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Lesson Plan

Identifying and Classifying Verbs in Context

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Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Minilesson
Estimated Time 60 minutes
Lesson Author

Ellen Woolfolk

New York, New York


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology





  • Kites Sail High: A Book About Verbs by Ruth Heller (Putnam, 1998)

  • Verbs, Verbs, Verbs by Martin Terban (Scholastic, 2002)

  • Chart paper and colored markers

  • Computers with Internet access

  • Magazines, newspapers, books to use for collecting sentences

  • Overhead projector and transparencies

  • Writer’s notebook or writing folders

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1. Read Kites Sail High: A Book About Verbs by Ruth Heller in advance of the lesson. This book explains what verbs are and highlights all verbs in bold type. Plan some questions to ask students during the interactive read-aloud. You can write your questions on Post-it notes and attach them to the pages of the book. These guided questions will be used to stimulate discussion and help you determine when to build students' background knowledge.

2. For more information on conducting an interactive read-aloud, you may refer to the lesson "Catching the Bug for Reading Through Interactive Read-Alouds" by Cathy J. Morton. Although this lesson is for K–2 students and focuses on a different topic, it provides some helpful tips in the Preparation section for planning an interactive read-aloud session.

3. Read the text Verbs, Verbs, Verbs by Marvin Terban. This book is an excellent background text on verbs and can be used as a resource in answering any questions you or your students may have about verbs.

4. Collect sentences from magazines, newspapers, and other sources to use as examples of the different kinds of verbs:

  • Action verbs—verbs that show action (e.g., run, talk, grow)

  • State-of-being or linking verbs—verbs that show that something exists (e.g., is, seems, feels)

  • Helping verbs—auxiliary verbs that are used alone or in a verb phrase (e.g., will, have, was)

Daily Grammar is an excellent website that includes information on verbs and also sample sentences for each kind of verb with an answer key (see Archive, Lessons 1–15). This site may be used as another source for collecting examples of the different verbs.

Include these sentences on worksheets for students and also on chart paper or transparencies for demonstration purposes.

5. Arrange for students to be able to use computers with Internet access, and review the Wide World of Verbs website. This website was created by a fourth-grade class, and focuses on action, state-of-being, and helping verbs. Each section includes a story to help students learn about and remember the specific verb form. Students can also take a test on the three different kinds of verbs.

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