May 18, 2017
by M knutson
Lesson Plan:

Using Adjectives and Verbs to Make Writing Come to Life

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Students will be able to identify verbs and adjectives in a description, as well as to explain how verb and adjective choices create a visual impact on the reader. Students will also learn to revise vague descriptions, replacing nonspecific words with vivid verbs and adjectives.

(5 minutes)
  • Write the sentence on the board: The dog jumped on the mail carrier.
  • In groups or pairs, have students rewrite the sentence so that it creates a more vivid picture in the reader’s mind.
  • Share revisions, noting students' word choices.
(10 minutes)
  • Project an example of a student revision for the class to look at together.
  • Circle or highlight the words that were added to the new version.
  • Discuss what kind of words were added. Ask questions such as, Are there more vivid verbs? Were adjectives added? Were more specific nouns swapped out for more vague ones?
  • Pose the question: What conclusions can we draw about how to choose words that really paint a picture? Write these student-generated “tips” on chart paper for students to reference as they practice their revision skills throughout the lesson.
(20 minutes)
  • Distribute the What Sounds Better? Verbs and Adjectives worksheet.
  • Select a student to read Description A aloud, asking students to pay attention to the images they see in their mind’s eye as they listen and read along.
  • Have a different student read Description B aloud, again asking students to note the images evoked.
  • Discuss which description creates a more vivid image. Share examples of word and language choices that work particularly well.
  • Complete the rest of the exercise together, with students sharing their own revisions at the end.
(15 minutes)
  • Distribute the Imagery Using Verbs and Adjectives worksheet.
  • Review the directions and example together.
  • Instruct students to revise the worksheet sentences, swapping in better adjectives and verbs to create more vivid imagery.


  • Revise a sentence as a class, discussing each word choice as you go. Pause to ask, What other possibilities are there instead of this word? and Does this really paint a picture? How can we make different choices to offer the reader an image?
  • Have students locate examples of strong imagery in their favorite books.


  • Have students revise part of a narrative that they have previously drafted. Share the “before” and “after” versions with the class.
  • Have students locate examples of strong imagery in their favorite books.
(5 minutes)
  • Distribute a half sheet of paper. Have students copy the sentence The leaf fell from the big tree.
  • Instruct students to circle the verb and underline the adjective, then rewrite the sentence using a more impactful verb and adjective.
(10 minutes)
  • Ask students to share their revisions.
  • Discuss: The ability to use verbs and adjectives to create a vivid image is a powerful tool. Why is this skill so important to writers?

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