Lesson plan

Action Verb Ad-Libs

In this great grammar lesson, your students will play a fun game of ad-libs before writing their own action-packed story!
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to identify action verbs in context. Students will be able to use action verbs in their own writing.

(5 minutes)
  • Show a video to review action verbs (verbs that express an action), such as the video "Verb Song."
(5 minutes)
  • Explain that many of the verbs we use express an action.
  • Label a piece of chart paper with the title "Action Verbs."
  • Ask students to call out examples of action verbs and record them on the chart paper (i.e., "eat," "kneel," "pull," "write").
  • Tell students that when we see an action verb in a sentence, we can picture the subject of the sentence performing or receiving an action.
  • Write two or three examples on the board using the words from the student generated list (e.g., "Let's eat some popcorn!" "Can you pull that wagon up the hill?" "That book was written last year.").
  • Underline the verb in each example sentence.
  • Remind students that some verbs do not express an action, like variations of "to be" (i.e., "are," "were," "am"), and other stative verbs that express states of being, measurements, emotions, or senses.
(10 minutes)
  • Have students work with partners to come up with a list of ten action words.
  • Tell students to write their verbs on a sheet of paper and number them one through ten.
  • Display a story written on chart paper with 10 blanks (i.e., "Once upon a time, a happy king ____ in a golden castle. He ____ over his subjects with kindness. One day, the king said, 'Tomorrow is the royal ball. I invite everyone to ____ to the castle and ____ in the great hall!'").
  • Have the students read the story with their partner, using the ten words on their list to fill in the blanks in order. (Note: prepare the story before the lesson; ensure that it has ten blanks where action verbs should be).
  • After students have read the story with their partner, call on students to volunteer words from their list to fill in blanks in the story. Write the words on the chart paper to complete the story.
(15 minutes)
  • Tell students that they will be writing their own story with action verbs.
  • Hand out a sheet of lined paper to each student (or have students write in notebooks).
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes and tell students to write a story that involves action.
  • Give students a two-minute warning. Then, when the timer goes off, instruct students to exchange their story with a peer.
  • Tell students to read their partner's story and underline all the action verbs they find.
  • Circulate and offer support as needed.
  • Invite a few volunteers to read their own stories aloud to the class.
  • Instruct the class to raise their hand everytime they hear an action verb in the story that is being read.


  • Pre-teach a lesson that helps students differentiate between action verbs and stative verbs.
  • Provide opportunities for students to practice with a digital exercise (see optional materials).


  • Encourage students to keep a list of action verbs they find in their own reading.
(5 minutes)
  • Write an example sentence on the board (i.e., "We are hungry").
  • Have students give a thumbs-up if they see an action verb in the sentence and a thumbs-down if they do not.
  • If there is an action verb in the sentence, invite a student to come underline it.
  • Repeat with several sentences and scan student responses to gauge understanding.
(10 minutes)
  • Lead students through a "snowstorm" closing activity.
    • Invite students to sit in a large circle.
    • Hand out small pieces of scratch paper.
    • Tell students to write a sentence with an action verb on their paper.
    • Have students crumple up their paper and throw it into the middle of the circle. This is the "snowstorm."
    • Instruct each student to grab a piece of crumpled paper from the center.
    • Go around the circle, and have each student read the sentence on their paper aloud.
    • After each sentence is read, tell the rest of the class to shout out the action verb they heard in the sentence.

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