Monday, October 09, 2006

F*cking Past Participle!

The kids clearly do NOT understand the past participle. Dude, they can't even spell it. They call it the past particle. Snerk. Particles are in atoms, not in grammar!

The past tense they've got down. They know it so well that they try to use it for other tenses, in fact!

The future tense they mostly have, except they don't seem to know that the "will" in "will run" is still part of the verb phrase.

The present tense they do NOT have all the way, either. They either use the present perfect or future or past tense. "Today I will run." Or "Today I won the game." ?!

For the past hour and a half, I have looked for materials to reinforce this. I found a bunch of different resources. One great thing I will certainly use is a table with irregular verb families and a corresponding quiz. The BBC Skillswise has some great worksheets that seem to clearly explain the different types of present and past tenses--simple present and continuous present (present perfect?) (the difference between "I dance" and "I am dancing") and simple past and continuous past ("I drove" versus "I was driving").

Many kids use the totally wrong tense in the past. Like this: "Last month I had written three poems." Or "This summer my grandma had die." It's so wrong! But to explain it is kind of complicated. I'm going to use these resources as a tool to attempt to make them see why it's wrong. If it's done and completed, then it's simple past. If it shows something that started in the past but continued, then it's past participle. If it started in the past and continued into the present when something else happened, then it's continuous past. Argh! I hope they get it.

I found a bunch of quizzes and worksheets to practice and check different tenses. I'll use those with the whole class later this week, and use some other ones as individual extra practice.

Wish me luck! More than that, wish me patience!


CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

For some reason, kids and verbs, any verbs, just don't seem to get along--as you're discovering. So I do wish you luck. But don't be surprised if patience comes in handier!

Jason said...

Loved the title of your blog post. Searching for information on the irregular past participle. Teaching verbals this week. My students want to label anything and everything that crawls ending in -ed as a past participle--even verbs. I throw irregulars into the mix with verbs ending in -ed and they insist on labeling these guys as past participles. Go figure.

Although I don't know you, I'm marking your blog as a favorite in case you post some more good resources for us grammar teachers.

yokohamalion said...

Explain that the present perfect reflects an experience that a person has had and that time is not important. It's not a "time" sentence as opposed to the past tense which is all about time.

I've been to Rome. EXP.
I went to Rome, last week. TIME