Nov
01

Teaching the “s”, “es” plural rule

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making-words-plural

I promised my readers that I would provide them with some real tools that they could use to teach their students real skills. I have already posted one rule about spelling entitled “A More Effective Way to Teach Spelling”. If you have not already done so I might suggest that you read it first.

It is time to post another spelling lesson to help parents, teachers, therapists and kids to learn to spell more words, more easily.

There are more than a dozen specific rules about spelling. Most of them are found in the writings of Zig Engelmann and Bob Dixon, two incredible Direct Instruction designers.

Most people can only come up with about 2 spelling rules (e.g. “i” before “e” except after “c”, and “change the “y” to “i” to make words that end in “y” plural.)

Over the coming weeks and months, I will introduce you to a dozen or so more.

Let’s proceed with the “s”/“es” plural rule. Please note that this lesson is another example of the Maloney Method.

This is a Direct Instruction lesson.

  • This lesson includes Behavior Management by providing points for the student to earn and trade for something they want.
  • This lesson has a Precision Teaching component by providing a one-minute timing to see how well the student can use the rule compared to a known standard for writing word.
  • This is a complete, foolproof recipe for teaching students to use “s” or “es” to pluralize words.
  • Everything you do is written in normal script.
  • Everything you say is written in bold script.
  • Everything the student says is in italic script

This rule teaches students when to use “s” and “es” to make words plural. This rule applies to thousands of words, particularly nouns. Here is the recipe for teaching this rule. Read it carefully, then present it to the student.

Say to the student, “Now we are going to learn a rule about making words plural. When you make a word plural you add either an “s” or “es” as an ending. There is a rule to help you decide which one to use. Here is the rule. Listen. If the word ends with ch, sh, s, x, or z, use es to make it plural. Listen again. If the word ends with ch, sh, s, x, or z, use es to make it plural.
Say to the student, “Say that rule with me. Ready. Say the rule with the student, “If the word ends with ch, sh, s, x, or z, use es to make it plural. Good saying that rule. Let’s say the rule together again. Ready. If the word ends with ch, sh, s, x, or z, use es to make it plural.” Repeat the rule with the student until the student can say the rule quickly and correctly.
Say to the student, “Now it is your turn to say the rule all by yourself. Ready.”
Student says, “If the word ends with ch, sh, s, x, or z, use es to make it plural.”
Say to the student, “That’s correct. Say the rule for me one more time. Ready.”
Student says, “If the word ends with ch, sh, s, x, or z, use es to make it plural.”
Say to the student, “That’s very good. Here is the second part of that rule Listen. If the word does not end with sh, ch, s, x, or z, use s to make it plural. Listen again. If the word does not end with sh, ch, s, x, or z, use s to make it plural.
Say to the student, “Say that rule with me. Ready. Say the rule with the student,  “If the word does not end with ch, sh, s, x, or z, use s to make it plural. Good saying that rule. Let’s say the rule together again. Ready. If the word does not end with ch, sh, s, x, or z, use s to make it plural.” Repeat the rule with the student until the student can say the rule quickly and correctly.
Say to the student, “Now it is your turn to say that part of the rule all by yourself. Ready.”
Student says, “If the word does not end with ch, sh, s, x, or z, use s to make it plural.”
Say to the student, “That’s correct. Say the rule for me one more time. Ready.”
Student says, “If the word does not end with ch, sh, s, x, or z, use s to make it plural.”
Say to the student, “Now let’s see how we use those rules to make words plural.” Write the list of words on a sheet of paper or on the board.
pitch
blast
singer
buzz
box
belt
brush
rich
dress

Say to the student, “Read the first word in the list.” Student reads, “pitch”.
Say to the student, “Does pitch end with sh, ch, s, x or z?”
Student says, “yes”.
Say to the student, “Which one does it end with?”
Student says, “It ends with ch”
Say to the student, “Use your rule to figure out if you add s or es to make it plural. Which ending will you use to make pitch plural?”
Student say, “You use es to make it plural.”
Say to the student, “That’s correct. Pitch ends with ch so you use es to make it plural. Spell pitches”
Student spells, “p-i-t-c-h-e-s”
Say to the student, “That’s correct. Read the next word on the list.”
Student reads, “blast”
Say to the student, “Does blast end with ch, sh, s, x, or z”
Student says, “No”
Say to the student, “So do you use s or es to make blast plural?”
Student says, “You use s to make blast plural.”
Say to the student, “That’s correct. Spell blasts.”
Student spells, “B-l-a-s-t-s”
Say to the student, “Good using your rule to spell blast”
Repeat for each word in the list.

Worksheet Exercise
Say to the student, “Here is a list of words. Some of these words end with ch, sh, s x, or z.” Some of these words do not end with ch, sh, s, x, or z. You have to use your rule to add the correct ending to make each of these words plural. I will correct you work when you have finished.”

Word List
bark ________________           march _________________
jar _________________            cash ___________________
hoax ________________          word ___________________
glass _______________           stem _________________
flake _______________            flock  _________________
thrush _______________         shape ________________
buzz _________________        docks _________________
flame _________________       flush    _________________
craze _______________          glaze __________________
paint ________________         brush ________________
laugh ______________            joke ___________________
plaza ______________            plush _________________

Student completes the assignment by writing the correct plural words in the spaces.

Corrections
Once the student has completed the worksheet, correct each word to make sure that it has the right ending. Review any errors as follows.
Say to the student, “Look at this word. Does it end with ch,sh, s, x, or z?” Student answers “Yes” or “No”.
Say to the student, “So do you use “s” or “es to make it plural?”
Student answers either, “s” or “es” depending on the example.
Say to the student, “That’s correct. Change the ending so that it follows the rule.”

The One-Minute Timing
Say to the student, “Now we are going to do a one-minute timing to see how well you can use the “s”, es rule to make words plural. Here is another sheet of words. I am gong to give you one minute to write as many correct plural words as you can. Write the answers in the blanks beside the words. Remember to use your rule. When I say ‘Please begin’, start writing as many words as you can. When the minute is up, I will say ‘Thank you’. Make a mark after the last word you write so we can see where you stopped. Ready. Please begin.”

After one minute, say to the student, “Thank you. Now let’s count the number you did. I will check your work for any errors. Then we will chart your score for today and see if you did better than the last time.”
Correct the student’s work, count the number correct and the number of errors and record the scores on the student’s chart. Review the data with the student.
Say to the student, “When you are fluent in using this rule, you should be able to write the answers for 20 to 30 words in one minute. Today you did X words per minute with Y errors.”
Determine if that score is an improvement and whether or not the student has reached fluency with this rule. Repeat procedure until the student can write 20- 30 words per minute with no more than 2 errors. Have the student complete the worksheet as an independent exercise.

Points/Rewards
If you are using a points system, award points for good work. Points can be awarded for

Listening to Instructions     1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10    Bonus ____

Following Directions           1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10  Bonus ____

Working Hard                     1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10  Bonus ____

Completing Homework       1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   Bonus ____

Doing Fluency Check        1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10    Bonus ____

Total Points ________

Worksheet for “s”, “es” endings to make words plural

1.     back ________________            31.    box _______________
2.     change ______________            32.    clan _______________
3.     buzz ________________             33.    catch _______________
4.     grass _______________             34.    match _______________
5.     brush _______________             35.    glove _______________
6.     mass ________________            36.    gas _________________
7.     hope _______________              37.    branch ______________
8.     witch _______________              38.     flash ________________
9.     trick ________________             39.     block ________________
10.   bunch _______________            40.    crash ________________
11.   space _______________             41.    cell __________________
12.   flower _______________             42.    pass _________________
13.   haze ________________             43.    bloom ________________
14.   winch _______________              44.   clam _________________
15.   smell ________________            45.    bird _________________
16.   birch ________________            46.    sign _________________
17.   fuzz ________________              47.    care _________________
18.   night ________________            48.    latch ________________
19.   lock  _________________          49.    muzzle _______________
20.   tax _________________             50.    clutch _______________
21.   hoax _________________          51.    muscle _________________
22.   class _________________         52.    sock __________________
23.   cover ________________          53.    craze _________________
24.   patch ________________          54.    pitch ________________
25.   coax _________________         55.    ranch _________________
26.   crow _________________         56.    mask ________________
27.   quiz _________________          57.    snake ________________
28.   crust ________________          58.    crush _________________
29.   snatch     _______________     59     snack ________________
30.   glove ________________         60.    sash _________________

Directed Practice
Provide the student with copies of the worksheet. Have them close their eyes and touch the sheet so that they do not always start in the same place.
Do a one-minute timing and then have them finish the sheet while you watch. Correct their work. Count the errors and the number written correctly during the one-minute timing and chart it on their graph.
Keep practicing daily for a few minutes per day until they can write 20-30 plural words per minute with no more than 2 errors.

Independent Practice
If the student is making 2 or fewer errors during a one-minute timing, but is not at 20-30 words written correctly per minute, you can allow them to practice independently.

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