Gerund Activities for Elementary School

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

Understanding gerunds is important to help elementary school students vary their sentence structure when writing. Use these activities to help students identify gerunds and include them in their written work.

Fun with Gerunds

Teaching grammar is essential in helping students develop good verbal and written communication skills. As elementary school students learn about language, it's important for them to understand how words can sometimes play different roles in a sentence. By identifying and using gerunds, students can begin to see the diverse ways in which they can craft sentences. This contributes to their ability to write more interesting and detailed sentences.

Let's look at some activities for elementary school students to identify and utilize gerunds.

Gerund Machine

Teacher Directions

  1. Review the definition of a gerund with the students.
  2. Have the class line up in a single file line across the front of the classroom.
  3. Tell the students that they will be creating a Gerund Machine and each student will play an important role in it.
  4. Have the first student say, ''I enjoy _____.'' The student should say a gerund to complete the sentence and perform an action to show the gerund. For example, if a student said, ''I enjoy running.'', they could run in place.
  5. The next student in line will repeat the phrase ''I enjoy _____,'' repeat the first person's gerund, and add a gerund and action of his/her own. So it would sound like, I enjoy running and sitting.
  6. This process will be repeated until the last student in line repeats everyone's gerund and adds his/her own gerund and action.
  7. During the activity, once a student performs his/her gerund action, he/she must keep doing the action to make sure the 'machine' keeps running until the last student has added his/her gerund.

Discussion Questions

  • What other sentence starters could we have used instead of 'I enjoy' for our gerunds?
  • Why do you think I had you perform an action for your gerund? What does this tell us about verbs and gerunds?

Pick a Side

Materials

  • List of sentences (with and without gerunds)

Teacher Directions

  1. Review the definition of a gerund. Discuss different examples of gerunds being used as the subject of a sentence or a direct object.
  2. Have the students stand in the center of the classroom.
  3. Designate one side of the room for 'gerunds' and the other side of the room 'not gerunds'.
  4. One at a time read your list of sentences.
  5. After you read each sentence, have the students select a side of the room to stand on indicating whether or not the sentence had a gerund in it. Review with the students the correct answer.
  6. Continue the game until time runs out or you use all the sentences on your list.

Discussion Questions

  • Was there a particular sentence that was hard for you to determine if it had a gerund or not? Why?
  • How were you able to tell if there was a gerund in the sentence?

Gerund Silly Stories

Materials

  • Notebook paper
  • Pencils
  • Blank paper (optional)
  • Markers, colored pencils, and/or crayons (optional)

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