Aspects of the Verb



To give the child an intuition into different aspects of the verb.

Control of Error
The directress

5 years onwards

Presentation 1: Transitive and Intransitive

– Supply tray
– Grammar symbols

Presentation Stage A: Duration

    1. Have the children bring over the materials.
    2. Tell the children that you are going to write some things for them to do.
    3. Write a verb and have the child read it and then do the action.
    4. When the child stops, tell the child that you didn’t ask him to stop.
    5. Write another action for a child to do but make this one a short action such as “open a box”
    6. Ask the child who is still moving how they are doing.
    7. Give the next child a short action as well such as “write your name”.
    8. Once done, have the first child come back.
    9. Have the first child read their slip of paper and show that it just tells the child to do the action but it doesn’t say for how long or the duration of the movement.
    10. Have the other children read their slips again and ask how they knew when the action was over. For example, the action was done once the child had finished writing him name.

Stage B: Object

  1. Collect all of the slips of paper.
  2. Write an action with duration on a piece of paper such as
  3. Give another child a written action of duration such “tip-toe”.
  4. Have these two children continue their action.
  5. Give the third child an action with a definitive end, such as
    “sharpen”. Tell the child, “Oh, you need more information!”
  6. Write on another slip of paper “a pencil” and place it in front of “sharpen”. Discuss if this makes sense.
  7. Change the order so that it does make sense.
  8. Allow the children to continue their action for a given amount of time.
  9. Talk about the different actions and how long of an action they were.
  10. Talk about how the word “sharpen” needed an object in order to do the action. So some actions need an object or you can’t do the action.
  11. Then have each child use the correct symbols for only the verbs.
  12.  Pick up the slips of paper and replace the symbols.

Presentation 2: Present and Past

– Supply tray
– Grammar symbols


  1. Give each child an action to do in the present, such as dust the shelf, trace a letter, or bring a vase.
  2. Go over to the child and ask him what he is doing. He should say, “I’m dusting the shelf.”
  3. Then ask him to say, “I am dusting the shelf” as he is dusting.
  4. Then have the child come back to the table.
  5. Ask the child what he did. He should say, “I dusted the shelf.”
  6. You can answer, “Ah, you dusted the shelf. So you are done dusting. When you are done, dusting changes to dusted.” Emphasis the ending.
  7.  Turn to the child tracing the letter and ask him what he is doing.
  8. “I am tracing a letter.”
  9. You can answer, “Ah, you are tracing the letter because you are doing it right now.”
  10. Have the child stop and ask what he did. “I traced a letter”
  11. You can answer, “Ah, you traced the letter because you are now done with the action.”
  12. Bring attention to the child that the word changes when we talk about what we are doing or when we talk about something we have stopped doing.
  13. Do the same for the third child. You may want to choose a verb that changes completely in the past tense. For example you could have, “Bring a vase.” This would change to, “You brought a vase.”
  14. Find the action word and symbolize it.

Presentation 3: Mental Action


– Supply tray
– Grammar symbols


  1. Write mental action on a slip of paper. E.g. “imagine a chocolate cake” or “think a good thought”.
  2. Have a child read it and then do it looking at another child.
  3. Play with it and ask the child if they are really doing the action.
  4. Give each child a mental action in turn.
  5. Have each child read their slips of paper and talk about what they thought of if they would like.
  6. Talk about how we don’t need to move our bodies for some actions. We can be perfectly still and think.
  7. Have the child symbolize the word that told them what to do.

Presentation 4: Change of Action: Verb to Noun


– Supply tray
– Grammar symbols


  1. Write an action for the child to do such as “dress a doll”, “ride the train” or “tie a bow”.
  2. Have the child read it and then do it. (It will be mimed)
  3. Give each child a mimed action to do.
  4. Have the child mark the action word with a symbol.
  5. “Let’s do something that is quite interesting.”
  6. Cut the action word that is at the beginning of the phrase and place it at the back of the phrase.
  7. Have the child read it and see that it makes sense.
  8. Ask the child if there is an action word here.
  9. Point to the child that by changing the order of words, the same word that told us something to do, no longer does. Sometimes a word can be an action word and sometimes it isn’t. So the symbol is no longer needed.
  10. Replace the words in the original order and replace the symbol.
  11. Repeat for the other children’s slips of paper.

Exercise: Verb Box 2: Action with an Object


– Box with prepared action phrases
– Verb Box 2 – action with an object

  • Have a child choose a card from the box and read it.
  • Then have the child act it out using the appropriate object.
  • Symbolize the action.
  • Leave the child to work with it alone

Exercise 1

The child can work on his own

Exercise 2

The children can write these in a list of make a booklet.

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