November 11, 2018
by Sarah Sumnicht

Lesson plan

Grammar and Action Verb Charades

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Students will be able to visualize and identify action verbs.

(5 minutes)
  • Read a book aloud that contains action verbs, like Cows Can't Jump by David Reisman.
  • Ask students to call out the action verbs they heard in the story (i.e., "jump," "swing," "slither").
  • Record the action verbs on a piece of chart paper. Keep the chart paper displayed.
(5 minutes)
  • Remind students that action verbs are verbs that express an action, unlike stative verbs that express a state of being.
  • Explain that when we hear an action verb, we can picture someone performing or receiving that action.
  • Write the word "march" on the board.
  • Pantomime the action of marching.
  • Explain to students that today they will play a game of charades using action verbs.
(15 minutes)
  • Remind students that charades is a game in which a person acts out a word or phrase without using words. The people in the audience must guess the word based on that person's performance.
  • Hand out a blank index card to each student.
  • Instruct students to write an action verb on their card in large print. Challenge them to come up with an action verb that is not already listed on the displayed chart paper.
  • Collect the cards and quickly look through them. Take out duplicate words and non-action verbs. Mix up the remaining cards in a basket or bowl.
  • Divide the class in half with an "invisible line" and tell each half that they are a team.
  • Name one team "ACTION" and the other team "VERB" and write their team names on the board.
  • Invite a student volunteer from the action team to come pick a card and instruct them to act it out in front of the class.
  • Tell the students that they must only guess their own team's words and that they will earn a point if they can guess it correctly.
  • Set a timer for 30 seconds and allow the student actor to perform.
  • Tell the action team to call out their answers. If a student calls out the correct answer, give that team a point by marking it on the board. If no one guesses the correct verb, do not award a point.
  • Have the student actor hang their card on the displayed list of verbs before returning to their seat.
  • Invite a student volunteer from the verb team to pick a card and repeat the activity.
  • Continue playing until one team earns five points.
  • Once a team has reached five points, invite another student volunteer up and hand them a card with a non-action verb, like "remember." Instruct them to act the word out.
  • Repeat with a student from the other team, again using a non-action word, like "cost."
  • Explain that the two last verbs were not action verbs. Hang the two cards on the displayed chart paper and draw a large red "X" across them to signify that they are not action verbs.
  • Engage the class in a discussion about how it felt to act out action verbs versus non-action verbs.
(10 minutes)
  • Hand out the reading worksheet The Kitten. (Note: students will only need the text for this exercise. The question portion can be cut off before making copies.)
  • Instruct students to read through the story and circle examples of action verbs.
  • Circulate and offer support as needed.


  • Pre-teach a lesson that helps students differentiate between action verbs and non-action verbs (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.
(10 minutes)
  • Lead students through a visualization exercise.
    • Read a short story or sentence aloud. For example, "Rain fell gently on my head as I danced around in a field of flowers."
    • Tell students to illustrate the story or sentence in a notebook.
    • Call on a student to share and explain their drawing.
    • Call on another student to label the drawing with the action verbs they heard in the story or explanation.
    • Repeat several times and use student drawings and discussion to gauge understanding.
(5 minutes)
  • Close the lesson using a 3-2-1 protocol. Hand out an index card and tell students to write:
    • three action verbs,
    • two sentences with action verbs underlined,
    • and one question about the lesson.

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