As a teacher, you can help elementary students learn to identify verbs and adjectives and use them properly by providing a variety of written and verbal examples. Use excerpts from reading assignments to help children learn how verbs and adjectives fit into common sentence structures. By studying the role verbs and adjectives play in the English language, students can improve their grammar and writing skills.
Explain the Types of Verbs
Teach students that verbs describe an action, a state of existence or a specific occurrence. Start by explaining action verbs, and list examples on your white board or blackboard, such as "run," "jump," "dance," "spin" and "lift." Ask your students to volunteer their own action verbs; add those to the list. Explain that some verbs don't show a specific action, such as being verbs, helping verbs and linking verbs, and provide examples of each -- "am," "is," "are", "was," "could," "might," "would" and "must." Before class, make a handout of being, helping and linking verbs for each student to study and memorize.
Indentify Verbs in Sentences
Explain that verbs usually follow the main noun, or subject, of the sentence, but not always. Teach students to ask themselves, "What is the noun doing?" Enlarge the text of a paragraph or a page in a book you're reading as a class, and pass out a paper copy to each student. You can put the text on your electronic white board if you prefer to do the exercise orally. Ask your students to find the verbs and underline them twice. Review the answers to ensure they correctly identified all the verbs.
Define the Role of Adjectives
Write the definition of an adjective on your white board or blackboard -- "a word that describes or modifies a noun." Tell students that they should locate the nouns in a sentence before trying to identify the adjectives. Before class, find colorful pictures in story books, preferably without words, and ask your students to take turns explaining what they see. Write the students' phrases or sentences on the white board or black board and underline the nouns and write "adj." above the adjectives.
Practice Adjective Usage and Implementation
Teach students the location of adjectives in a sentence -- typically before or after nouns. Before class, create short sentences to post on your blackboard or white board where students must choose which adjective makes the most sense. (reference 4) For example, "The monkey's tail is ____ (long, noisy). Help students identify the noun, such as "tail" in the example, and choose an appropriate adjective. After completing the exercise, ask students to write their own paragraphs about a specific topic, such as their favorite pet, and include adjectives in their writing.
- Common Core State Standards Initiative: English Language Arts Standards -- Language -- Grade 3
- Manchester University: Lesson Plan #2
- Teaching with Primary Sources -- The Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges & Universities: Writing Lesson Plan
- Arkansas State University: First Grade Adjectives Lesson Plan
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