Helping Verb Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Help students gain a solid understanding of helping verbs with this lesson plan. Students will watch a lesson video explaining what they are and showing how they work with plenty of examples. Active learning throughout this lesson means concepts stick.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define helping verbs
  • identify helping verbs
  • explain how helping verbs work


1 hour for lesson plus time for activity


  • Chart paper and marker

Key Vocabulary

  • Helping verbs

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.1

Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.1.b

Form and use the progressive (e.g., I was walking; I am walking; I will be walking) verb tenses.


  • Connect students to the topic by dividing them into partners and having them list three things they know about verbs. Share as a whole class.
  • Tell students they will be learning about helping verbs and write 'Helping Verbs' on chart paper.
  • Start the video lesson What are Helping Verbs? - Definition & Examples.
  • Pause at 0:58 and write the definition for helping verbs on the chart paper.
  • Create a section titled 'Helping Verbs in the English Language' on your chart paper and allow each student to come up and write one until you have them all recorded.
  • Discuss:
    • What two things can helping verbs tell us about a sentence?
    • Why don't modal helping verbs change according to the subject?
  • Resume the video and pause again at 1:57.
  • Have partners think of two sentences with differing helping verbs that change the meaning and write them down. Share answers as a whole group. Have each group describe how the meaning of their sentence changed.
  • Restart the lesson and pause at 2:43.
  • Create a subsection on your chart titled 'To Be Helping Verbs' and list.
  • Give each partner pair a 'to be' helping verb and ask them to write one sentence in which it is a helping verb and one in which it is a linking.
  • Share as a class and have partners describe why it is helping or linking.
  • Resume the video and pause one last time at 3:31.
  • Title another subsection 'Define Tense' and write the four tenses: present perfect, past perfect, present progressive and past progressive.
  • Have partners choose a helping verb and write one sentence in each tense.
  • Create groups of six and have students share their sentences.
  • Ask:
    • How can differing verbs change tense?
    • How can we tell the difference in tense?
  • Play the remainder of the lesson and take the quiz to check understanding.

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