Teaching Third Grade Writing on Compound Subjects and Predicates

Teaching Third Grade Writing on Compound Subjects and Predicates
Page content

What are Compound Subjects & Predicates?

Teaching third grade writing compound subjects and predicates does not have to be boring. However, student will need some direct instruction of the basic concepts before moving on to applying the concepts in a game and a creative writing activity.

Reviewing Compound Subjects and Predicates

Some third graders may need a review of simple subjects and simple predicates before discussing compound subjects and predicates. The following are definitions with examples that you can share with your students.

Simple Subject: When there is a subject in a sentence, there has to be a verb. Many times, it will be an action verb. The subject is the who or the what that is doing the action. And, it is the focus of the sentence.


Josie ate 10 hotdogs.

Josie is the subject because she was eating the hotdogs. The sentence is about Josie.

Simple Predicate: This is usually the action in the sentence, and it tells what happens to the subject.


Josie ate the 10 hotdogs.

The action that Josie is completing is eating the hotdogs.

After you have reviewed subjects and predicates and students have a basic understanding, you can move on to teaching compound subjects and predicates.

Compound subjects: Two or more simple subjects are connected by a conjunction, such as the word and. The two subjects will “share” the same verb.


Tommy and Stephanie like to play video games.

The Smith’s dogs and cats tracked in mud all over the rug.

Compound predicates: Two or more verbs or verb phrases are connected by a conjunction. The two verbs “share” the same subject.


Marilyn swept and dusted the living room.

The baby cried during the day and screamed at night.

Games that Include Pizza and Ice Cream

To apply the concepts, students can play the following game. They will need to be placed into pairs and will become a team. For fun, each team can come up with a silly name. The teacher can write the team names on the board and keep track of which teams get the most right at the end of the game. Prizes can be given for the team who finishes first and/or finishes with the most correct.

Materials Needed: Each student will need two different colored markers or colored pencils and a pair of scissors. In addition, they will need the following handouts:

Step 1: Place students in pairs. One student will need to take the Ice Cream handout and one student will need to take the Pizza handout. There are 7 sentences on each handout.

Step 2: Each student will need to cut out the sentences into strips. At the bottom of each handout there is either the word COMPOUND PREDICATE or COMPOUND SUBJECT. Students need to cut those words into strips as well and put them aside for later.

Step 3: Each student will need to underline the subjects in one color and the predicates in another color. One line should be under a subject and two lines should be under the predicate. Since this is a team activity, the teacher can allow students to work together to underline the subjects and predicates.

Step 4: After students have finished underlining, they need to sort the sentences into two groups: COMPOUND PREDICATES or COMPOUND SUBJECTS. Students need to place the paper strips with those words that they cut out earlier on each desk or on two different areas on a table.

Step 5: The teacher can walk around and tell groups how many they have right and keep track on the board. The teacher can keep the game going until every group has sorted correctly. However, the teacher will need to indicate to some students that they did not have their underlining correct as well.


To make sorting an easier task, the teacher can direct students to complete the game differently. Before sorting, the teacher can check to see what teams have the underling correct. The teacher can tell students which ones are wrong but not tell the student what is wrong. The teams can keep underlining until they get it right. Because students are using markers, they will need to put an X over the wrong words underlined.

Answer Key for Pizza and Ice Cream Activity

Compound Subjects:

  • Shawn and Mia eat ice cream on Wednesday.
  • The chocolate ice cream and the strawberry ice cream melted in the sun.
  • Glass bowls and spoons fall off the counter.
  • The bicycle and scooter rested on the wall outside of the ice cream shop.
  • Mark and Shelly eat pizza every Tuesday.
  • The pepperoni and cheese burned Mark’s tongue.
  • The salads and subs arrived first.
  • The napkins and silverware fell on the floor.

Compound Predicates:

  • The melting ice cream drips and trickles down the cone.
  • The worker dips and shapes each ice cream cone.
  • Mia drank and slurped her milkshake.
  • Shelly picks off her pepperoni and cuts her pizza into small pieces.
  • Mark buys extra breadsticks and takes them home for later.
  • Mark plays video games and draws on the placemat.

Write Compound Subjects and Predicates

After students have completed the Pizza and Ice Cream sorting activity, you can direct students to write following:

  • Five sentences with compound subjects on the theme of water.
  • Five sentences with compound predicates on the theme of sports.

This writing activity will allow the teacher to assess students' understanding. In addition, students can show their creativity with the two themes. Prizes can be given for the most creative or humorous sentences.

This lesson includes direct instruction of compound predicates and compound subjects, a game and a writing activity. It includes fun and creativity for a lesson on basic grammar concepts.


Compound Predicate – Glossary of Terms, https://www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/compound_predicate.htm

Compound Subjects, https://www.ccc.commnet.edu/sensen/part2/twelve/compound.html

Simple Predicate, https://www.dowlingcentral.com/MrsD/quizzes/grammar/AlphaExer/SimpPre.htm

Simple Subjects, https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/subjectpredicate/simple-subjects.pdf