How many times have we tried to explain what a verb is? Is it necessary to teach the rules to our learners? How long does it take to make them understand the word order? Wouldn’t it be better to create beautiful stories through which grammar would be more comprehensible? Let me introduce you to Victor, the Verb: He likes doing things. He never gets tired. He’s a doer! He likes hanging around with others but he needs his friends to be arranged in a certain way. He usually spends time with Sam, the Subject. Victor the Verb is very polite. He lets Sam stand first in the queue. Victor sometimes invites Olga the Object. Here’s their selfie: 1. Sam the Subject 2. Victor the Verb 3. Olga the Object In this case, this is what they say: ‘Sam loves Olga.” Loves? Why loves and not love? Here’s one of my stories I usually tell my students in order to attract their attention and help their memory. Victor the Verb is a doer, as I said. But when Victor meets “he”, “she”, “it”, he gets tired. He doesn’t like being with them without help. Look at his face. He doesn’t agree. He’s furious! Victor the Verb: “I can’t deal with them on my own! I need help! Supergirl! Where are you?” Wow! There she is! Strong and beautiful, always a helper! Whenever Victor the Verb needs her, she flies right away and gives him a hand. What a girl! Look at Victor when she arrives. He’s peaceful and happy. He can ample time with he, she, it, as long as she is there, next to him! Everybody is OK now! There is an agreement. They can have a good time together. No arguments, no quarrels. Supergirl is the one who fixes all problems. Want to see another example? Victor can do everything with anyone as long as Supergirl stands next to him when “he, she, it” are around. Let’s watch him getting transformed into “agree”… Look at Supergirl now. She gets Sam the Subject and Victor the Verb to agree. Eventually, we have a subject-verb agreement! But who is Supergirl? I’m not going to tell you much. I’ll reveal her name: Sophie, because S stands for Sophie, the wise girl. She uses her super powers to save people from bad guys. She helps Victor the Verb come to an agreement and avoid huge misunderstandings. She is the main character of my vocabulary and grammar stories. My kids adore her! How can you practise Simple Present with Sophie the Supergirl? Have two piles of cards: The first one with subjects and the second with verbs. Glue your subject cards on black cardboard and you verbs on blue. For my classes, Simple Present is blue. Ask your learners to form a sentence. Have a card of Supergirl in case Victor the Verb needs her to make an agreement with Sam the Subject.
The student can keep the cards if he/she can form a sentence correctly. In case he/she makes a mistake, the student has to put the cards back.
Make sure you have as many cards as you can. Try to use the vocabulary they already know so as to consolidate previous knowledge and help them feel confident enough to produce sentences without hesitating about the pronunciation and meaning of the words. Repeat as many times as necessary. You can always use a stopwatch to stop the game. The student who collects the most cards is the winner. If you have large groups and still want to use this game, there is an easy way. All you need is a board -or even a wall- and your piles of subjects and verbs. Divide you group in two teams. They have to say a sentence in turns. If they form the sentence correctly, they can move. If they make a mistake, they lose their turn and their opponent plays twice. Team A starts from the left and team B from the right. The winner is the one who reaches the end of the line first. What about some worksheets? Different ones, like my flashcards. You create a grid with 3 columns. Subjects, verbs and objects. They have to circle one word from each column, connect the three words and make a sentence. They like it because it’s easy and they don’t have to write much. You can use it as a game to make it more interesting. Give your students 5-6 grids each. Ask them to circle the answers and set the stopwatch. The one who has the fewest mistakes is the winner. You can print the blank worksheet, fill it in with your words and create your own game. You can even ask your students to complete it and give it to a fellow student to find the answer! What about some homework? Fill in the words according to your needs after printing it. Simple photocopies can give you multiple worksheets. The problem with the photocopies is that you miss the colours. In this case, I think colours are really important because I use blue for Simple Present. I believe that whenever they see a verb in blue, they understand the use of the tense. I hope you find my Simple Present tips and tricks useful. If you do find them useful, be sure to follow me on Facebook , English Tricks 4U, Pinterest or Scoopit and sign up for emails to keep up with all the latest ideas. You might also enjoy some of my posts on my personal page on FB.