Monday, January 20, 2014

Lesson Plan: Compound Subjects and Agreement with Verbs

In the following lesson plan, students will learn about compound subjects and their agreements with verbs.  The lesson will transition from teacher instruction to guided practice.  During student practice, students will get a chance to create silly sentences, but with the correct subject and verb agreements!

Minilesson TopicCompound Subjects and Agreement with Verbs

Grade Level: 6th, can be adapted for other grades

Subject: Language Arts

Background: This grammar minilesson on the agreement between compound subjects and verbs will be taught to 6th grade students.  Students have already learned about subjects, verbs, and compound subjects. They have learned about subject-verb agreement, but this will be their first introduction to subject-verb agreement for compound subjects.

Objectives/Goals: Students will be able to write the proper agreement between compound subjects and their verbs.

Rationale/State Standards: CC.1.4.4: Demonstrate a grade appropriate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and spelling.


  • Use two different colors of paper to make two sets of note cards. One set of cards will contain the subjects (mixed with single subjects and compound subject). The second set will contain verbs. 
  • Cut up loose leaf paper into small strips to use for exit cards. 
  • Poster board with basic rules 
  • Whiteboard, markers, eraser
  • Pencil, loose leaf paper

  • Briefly review what subjects and verbs are by asking students. 
    • Subject: person, place, thing, or idea that is doing or being something. 
    • Verb: expresses actions, events, or states of being, regarding the subject.
  • Briefly review compound subjects by asking students. Also ask for an example. 
    • Compound subjects: two or more subjects joined by a conjunction. 
      • Example: A boy and a girl 
  • Briefly review definition of singular and plural by asking students. Also ask for examples. 
    • Singular: one noun, verb stem with an “s” 
      • Example: He sits
    • Plural: more than one noun, verb stem without an “s” 
      • Example: They sit
  • Briefly review: 
    • Singular subjects need singular verbs. 
      • Example: My brother is a doctor. 
    • Plural subjects need plural verbs. 
      • Example: My sisters are very talkative.
Poster containing rules for compound subjects and agreement with verbs.
Teacher Modeling/Guided Practice:  Explain and apply grammar rules for compound subjects and verb agreement:
  • When the word “and” is used, it is combining two subjects, so a plural verb is used. Refer to poster. 
    • Put example on whiteboard: The tiger and lion was/were the main attraction at the zoo. 
      • Have students identify the compound subject by boxing it. (tiger and lion). 
      • Circle the correct word (were). 
  • When using “or” or “nor,” make the verb agree with the part closest to the verb because "or" and "nor" indicate a choice and not addition. The verb could be singular or plural depending on the part closest to the conjunction. Look at the last subject. Explain how you can cover up the first part of the sentence to find the agreement. Refer to poster.
    • Put the example on the whiteboard: A check or cash is/are accepted at the restaurant. 
      • Have the students identify the compound subjects by boxing it. (cash or check)
      • Circle the correct word (is) 
    • Put the example on the whiteboard: Neither the teacher nor students was/were sad about summer vacation. 
      • Have the students identify the compound subjects by boxing it. (teacher nor students) 
      • Circle the correct word (were) 
Student Practice:
  • Students will work in pairs. Each pair will receive two sets of cards (one set contains subjects, the second verbs). 
  • Each student will pick one card from each set. Using the words on the cards, one student must come up with a sentence and write it down. He or she must alter the words on the cards so that the subject card agrees with the words on the verb card. Even if the words are unrelated, the students can still make up a silly sentence. 
  • Using the sentence, the other partner must orally identify the compound subject (if there is one) and what the agreement is. The partner will determine if the agreement was correctly used. If the usage was incorrect, the partners will work together and fix the sentence on the paper. 
  • The students will reverse roles each turn so that each partner can make a sentence. Each pair will do about five sentences. 
    •  Example: 
      • Noun card: Spongebob or Patrick 
      • Verb card: eat/eats 
      • Sentence: Spongebob or Patrick eats at the Krusty Krab.

Orange cards represent the verb cards.  Blue cards represent the nouns.  Students will randomly pick a card from each category and create a silly sentence using the words on the card.  The trick is that they have to use the correct verb agreement for the noun represented on the card.
Closure:  Students will write an exit slip. On the slip, they will write two sentences: one using the correct compound subject-verb agreement for and “and,” and the other using the correct compound subject-verb agreement for “or”/”nor”.

Follow Up:
  • Students will have a future homework assignment that is a worksheet, helping them practice the compound subject-verb agreement. 
  • Students will have to write examples of sentences with compound subjects using correct verb agreement in future writing assignments, as it will appear on a rubric. 
  • Students will have to fill in the correct verb agreement for compound subjects on future assessments.
  • Students will work in pairs so they can be assisted by their partners. 
  • Students can refer to the poster board with the grammar rules if needed.
Reflection:  Students may have trouble understanding the rule for “or”/”nor.” They may think it is the same rule for “and.” It gets complicated because it depends on if the compound subject is plural or not, so it may confuse students. To help with confusion, show more examples.  More examples help students understand the different rules.  On the other hand, students will enjoy making their sentences silly, even though it allows them to practice using the correct usage for subject-verb agreement.

1 comment:

  1. A verb is the part of speech that relates to a state of being or an action. It is also known, less formally, as an action word. They are often the nucleus of any statement, and each sentence must contain one. Distinguishing what the verb is in a statement is fundamental to comprehending what that statement means.What subjects and verbs must do