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  Verbs ("I Need a Verb")

Although action verbs are a simple concept at the initial concrete level, categorizing mental actions, such as “concentrate” or “wish” is a little more abstract. This plan progresses from the concrete to the abstract using hands-on and paper/pencil tasks to reinforce key skills. Understanding that using a more descriptive verb, like “sauntered,” over a common action verb, like “walked,” can bring power to young writers.

Melissa's Teaching Tips

First Grade

  • Complete grammar worksheet “Identifying Action Verbs.”
    • Classroom Activity: Use the information presented within the sheet to model sentences on a whiteboard or Smart Board to create a whole class lesson. Cut the sheet apart, gluing the related answers from the answer key on the back to use within a cooperative learning structure or as a self-checking center activity.
    • Classroom Activity: Print out and cut apart “Action Verb Cards.” Invite students to print their own original sentences on sentence strips using the provided action verb. Have them draw a box around the verb in the sentence on the sentence strip. Ask each student to pass his/her action verb card to another student. Upon receiving a new action verb, each student should cover up his/her original “boxed in” verb to create a new silly sentence. For example: If a student had the sentence “Erica ate the cupcake,” his/her new sentence may read, “Erica threw the cupcake.” Invite students to read their new sentences aloud.

Second Grade

  • Emphasize that all sentences have verbs, and that action verbs are words that tell what someone or something does.

Third Grade

  • Complete grammar sheet “Using More Interesting Action Verbs.”
  • Bring the “juicification” of verbs to life by noticing the verb choices of favorite authors.
  • Discuss how the verb choice makes the scene played out in the reader's head more specific.
  • Have students examine examples of their own writing to notice the verbs they tend to use or overuse.
  • Invite them to “juice up” their verbs using synonyms. (This would be a good real-world use for a thesaurus.)

Fourth Grade

  • Discuss verse 2 of the song, in which mental action verbs are introduced.
  • Complete grammar sheet “Analyzing Action Verbs.”
    • Classroom Activity: Use the “Categorizing Action Verbs Cards (intermediate)” or “Categorizing Action Verbs Cards (upper level)” within a cooperative learning structure, whole class, or as a center to practice differentiating between physical and mental actions.

Fifth Grade

  • Review verse 2 of the song, in which mental action verbs are introduced.
  • Complete grammar sheet “Analyzing Action Verbs.”
    • Classroom Activity: Use the “Categorizing Action Verbs Cards (upper level)” or “Categorizing Action Verbs Cards (intermediate)” within a cooperative learning structure, whole class, or as a center to practice differentiating between physical and mental actions.

Categorizing Action Verb Cards (upper level).pdf
Analyzing Action Verbs (upper level) with key.pdf
Categorizing Action Verbs Cards (intermediate).pdf
Using More Interesting Action Verbs with Key.pdf
Regular and Irregular Verbs Word Work.pdf
Identifying Action Verbs (Basic) with Key.pdf
Action Verb Cards.pdf
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