Verbs are a really tough idea for students to grasp. Adjectives are easier because students really like to describe things (and they relate to their personal schema); however, we need to try to make verbs easier for our students as well. With this lesson, students will be working on sorting verbs and non-verbs. At the same time, students will be reading, writing and making a kinesthetic connection to their verbs! Once students make all of these connections, they will have a much better foundational understanding of what exactly verbs are!
Also, categorizing things is always a good skill for our students to practice because it provides them with a chance to really think through connections and justify their choices! Since this activity allows students to categorize with verbs, they are able to really think through and use verbs to strengthen their own learning!
This introduction will be done in the whole group. Since this is an activity that will be used in a center, I will give explicit directions and model my expectations. Students will be seated in front of me on the carpet for this introduction portion of the lesson.
(*Since this is an introductory lesson, I think it is important that students experience repeated practice. I love to have students repeat things to each other- it allows them to hear repetition (which helps with memorization) and it also provides them a chance to engage with each other.)
Before beginning this activity, I have to make sure that I have cards with verbs and other words to sort. Here is an idea for the set up of this activity that helped me!
"Today, we are going to be learning how to do a fun activity that actually lets us play with verbs. Now, I know that may sound tricky, but we are going to make it fun and easy! Before we can talk about this activity, we need to make sure that we remember what verbs are..." (wait time) "Remember, a verb is an action word- a verb is something we can do." (wait time) "Please turn to a partner and tell them what a verb is in your own words." (wait time- I give enough time for each pair to share back and forth.)
*It is important that students share here to practice memorizing the definition.
"I heard a lot of good explanations when you shared with your partners! Yes, a verb is something we can do because a verb is an action. With that being said, today we are going to work on sorting out whether a word is a verb or not a verb." (wait time) "Remember: if it is something we can do, it is a verb."
"When we are working on this fun activity, we are going to be reading words and then sorting them. That means we will be working on two things- we will be sounding out words to figure out what they are" (wait time) "and we will be figuring out if those words are verbs or not."
*I like to remind students of my expectations; although this is a fun activity, there is a reason why we are doing it and there is something we must accomplish.
*Since this is a new activity, it is crucial that I model for my students. I think it is imperative to show students my expectations while also gradually releasing this activity to them in a way where they can all experience success.
Model: "Here is how you will complete this activity. You will take a card..." (wait time) "You will sound out the word on your card by stretching it out, sound by sound, then re-reading it." (wait time) "Then you will see if you can act out you word... remember: a verb is an action, so that means that IF it is a verb, we can act it out!"
"I am going to pick a card." (I will choose a card and show it to the students.) "Now, I need to sound it out." (wait time) "J--U--M--P....... jump... my word is jump." (wait time) "Now, let's find out if jump is a verb.... can I act it out?" (I will jump.) "Yes, I can act it out... Jump is a verb!" (wait time) "Yay! I figured one out!"
We do: "Help me with another word." (I will pull out another card.) "Let's sound out our word." (I will guide students through sounding out the next word.) "H--O--T..... hot." (wait time) "Hmmm... now we have to see if hot is a verb. Let's see, can we act out hot? Can I do hot?" (wait time) "Hot is not something I can do.... I can look hot but I cannot do hot... so, hot is not a verb!"
"Do you see how to find out the verbs?" (wait time) "Let me remind you of the rules: pick a card... sound out your word and re-read it... act out your word if you can... if you can act it out and it something YOU CAN DO, it is a verb... if you cannot do it, it is not a verb!"
*I think it's imperative that I summarize here to remind students to look back at the real heart and focus of this activity- to meet the standards for experiencing common verbs and nouns while categorizing.
*At this point, it is important to remind students that they will need to have a written connection to this activity since it is a center exercise.
"Now, since you will be practicing this fun activity in centers, you will need to write down your verbs on one side of the paper... you will also need to write words that are not verbs on the other side of the paper. When you are done, and you have both verbs and not verbs written, you can go back through your lists and check (and you can even act out your verbs again to get in another fun practice)! Also, at the end of your paper, you will be able to use one verb and one word that is not a verb in a sentence. So, as you are writing down the words from the cards that you have sounded out, please keep some in mind that you might be able to use in a sentence. Here is an example of a sentence with one of my verbs and one of my words that is not a verb. Earlier, we had the word jump, which was a verb... and hot, which was not a verb." (wait time) "So, I can make a sentence with the words jump and hot... hmmm..." (wait time) "I get hot when I jump!" (wait time) "Can everyone say that sentence to a partner, and put your thumb up when you hear the verb?"
(Students should tell a partner, "I get hot when I jump," and put their thumb up when they say the word jump.)
"Great! So that is an example of something I COULD write. You can make up any sentence or sentences you want!" (wait time) "You just need to make sure that you have one of the cards that is a verb and one of the cards that is not a verb."
This fun activity was taught in the whole group, but it will be practiced in centers.
During centers, I will expect the students to follow the process in the way that I introduced it.
I will expect them to:
1- draw a card
2- sound it out and re-read it
3- attempt to act it out to determine whether or not it is a verb
4- write the word in the appropriate place on their recording sheet- verb or not a verb
5- lastly, students will create a sentence with two words (or more) that are verbs and not verbs
I will assess students' completion of their center activity.
As usual, I will watch students during center time to determine whether or not they are completing the task well independently and with a partner.
When students turn their paper in, I will be checking for two things:
I will be checking to see students' correctness when sorting verbs and not verbs.
I will be making sure that students sentence(s) include one verb and one non-verb from the lists.
I think it is important to assess students as often as possible and in as many ways as possible. This particular lesson provides me with two ways to assess, and I love that! I think it's always good to assess students in written form because it really shows what they know while also providing me with a way to give a grade and/or feedback to parents! Nevertheless, I think it's helpful to assess students informally by watching and listening while they are working at their center. In the end, I can have two glimpses into each students' understanding and determine who may need re-teaching or extensions from there!
This is a fun activity that can be practiced in centers throughout the year in many ways. Later in the year, students can act out verbs and write multiple sentences about them.
This activity can also be practiced as a brain-break or in the whole group setting as an encouraging addition to the end of any lesson. This really is fun, quick and easy, so students love it. I can say "verb practice......... run" and students will run. At that point, I can either tell them other words to act out, or I can leave the task to one simple verb.
Basically, this activity can be used in many ways and it ends up being a fun learning experience for students each time.
Here are some center activities that I like to help extend this task! This is a noun and verb sort (with pictures and words) that is a little easier than this noun, verb and adjective sort (with words only).