Lesson plan

Adverb Pinwheels

This adverb lesson gives your students the opportunity to learn about how adverbs add description and makes our writing stronger. Your students will explore adverbs that show how, where, and when to improve sentences.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to identify adverbs and use them in sentences.

(5 minutes)
  • Show students a picture of a pinwheel.
  • Ask students to name the device and its purpose.
  • Explain to students that a pinwheel originated as a simple children's toy that provided hours of entertainment, but it is now often used as a lawn decoration during the spring and summer months.
  • Tell students that today they will be creating a special pinwheel related to identifying adverbs and using them in sentences.
(10 minutes)
  • Display a sentence on the document camera: She walked.
  • Demonstrate the different ways this sentence could be acted out (ie. walk slowly, walk quickly, walk to one side of the room, walk on top of chairs, walk timidly).
  • Explain to students that you acted out the sentence in different ways, and using an adverb would have made it very clear how, where, or when she walked. An adverb is a word that describes the verb in a sentence.
  • Show students how to make the sentence more descriptive by adding adverbs that tell how, when, and where.
  • Use the Paper Pinwheel worksheet to create an example:
    • Label a piece: HOW
    • Label a piece: WHEN
    • Label a piece: WHERE
    • Write the definition of adverb in the last piece: A word that describes a verb.
  • On each corresponding piece, record the following sentences:
    • She quickly walked down the hallway. (Adverb = quickly; tells HOW)
    • She walked behind the couch. (Adverb = behind; tells WHERE)
    • Yesterday, she walked in her neighborhood. (Adverb = yesterday; tells WHEN)
  • Assemble your Paper Pinwheel by following the instructions on the worksheet. Show students that their final product at the end of today's adverb lesson will resemble yours.
  • Inform students that today they will be working with these three types of adverbs to improve sentences.
(10 minutes)
  • Divide students into small groups of 3–4 students.
  • Give each group a sheet of construction paper and a marker.
  • Instruct groups to create a T-chart with three columns, and to label the columns with: How, Where, and When.
  • Prompt students to create a list of at least five adverbs in each column of the chart based on the headings. Tell them to make their lists based on the simple sentence: I sang.
  • Circulate to monitor students as they create their adverb lists.
  • Instruct groups to flip over their paper and write three sentences, one for each type of adverb studied today. They should choose an adverb from the lists they created on the chart.
  • Review sentences as a class.
(20 minutes)
  • Distribute a copy of the Paper Pinwheels worksheet, a marker, scissors, glue, and a pencil with an eraser to each student.
  • Display the simple sentence: He drives.
  • Instruct students to use the marker to write the definition on one of the pieces of the pinwheel they will create. On each of the other three pieces of the pinwheel, they will write a HOW sentence, a WHERE sentence, and a WHEN sentence.
  • Instruct students to assemble the paper pinwheel by following the instructions on the worksheet.
  • Remind students that their adverb pinwheel should resemble the example pinwheel created in the direct instruction section of the lesson.


  • Have a few premade Paper Pinwheels available for students struggling with that aspect of the lesson so that it does not deter from the adverb practice.
  • Give struggling students fill-in-the-blank sentences instead of the more open-ended sentence starter.


  • Challenge advanced students to expand sentences with more than one adverb. Encourage students to use prepositions to add more detail to the sentences.
  • To challenge your advanced students, encourage them to write a boring paragraph and go back to improve it with adverbs. Have them color code the types of adverbs they use.
(10 minutes)
  • Call on non-volunteers to share their pinwheel sentences.
  • Distribute a copy of the Adverb Practice worksheet to each student as an Exit Ticket.
(5 minutes)
  • Collect the Adverb Practice worksheet to serve as a check for understanding.
  • Review for students that adverbs do the important job of giving more information about the verb.
  • Play a quick game of "Guess that Adverb."
  • Following the procedure in the instruction section of the lesson, model a verb (ie. dancing, eating, running).
  • Instruct students to raise their hand to guess the adverb that correctly describes the verb that was acted out.
  • Allow students to act out verbs.

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