Grammar: How to Build Sentence Types'. 29 April.

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