I had the opportunity to work with students and reinforce passive voice formation, when and how to use it, and evaluate their work to see if they were using it appropriately.
Here is a video of that lesson.
(It's also the same video that is on the front page of this blog.)
I start teaching in this video at about 3:25 – it’s a lesson I created with the support of my cooperation teacher Debra Snell for Structure and Composition IV at GSU’s IEP Spring Semester of 2016, right before spring break, so early March. I really enjoyed the collaboration with this class – it got me thinking for the first time about teaching writing to speakers and writers of other languages and the challenges involved with all aspects of the process.
The lesson was created to reinforce and re-teach the following. Students have had previous exposure to the rules of passive voice but were struggling with when to use it and form would be the next lesson in the series.
When to use the passive voice:
1) When you want to hide the actor or the person doing the action
a. Mistakes were made
2) When you don’t know the actor or the person doing the action
3) When the actor is unimportant
a. Focus on action, not actor
4) Scientific and technical writing
a. Cures for diseases – the cure is important, not the person who found it
Here is my lesson plan for this lesson:
1) Greetings/Introduction -- Good morning! Today we will think back to that time in writing class when your teacher said “Please use the Passive Voice here” on your essay.
2) Elicit student prior knowledge by asking – what do you remember about the passive voice? When did you talk about it last in class? If needed, remind students of the Grammar activity the completed recently and the poster created by that group. Share that today will be a day that hopefully clarifies some information about the passive voice
3) Share Lesson Goals with students – By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:
a. Tell a partner when it is appropriate to use Passive Voice instead of Active Voice
b. Identify when the passive voice is used in writing
i. What form do you see?
c. Change an active voice sentence to a passive voice sentence
4) Form on Power Point – Show slide 5
a. Talk about which tenses students see and why they are used.
b. Ask: Do we know WHO DID THE BREAKING of the window in each sentence?
c. Show handout with chart of tenses and go over the chart as a whole group.
5) Tell: One reason we use passive voice is when we don’t know who is responsible for the action of the sentence.
6) Go through other examples on slides. Ask students verbally and as a whole class to identify things like the subject of the sentence – and who is performing the action.
7) Point out in slide 7 that it is common to use a prepositional phrase with by when forming passive voice.
8) Talk about pictures on slide 8.
9) Give task.
10) Task #1 – Identify passive voice in 5 sentences. See handout. Ss will have handout in D2L, hopefully.
a. Students will follow my model and directions and complete this task independently, and check with a partner. They can use the resources on D2L and the discussion notes from earlier.
11) Handout two: How to change passive to active and active to passive. T will model and students will complete independently – then check whole class.
12) Homework – handout three – Paragraph
13) Ask for questions.
14) End of lesson.
Below are the materials I reference during the lesson and what the students are looking at. I will also attach my power point presentation for closer viewing.
One of the important points about passive voice is understanding when to use it.
Remember the reasons discussed in the presentation:
1) When you don’t know WHO did the action.
2) When you know WHO did the action, but it’s NOT IMPORTANT.
3) When you know WHO did the action, but don’t want to say.
4) When you are writing in the subjects of SCIENCE and talking about experiments.
With each of the following sentences:
a. UNDERLINE the passive voice construction.
b. Identify the subject of the sentence. Who is doing the action? (Sometimes you won’t know.)
c. Identify why (1, 2, 3, or 4) passive voice is being used. (This sentence was written in passive voice by Jennifer.) J
Ready? Here we go.
1. Six people were injured in the accident.
a. See above
b. The accident is the thing that did the act of injuring the people. The accident injured; subject = accident
c. This is an example of reason #1 or #3 = I know it was an accident, but I don’t know who was driving or involved. I don’t know what caused the accident.
See if you can do these independently.
2. Oranges are grown in Florida.
3. It seems that an error was made.
4. It has been said that the President will retire after this term in office.
How to change from passive to active:
1) Identify the subject of the sentence – who is doing the action?
2) Identify the verb of the sentence – is the action being done?
3) Take out the passive form – usually the BE with the participle.
4) Make sure to stay consistent with the verb tense.
1) Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony was performed masterfully by the university orchestra.
a. What is the action?
b. Who did the action?
c. Where is the passive voice construction? Underline it.
d. What would this look like in the active voice?
You can do these for practice – 5 minutes independently, check with a partner
2) Quarterly reports will be submitted along with statistics charting sales for each product.
3) The report has been carefully reviewed by a team of unbiased individuals who were not part of the original project.
4) An attempt was made to ensure that all item types were sampled proportionally.
These sentences should be written in passive voice. They are currently in active voice. Decide why, and then re-write the sentence using active voice.
1) The teachers have made a lot of changes in the curriculum.
2) The administrators have cancelled some popular classes.
3) People grow a lot of rice Japan.
4) The police are questioning the subject right now.
5) The team revised the budget a few months ago.
6) The students will finish the report of the factory tour in class tomorrow.
7) The biologists will complete the experiment tomorrow.
FOR HOMEWORK: Due Friday – March 11
Read the following description of growing cinnamon in Sri Lanka and pay attention to the passive voice. This reading was taken from the cookbook Bon Appetit: Tastes of the World.
It may help to underline or highlight the passive voice in the passage above.
Think about spices that are most commonly used in your country. Where are they grown? How are they harvested? How are they used in cooking? Write a few sentences about spices in your country.
Write 5 sentences about spices and how they are used in cooking in your country below. Make sure to use the passive voice.