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Verb-Adverb Charades


  • Arts & Humanities
    --Language Arts
    --Theater Arts


  • 3-5
  • 6-8

Brief Description

Verbs and adverbs take center stage in this lively activity.


Students will

  • silently act out a variety of verbs and adverbs.


verb, adverb, grammar, pantomime, drama, acting, theater

Materials Needed 

  • a stack of cards labeled with verbs (sample list provided)
  • a stack of cards labeled with adverbs (sample list provided)

Lesson Plan

This lively activity will reinforce the concepts of verb and adverbs.

Before the Lesson
Create two sets of cards; each set should be on a different colored paper. Make at least one card per student in each color. Index cards or paper cut to 3 x 5 inches works well.

  • Create a set of verb cards on cards of one color, at least one verb card per student. (See a sample verb list at the bottom of this section.)
  • Create a set of adverb cards on cards of another color. (See a sample adverb list at the bottom of this section.)
  • Stack the verb cards upside down in one pile; stack the adverb cards in another pile.

The Lesson
This game can be played as a whole class  or with the class divided into teams. (See team instructions below.) One at a time, have each student come up to the front of the class and draw a card from the stack of verb cards. Then the student must act out, or "pantomime," the word on the card.

The other students call out the word the student is acting out. The first person to call out the correct verb earns 1 point.

Then the same student who pantomimed the verb chooses and then acts out the word on his or her adverb card. The student must act it out as it relates to the verb that was just pantomimed.

As the student pantomimes his or her verb/adverb combination, others call out guesses for the adverb. When somebody guesses the correct adverb, that person earns 2 points.

Use this activity to instruct students about the role of adverbs: Adverbs modify or limit the action (verb) that is taking place in a sentence; adverbs provide more specific information about how that action is being carried out. For example, eating is an action everyone can visualize. But the action of eating can be carried out in many different ways. Eating swiftly creates a very different visual image than the image you get of someone eating thoughtfully or noisily or greedily Each of those adverbs modifies the verb eating in a different way.

Part of the fun of this game is that the verb-adverb combinations students draw from the stacks of cards don't always fit together. For example, a student might have to act out eat suspiciously or scream calmly.

Playing the Game in Teams
Students also can play the game in two or more teams. If playing in teams, you will want to alternate students, calling one student from each team before calling a second student from any team. You might give each student's team the first chance to guess the verb and adverb he or she is acting out. If a teammate does not guess the word by the end of a set time limit, then anyone on another team can call out the word and win those points.

Verb List
Following is a list of verbs that might be included in your set of cards. This list is only a "starter" list. Feel free to add to it or subtract from it:

argue attack carry celebrate
clean climb count cry
cut dig drink drive
drop eat enjoy examine
fall fight fold grab
jump kick kiss knock
laugh lead leave listen
open paint perform play
point pray run scream
search shout shake shut
sing sleep speak step
study sweep talk taste
teach think threaten throw
touch walk wash wave
wipe work worry write

Adverb List
Following is a list of adverbs that might be included in your set of cards. This list is only a "starter" list. Feel free to add to it or subtract from it:

accidentally angrily anxiously badly
blindly bravely briefly busily
calmly carelessly cautiously courageously
doubtfully easily elegantly enthusiastically
fiercely foolishly frantically gently
gladly gracefully greedily happily
hastily hungrily innocently inquisitively
lazily loudly madly merrily
mysteriously neatly nervously noisily
obnoxiously politely quickly quietly
rapidly recklessly reluctantly rudely
sadly selfishly seriously shyly
silently sleepily slowly solemnly
speedily suspiciously swiftly thoughtfully
victoriously violently wearily wildly

Added Note
You will also want to take time to introduce the idea that adverbs -- words that modify (or qualify or limit verbs) do not always end in the suffix ly. The following words are among the most common adverbs that do not end in ly.

afterwards almost even far
fast less more never
not often seldom soon
tomorrow too very well


Given ten sentences, students will circle correctly the adverb(s) in each sentence.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

Click to return to this week's lesson planning theme page, Teaching Grammar Without the Hammer: Five Fun Activities.