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Home » Blog » Writing & Language » Grammar » Verb Tenses
Written by: Mary Kate Bolinder

By now, your learners have mastered the basic parts of a sentence. As their writing skills continue to grow, they will need to know how to write stories, and reports that tell what happened in the past, present, or future. Let's dive into verb tenses!

What is verb tense?

Before beginning your lessons on verb tense, do a quick review of the role of verbs in a sentence. Very simply, a verb is an action word. Verb tense tells when an action happened.

The three main verb tenses

  • past tense – already happened
  • present tense – happening now
  • future tense – will happen in the future

In 1st and 2nd grade, students will focus on the simple verb tense. In the simple verb tense, follow this pattern:

For past tense: Add -d or -ed

Example: Talked, Laughed

Some verbs, when changed to past tense, must change their spelling. These are called irregular verbs.

Irregular verb examples

run – ran

sit – sat

think – thought

swim – swam

sing – sang

For present tense: the base verb remains the same, no change

For present tense: add the word “will” before the verb

Example: I will talk, I will laugh

Examples of verb tense

Verb: walk

Past – I walked.

Present – I walk.

Perfect – I will walk.

Did you know: Native English speakers readily recognize verb tense in spoken language? (You can read more about learned language patterns here). But for emerging writers in elementary school, writing a sentence with the correct tense can be a struggle. Encourage students to say their thoughts out loud before they write. Ask, “Does this sound correct?” If it sounds correct to your ear, more than likely, your verb tense is correct!


Activities to Teach Verb Tense

Check out these activities to teach verb tense to your 1st and 2nd grade students. All of these activities are available to download through our All Access Membership. To learn more about All Access, click here.

Verb tense connect 4 game for students
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Make learning verb tense fun with this connect four challenge game. Students will roll the dice and select the correct verb tense. The first player to connect four wins! This is a great game to play with a partner or during small group review.

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a beach themed grammar center focusing on verb tenses
All Access member? Download this free.

These grammar centers feature tense word sorts with engaging pictures. These centers can be used for 1st or 2nd grade level, and even include a digital version.

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toothy task kits

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A 2nd grade grammar worksheet with 5 days of spiral practice on verb tenses that can be used as a writing center, small group, and homework.

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toothy task kits

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Videos and Songs to Teach Verb Tense

The Simple Tense Song by MC Grammar

Past, Present, and Future Verb Tenses by Margaret Stewart

No need to stress about teaching verb tense! Questions about the resources? Ask us in the comments below!


Tips for Teaching Kids Other Grammar Skills

Check out these links below for tips on teaching specific grammar skills.

1 Comment

  1. Aida I Merced

    I loved is exactly what I need for my second grade students in Puerto Rico.

    Reply

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