Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, K-3

In the BrainPOP ELL movie Magic Show (L1U1L2), Moby and Ben introduce the negative forms of the verb to be in the present tense. The lesson plan, adaptable for grades K-8, engages students through hands-on games and activities to use the negative forms of the verb to be to describe people and things.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Identify the negative form of the verb to be.
  2. Use the present tense negative form of the verb to be in simple sentences.
  3. Transform the negative forms of the verb to be into contractions.


  • BrainPOP ELL 
  • Realia: flowers, a coin, a hat, a cloth, a magic wand
  • Pictures: cat, dog, bird, rabbit
  • A sign: Magic Show
  • Blank index cards (8 per student)


not, isn’t, aren’t

magic, hat, flower, coin, cat, dog, bird, rabbit, full, empty, afraid, brave


  • Make a sign that says "Magic Show."
  • If possible, bring in a hat, a cloth, and something to use as a magic wand. Other useful props include flowers (real or fake), a coin, and pictures of a dog, cat, bird and rabbit.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. I’m a Magician. Before showing the movie  Magic Show (L1U1L2), introduce some of the new vocabulary by pretending you’re a magician. Present the hat to the class and show them that it is empty. Then cover it with the cloth and recreate one or two of Moby’s tricks – placing the flowers, coin, bird or rabbit in the hat. It doesn’t matter if you can really do a trick or not. The students will love the “show” and it’s a great way to motivate, and activate prior knowledge.
  2. Narrate. In a repeated viewing of the movie, turn off the sound and have students be Ben, with or without closed captions.
  3. Role-Play. Partners take turns role-playing a magician and an announcer. As the magician performs a trick, the announcer says what’s happening, just like Ben and Moby in the movie. Using pictures or realia, the magician places either a picture or an item in the hat. And the narrator says, “It’s a bird! Now it isn’t a bird. It’s a dog.” Etc. Then ask pairs of students to perform their magic for the class. To add more support, have sentence frames on the board:
    It’s a ____________.
    Now it isn’t a ______________. It’s a ____________.
  4. Flash Cards.Distribute eight blank index cards to each student. Have the students complete this assignment for homework. On four of the cards, have them print the following words: full, empty, afraid, brave. On the remaining four cards, have them illustrate the words however they want. For example, they might draw an empty and full hat, glass, bowl, plate, pocket, hand, etc. For afraid, they might draw things they are afraid of, and for brave, they might draw people who are brave. If they prefer, they can glue pictures to the cards. The next day, break the class into small groups and have them play a matching game with their cards. Put the following sentence frames on the board, and instruct students to use this language as they make their matches.
    The _____ is full. The _____ isn’t full.
    The _____ is empty. The _____ isn’t empty.
    _____ is/are afraid. _____ isn’t/aren’t afraid.
    _____ is brave. _____ isn’t/aren’t brave.