two random verbs...can they inspire a story?
The Verb Game
press each button below until you find TWO ACTION VERBS
you can put together in an interesting story
Student Instructions: Press the two buttons below until you have two verbs that you could include in a story. Plan your story in your head. Think of some good details you'll want to include. Then write the story and share it with a friend.
Teacher Instructions: Show students a picture (like the picture of the girl swinging above) and ask them to brainstorm as many verbs the girl is simultaneously and obviously doing. When students brainstorm, teach them the importance of listing verbs in their "infinitive form," which simply means in the form of this word equation: To + [verb]. Try to teach students to clip off affixes (like -ing and -ed) don't need to make it to the brainstorm. If they need the affixes later, they can add them, which is good practice.
I also like my students to know to clip their verbs to the infinitive form because that's the form they should be looking up in the dictionary when they are dealing with verbs. Set the foundation for this early by requiring important forms of their words.
So for my picture with the girl, I would list basic verbs in this form: laugh, swing, spin, smile, etc. I might also list phrasal verbs, like: kick dust, wave arms, smile for camera, etc. I also encourage metaphorical/poetic verbs, like: dance, fly, float, etc.
The idea here is to warm up their awareness of what a verb is before they press the buttons. What will ideally happen is a writer will ask, "Can I use a different verb than the one it gave me?" and to actually provide a "different verb" that's truly a verb. That's how you know you're teaching grammar, and that's how you incorporate it into writing.
By the way, for fourth grade and up, may I suggest you'll have students who love to write "Three Verb Poems," a format we created completely based on Brian Cleary's To Root, to Toot, to Parachute. They simply come up with simple poems where the three verbs rhyme, and they have to provide a visual that shows them going together. So if my poem was "To dash, to splash, to catch a rash," I would provide a picture of a kid playing at the public pool, most likely. With students who are a little older (or who really like to rhyme), this is a fun option. You can freely access quite a few verb poetry tasks I created inspired by the mentor texts you see on this page: Verb Invigoration lesson.
Once you feel your students have a handle on what actions verbs do in sentences, they need to play the verb game above, which asks them to write a story based on two random action verbs.
If your students feel the verb game--as presented above--is too easy, I provide you with this challenge: instead of a person or animal, write about a place (or setting) that focuses on two action verbs, like a place that glistens and flows. One of my best writing lessons shows my students how to revise their setting descriptions so they contain mostly action verbs, and none or only a few linking verbs (was, were, am, are, is, become, etc.). This is tough. Settings are passive places. How do you make a place come alive through your use of action verbs?
Finally, we are looking for interesting writing that was completed by K-5 students, using this writing prompt. Eventually, we'd like to feature the writing here as an inspiration to future students who come across this online writing prompt.
Student Samples? If you have a student sample inspired by this page's interactive prompt, and if it would excite that student to have it be seen, please post it as a reply to this Pin at our Pinterest Board of Kid Prompts. Kindly, do not post students' last names. I'm looking for K-5 samples to share on this page, and I'll send you a gift from our Teachers Pay Teachers store if we end up publishing your student at this page as an exemplar for other students to enjoy and analyze.