https://sbt-test.azurewebsites.net/articles/e/teaching-verbs

Using Comics to Teach Verbs

English as a Second Language

By Jessica Miller

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Storyboard That can’t be used to teach all English grammar concepts, but it’s really helpful for introducing and reinforcing lessons as well as for demonstrating concepts visually. While experimenting with how to use Storyboard That to teach and reinforce verbs, I found that it's an especially excellent way for ESL teachers to introduce and organize verbs. It's also a fun way for students to practice using verbs and the different tenses.

However, I did realize that there are some limitations in using storyboards and comics to teach more advanced verb lessons. For example, teaching and demonstrating certain tenses - like the Past or Future Perfect - is not easy to do. I think it’s better to use Storyboard That to create exercises to practice more advanced concepts rather than using it to introduce or teach a new lesson.

On the other hand, Storyboard That is geared more toward younger students, so you're probably not teaching advanced topics as often with Storyboard That. This doesn’t mean it can’t be beneficial for adult or advanced students. It’s definitely a fun, visual way for these students to practice their skills, do exercises, and see grammatical concepts laid out in a neat, organized way.

Overall, most of the storyboards that I included here for teaching verbs are more introductory and basic. These are just some ideas - they can be reworked or extended to serve various purposes and student levels.


Introducing Verbs for ESL Students

For basic-level students, Storyboard That is incredibly useful for introducing verbs to students. There are several layouts that can demonstrate what verbs are, but I used the "Spider Map" layout so that I could show several examples of action words. I wrote and illustrated several basic present-tense verbs centered around the word "Verbs." I think this layout clearly shows what verbs are through both the word itself and a depiction of it. Students can get comfortable with the types of words classified as "verbs."



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It's very easy to add more verbs to the storyboard, and even make several categories of verbs rather than just the action verbs that I have chosen in the example above. To turn this into an activity, you can add blank cells and ask the students to think of and depict more verbs.

Verb Tenses: Past, Present, Future

As I mentioned, Storyboard That is not necessarily ideal for introducing and illustrating more advanced tenses like the Perfect, so I kept it simple and focused on the main tenses. To introduce the three main tenses, past, present, future, I used the "Timeline" layout because it allows students to understand the difference in time visually and why we use the different tenses. Again, this storyboard is more for basic, introductory lessons, but it sure beats the usual charts and sentence examples.



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Choose one verb to focus on and depict it in each tense, but I chose to provide an example of a few different verbs so students can see the tenses for a variety of verbs. You can have your students practice by asking them to come up with examples of verbs, put them in the correct place on the timeline, and then use images to illustrate them.

Regular Verbs: Present, Past, Future

This storyboard presents some regular verbs with their present, past, and future form. The first two rows can be used to explain how to form the past and future of regular verbs, while the last two can be used as exercises to reinforce what you just explained. The students can use images to illustrate the verb and then fill in the blanks in the other cells. Add more verbs or add to it each lesson, or even leave cells blank for students to fill in entirely.



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Irregular Verbs: Present, Past, Future

Depending on the level of the students, you can adjust the storyboards and activities for each lesson. In the example below, the cells on the left are blank so that students can use images to illustrate the verb. This storyboard introduces some irregular verbs and their past, present, and future forms. It’s organized more like a chart, which is perhaps better for older or a bit more advanced students. I have used different colors for the different tenses to help students associate the various forms with each color. Ask the students to make an example sentence for each subject + verb conjugation. Again, you can add more irregular verbs to this storyboard and use it creatively to teach students.



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Confusing Verbs: Look, See, Watch



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For certain confusing words and verbs like "look," "see," and "watch," Storyboard That is a great tool to teach and even illustrate the subtle differences between them. In the storyboard above, I have focused on three similar but grammatically different verbs; the storyboard uses images to show students how each is used as well as a written description of when each is used. The bottom three cells are blank for students to create their own examples.

The Infinitive: Uses

This storyboard is perhaps the most advanced one I have included. I used the "Title, Cell & Description" layout; in the "Title" section, I wrote each purpose; in the "Cell," I created an example; and in the "Description" section, I wrote a brief explanation of the use of the given infinitive. I did not include all of the uses of the infinitive - though you certainly could - because I feel that introducing a few at a time is better as it allows the students to fully grasp each one. You can even add cells to allow students to make examples of their own.



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Other Ways to Use Storyboard That to Teach Verbs

Though I have not included any here, you can make all kinds of story-based storyboards that students can add to, finish, or fill in with verbs. These types of activities would obviously follow a lesson on verbs and provide an opportunity for students to show what they have learned. There's even a huge selection of worksheet templates if you want to incorporate handouts into your lessons.

Additionally, you can use the "T-Chart" layout to compare different parts of speech, i.e., verbs versus nouns, etc. You can create storyboards in which students have to point out the verb or correct the tense of the verb. You can make mad libs style activities for students to fill in the blanks with verbs, adjectives, nouns, adverbs, etc., to further highlight the differences between the parts of speech and allow them to integrate what they've learned.



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