Grade: Middle

#2893. Keeping verb tense consistent

Reading/Writing, level: Middle
Posted Fri Jul 11 11:30:48 PDT 2003 by Celeste (
Materials Required: teacher hand-out, paper, pen or pencil
Activity Time: 2 class periods / homework
Concepts Taught: recognizing inconsistent verb tense usage, writing in one consistent tense

Language Arts
Grade 8

Inconsistent Verb Tense:
Writing in one consistent tense has been identified as a weakness among eighth grade writers. It is a common error that should be self-caught through proof reading one's own work, through peer editing and revision.

Goal: Students will improve their personal and academic writing by use of one consistent verb tense.

Students will identify teacher errors in the writing examples.
Students will correct these errors as they rewrite each example.
Students will apply this skill to their own writing.

Materials: Correcting pen or highlighter
Ballpoint pen and paper

Rewrite each of these paragraphs, correcting any changes in verb tense that you find.
Underline or highlight all errors in my examples.

1. Today started like any other. I got up, ate breakfast and sat down to read the paper. As I was reading my dog comes into the room and starts to bark. Not his usual "I'm hungry, feed me" whine, but he is really upset about something! I run to the window to look out but I saw nothing.


2. This is the perfect present! It is functional, pretty and desperately needed.
While I can't say that I always picked the greatest gifts, I must say that this one was ideal! I knew that it was just what she wanted. She always talks about having one, so I know that I didn't go wrong this time.


3. My story begins with the setting sun over the Grand Canyon. What a beautiful sight! The light shined in such a way that it looked like jewels dancing in the sun. I can see very little now, as the shadows take over and night begins to fall. I had waited for this moment for a long time. The stars were coming out!


4. The only words that we were able to read on the paper are wisdom and truth. All the other words are either misspelled or smudged, because the printer was not working correctly, and the writer is not a very good speller. So when I tried to read it aloud, I am the one who appears incompetent.


5. One of the most important battles of the Revolutionary War occurred in September and October 1777 at Saratoga, N.Y. The leader of the British troops, General John Burgoyne, set up camp near Saratoga and is planning to march South to the city of Albany. Burgoyne's army has been recently weakened by the American militia who had
ambushed some troops in Bennington, VT. The march to Albany is a dangerous one but Burgoyne decided to take the risk because he feels bound by his orders from London.

6. Meanwhile, also near Saratoga, the American troops under General Horatio Gates and General Philip Schuyler gather reinforcements and supplies. The American forces outnumbered the British enemies by a margin of two to one. The Americans are much better equipped than the British, whose provisions were badly depleted. Despite these disadvantages, the British opened an attack on the Americans. After four hours of fierce fighting, the Americans withdraw.


102 points possible, based on the following scale:

Each paragraph is worth a possible 17 points.
The error identified and corrected will have a varying weight depending on how many actual errors are present in each paragraph.
Example: 17 available points divided by 4 errors contained in sample paragraph = 4.25 points for every correct answer.

95-102 = A 86-94 = B 79-85 + C 65-79 = D below 65 failing