The topic of -ED and -ING adjectives can be a refreshing one as it gives you the chance to introduce a higher level of new vocabulary as well as open up a whole new world of expressing opinions and feelings for the learner.
The strategies below can be used at varying levels of language acquisition and can be adapted to many different types and lengths of activities.
Introducing –ED and –ING Adjectives
Clearly Define the Difference Between –Ed and –ING Adjectives
Teaching these adjectives can be challenging from the start because students can easily get confused about the differences between the –ED and –ING endings. This confusion often results in humorous mistakes such as “I am exciting.” or “The movie was excited.” Before jumping into too much vocabulary, the first thing you want to explain and show is the differences in use. The best way to explain –ED and ING adjectives is with a diagram on the board or a handout.
Something (noun) is/are interest-ING….
I am/I feel interest-ED in….
Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings
Question the students using examples of adjectives they already know. For example: what is something that is interesting? Have the class make a list under interesting and use a simple sentence structure like above. Then follow that with what are you interested in? You can go through this a few times with adjectives they know (amazing, boring, and exciting are good ones). The point you are making is that
-ED adjectives are used to talk about a person’s feelings or opinions. (These are the receivers of feelings)
-ING adjectives are used to describe things, people, places, activities. (These are the sources of the feelings)
Also point out that often -ED adjectives are also usually followed by small prepositions like in or by.
Engage the Class with Different Types of Comprehension Checks
Define the difference again and do several comprehension checks with students. Other ways to do that are, for example: I am interested vs. I am interesting. The first one means I like it, I want to hear about it. The second one means that I am being described as something people find interesting. You can now do some questioning about people/things in the class and also have students create questions to one another. Here are some examples: who is amazing, what is boring (usually gets a lot of laughs)? Who is challenging? Why are you bored/tired/annoyed today? You can add to this to exercise to have either partner activities or the whole class together doing it in rounds.
Introducing New –Ed and –ING Adjectives
Now that they have had some fun figuring out the difference, it is time to draw out a list of the –ED and –ING adjectives they know and then start introducing the ones that they don’t. Be mindful of their skill level. Do not give them too much new vocabulary too quickly. You can think ahead of time how you are going to define the new words, and generally 10 new words at a time should work really well. Here is comprehensive list to give to them in chunks that you can also expand upon:
Define the words using very concrete examples and examples from real life. After you have done an explanation of a group of words you know they don’t know, then you can move on to doing the more interactive comprehension exercises and focus also on grammatical structure. Often –ED and –ING adjectives relate to one another and may have differing degrees of intensity. For example, how would you differentiate between terrified and frightened? Is there much of a difference?
Create a stack of cards that have one –ED or –ING adjective per card. Have each student choose three cards and make sentences in rounds. You can alter this by having them make questions with their cards, giving them a theme to do with the cards (actors, movies, current events), or having them make a list of five to ten things that have to do with the word on the card. The cards can be used for quick warm-ups or turned into longer, more drawn out class activities.
Create an opinion survey that the students can do in pairs or groups. The questions don’t need to be too forced, but make sure you tell them the point of the activity is to practice –ED and –ING adjectives. For example: What is something that really annoys you?What kinds of movies do you find interesting? Tell us about a time when you were embarrassed.
You could also make these statements or questions into cards and use for warm-ups.
Make a list of varying items: people, places, things, events, activities. Have students tell/write a story about the topic using at least five/ten –ED or –ING adjectives. Examples could be: Madonna, soccer, the beach, a birthday party, my boyfriend/girlfriend, or anything from pop culture, news, or local culture. Have them share their stories.
Teaching –ED and –ING adjectives can be enjoyable for both the teacher and the students.
You can come up with innumerable ways for students to practice, and they will keep learning new words to add to their ever-growing vocabulary. Don’t forget to correct their mistakes and always remember to include humor, patience and encouragement in all of your activities!
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