If your children have, had or have had difficulty with irregular, here are some fun resources to try to make those pesky non-conformist words stick
It’s often pointed out that the English language, comprised as it is from a number of different sources, is a confusing beast.
It’s all fine and dandy when it’s following the rules, but then a word like ‘forbid’ comes along and all of a sudden you’re dealing with ‘forbidden’, ‘forbade’ and ‘forbad’.
That’s before you even get to those that seemingly no one ever bothered to invent a word for all of its forms: ‘I can’, ‘I could’ and er…‘I have been able’.
I guess ‘I have coulded’ sounded too weird.
But at least poking fun at these irregularities has produced some great results, from the old Eddie Izzard bit about the verb ‘to hanglide’
To this line in the mostly incredible (Seriously. Don’t judge it against the other awful ‘Not Another…’ movies that came later) Not Another Teen Movie, when Jaime Pressley’s character delivers an excellent comeback to someone challenging her to ‘bring it’.
Teaching these exceptions then, is important, but tricky. So we’ve picked out some fun and helpful resources for you.
Naturally, the quickest and easiest thing to do is print a nice colourful poster listing common irregular verbs to display in your classroom. Here’s one.
Maybe don’t put it up until after you’ve done your lessons covering them, though, especially if you plan on doing a quick test. You might find a correlation between highest score and proximity to the poster.
The first includes verbs where all three forms – present, simple past and past participle – are the same:
The second is those where the simple past and past participle are the same, but the present differs:
And the third is where all three forms differ:
On to some activities now. You can find a whole bunch here for various levels, including this board game idea that gets children to use irregular verbs in sentences to win.
This short and sweet idea tells a brief story of the narrator’s weekend, however every verb has been written as the infinitive plus the suffix ‘-ed’. Children need to read through the story and correct each one.
This two-player interactive game works exactly on this basis, asking children to fill in the blanks with the correct irregular verbs. For example you’ll get a question like:
Fill in the past tense of “read”: Robert ___ three new books this past month.
Simple, challenging and fun.