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Lesson Plan

Action ABC's: Learning Vocabulary With Verbs

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Action ABC's: Learning Vocabulary With Verbs

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time At least four 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Melissa Weimer

Waterford, Michigan


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Gain or review knowledge of parts of speech by defining what verbs are

  • Access and expand their existing vocabulary by listing verbs for each letter of the alphabet

  • Apply their vocabulary and knowledge of parts of speech by using verbs in sentences that they then illustrate

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Session 1

1. Tell students they are going to play a game where they will act out words you say. Some words you might use include:
  • Jump

  • Sit

  • Twirl

  • Sing

  • Clap

  • Yawn
Encourage students to further the game by contributing words of their own.

2. Tell students that the words that they just acted out are called verbs. Ask them if they know what a verb is, working toward the following definition: A part of speech that usually describes an action.

3. Explain that they will be creating an Action Alphabet book (either a class book, group books, or individual books, depending on what you have decided; see Preparation, Step 1). Each page of the book or books will contain a letter of the alphabet, a verb that starts with that letter, and a sentence using that verb. Let the students know that they will be learning some new vocabulary words that will assist them when they read and write.

4. Ask students to brainstorm verbs for the different letters of the alphabet. Write the words on the board next to the corresponding letters. As it becomes obvious that some letters have few or no verbs next to them, explain that some letters (like x, k, and z) have a smaller number of verbs beginning with them.

5. Ask students if they have any questions about the assignment. When they are ready, have them get into their groups and give each group a copy of the Alphabet Brainstorming Worksheet. If you are using dictionaries and thesauri, review how to use them, noting in particular where it indicates each entry's part of speech.

6. Students should spend about 20 minutes creating a list of verbs for each letter of the alphabet (you may want to assign certain letters to each group to make sure all of the letters are covered). While students are working, circulate among groups answering questions and providing support as needed.

7. At the end of the small-group work, bring the class back together into a large group and add the words they came up with to the list on the board. If possible, leave the list of verbs on the board; if not, copy them onto chart paper.

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Session 2

Note: Before this session, compile the list of verbs from Session 1 into one large list. Decide how you would like to assign verbs to your students. For example:

  • If students are each making their own books, you might make a copy of the entire list for each student, allowing them to choose their own verbs.

  • If students are going to each make one page, you might give them each a copy of the list with the one letter they will work on highlighted.

You will also need to make one copy of the Sentence Writing Worksheet for every two verbs each student will be writing about.

1. Review the list of verbs from Session 1. Possible questions and prompts for discussion include:
  • What was one of the verbs we acted out?

  • Name a verb that you found that begins with the letter...

  • What is one new verb that you learned?

  • What is another verb for...(e.g., run, tired)?

  • What verb do you like?

  • Which verb could be used to tell something that a (e.g., lion, baby) does?
2. Tell students that they will begin working on creating the pages for the Action Alphabet book.

3. Select a verb and write it on the board next to the letter it begins with. Demonstrate to the students how they will be writing a sentence using a verb. For example: R, Run, The boy can run very fast. Tell them that they will be doing the same thing to create the pages for the Action Alphabet book. Repeat this procedure for another letter, but have the students offer their input. Let students know that they will be drawing illustrations, so it is important to think about how they will illustrate what they write.

Note: The complexity of the sentence you want the students to write will vary depending on their writing levels. For example, a kindergartener may write a simple sentence such as, "The dog runs fast" and a second grader may write something more complex such as, "The dog ran so fast that he looked like a black blur." Your examples should be accordingly simple or complex.

4. Distribute the verb lists and Sentence Writing Worksheets. Students should write sentences for each of the verbs they have been assigned. If students are creating entire books independently, this may take several sessions. Work with the students to review, edit, and revise their sentences as needed.

5. As they finish their sentences, have students begin using the Alphabet Organizer to create their book pages as follows:

a) Students will be prompted to enter their name and a title. You can have them enter Action ABC's or Action Alphabet as the title.

b) On the next screen, they should select the second option for one word per letter.

c) They should then click on the letter that their word begins with.

d) Next, they will type in the word and then their sentence in the Description area beneath it.

e) If they have another word to enter, then they will click on the next letter and continue until all their words are entered.

f) When they have entered all their words, they will click on Finish. (If students do not complete their work in the allotted time, they can save their draft and complete it later.)

g) The next screen will ask how they would like to print their organizer. They should choose Word Pages.

6. Assist students as needed to finish their pages using the Alphabet Organizer. This may also take several sessions. Collect and save the printed pages.

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Session 3

1. Once students have completed and printed off their pages for the alphabet book or books, they should illustrate them. Demonstrate how to do this by writing a verb and a sentence that uses that verb on the board. Then draw an illustration of the sentence for the students to see.

2. Students should illustrate their pages. Depending on how many they have to do, this may take more than one session.

3. When all the pages are completed, assemble them into a class book. You can use the Action ABC's: Book Cover or have students create their own covers. Have students or groups of students work to bind their individual books.

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Session 4

1. Have students reflect upon the lesson by sharing what they learned. Possible questions to ask include:
  • What is a verb?

  • What are four different verbs you know?

  • What letters were the hardest to find verbs for?

  • What new words did you learn?

  • What page that you created did you like the best and why?
2. Take this time to emphasize to students that they have learned some new vocabulary words. They will be able to use these words in future writing, in conversations, and while they read.

3. If your students created multiple books, allow time for them to share the books with each other.

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  • Students can share the book or books with another class or with each other in class or at home with their families. Encourage students to use the book or books as reference tools when writing in the classroom.

  • Use verbs from another language to create a class alphabet book.

  • Have student use online dictionaries or thesauri to find verbs.
  • If computer access is not available, have students create their own alphabet book pages.

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  • Informally assess students' understanding of verbs and their abilities to come up with verbs beginning with the letters of the alphabet during both the whole-class and small-group work in Session 1. You may need to spend more time talking about verbs and working with students to develop a vocabulary list before moving on to the creation of the alphabet book.

  • Take notes using the Action ABC's: Assessment Notes sheet. You can use this to record observations while students are working during Sessions 2 and 3.

  • Looking at the completed alphabet book or books, use the Action ABC's: Student Assessment Rubric to assess how well students comprehended the project, their use of verbs, and their illustrations.


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