Lesson plan

Use an Action Verb

Show me some action! Use this grammar lesson with your students to teach them how to identify and use action verbs in sentences.
GradeSubjectView aligned standards

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

Which set of standards are you looking for?

Students will be able to identify and use action verbs.

(3 minutes)
Using Action Verbs
  • Ask students to think about their favorite thing to do, and tell them not to say anything because this is going to be a small game of charades.
  • Put students into A-B partnerships and instruct Partner A to silently act out their favorite activity while Partner B tries to guess. Then have students switch roles as Partner B acts and Partner A figures out the favorite activity.
  • Explain to students that they just acted out their favorite thing to do, which is an action. Today’s lesson will be about how to use action verbs correctly in sentences to make writing more descriptive.
(10 minutes)
  • Inform students that good, descriptive sentences include action verbs so the reader is able to create a better visual of what the subject is doing.
  • Explain that an Action verbIs a verb that expresses physical or mental action. It tells what the subject does, whether it’s physical or mental.
  • Give example sentences that have action verbs and sentences that do not have action verbs. Identify the verbs and categorize them onto a T-Chart labeled "Action Verbs" and "Nonaction Verbs." Some examples include:
    • We rushed to the bus stop. (rushed = action verb)
    • I am happy to be here. (am = nonaction verb)
    • The frog leaped across the lawn. (leaped = action verb)
    • She waited in the doctor’s office. (waited = action verb)
    • We were on the phone for five minutes. (were = nonaction verb)
  • Point out that some verbs are classified as action verbs, such as Believe, but it would be really difficult to act that one out. It is still an action verb because it is something that the subject does. It is a mental action.
  • Show students an example of a sentence frame in which the action verb is missing. Think aloud about the context of the sentence as you choose the best action verb to fill in the blank. For example, "The chef ____An amazing meal at the restaurant." (Cooked is a better action verb than made.)
(15 minutes)
  • Give students a piece of paper and have them create a T-Chart. They will label one side "Action Verbs" and the other side "Nonaction Verbs."
  • Give them three minutes to brainstorm as many verbs as possible. Each verb that comes up should be categorized into the Action Verb section or the Nonaction Verb section. Give students a tip that if they could act out the verb, it probably goes into the Action Verb section of the chart. If the verb seems like it could not be acted out, then it is not an action verb and would go into the Nonaction Verb section.
  • Go over the charts as a class, focusing on the Action Verb side of the chart. Confirm that these are, in fact, action verbs.
  • Display the anchor chart labeled with “Action Verbs” in the middle and explain to students that they are going to help create a class resource. Give each student a sticky note to write their favorite action verb and then place it on the anchor chart labeled “Action Verbs.”
  • Have students take out a whiteboard and whiteboard marker. Challenge students to use their favorite action verb in a sentence on their whiteboard. Instruct them to circle the action verb in the sentence. Do a quick check of the sentences to make sure all students are using action verbs.
  • Ask students to share ideas of action verbs that would be difficult to act out, like Believe. Allow for a short discussion of these verbs.
  • Have students return to their original A-B partnerships from the beginning of the lesson. Instruct them to do a dramatic representation for a new action verb that came up in today’s lesson. Remind them that they should not talk while they act it out. (Note: A dramatic representation is when students act out vocabulary words.)
(7 minutes)
  • Distribute a copy of the Using Action Verbs worksheet to each student.
  • Circulate and monitor while students work, offering support for students who need it.


  • Give a word bank with visuals for the second section of the independent practise worksheet.
  • Provide sentence frames for struggling students in the guided practise section of the lesson, such as “The bus ____Down the street.” or “I ____My name on my paper.”
  • Allow students to take personal notes about action verbs by using a graphic organizer.
  • Include visuals with the action verbs modeled in the explicit instruction section of the lesson.
  • Review the grammar concept of verbs in a pre-lesson for struggling students. Go over the definition, give examples, and guide students to find them in sentences before creating their own.


  • Challenge advanced students to write a story including only action verbs in it. Have these students read each other’s work and identify all the action verbs used. For extra practise, have the students rewrite their partner’s story with synonyms for the action verbs.
(3 minutes)
  • Utilize the worksheet as a formative assessment of students’ mastery of identifying and using action verbs.
  • Observe learners as they categorize verbs in groups and perform a dramatic representation of an action verb with a partner.
  • Give each student an index card on which to complete the Exit Ticket. Display the following sentence: "I ____At recess each day." Have students fill in the blank by writing an action verb on the index card.
(2 minutes)
  • Remind students that action verbs are verbs that show how the subject does something, whether it is a physical or mental action.
  • Go over a few of the Exit Ticket responses to review examples of action verbs.

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection