Verbs matter. Two events last fall prompted me to create task cards that would lead my students to understand the same.
The same week that I was commenting, “need precise verb” on students’ first papers more times than I could count, a curious incident befell our family pumpkin. Bewildered by a squirrel’s act against our family’s pumpkin last fall, I took a picture of this destruction and turned it into a teachable moment about selecting the strongest verbs when writing. My students loved this example, so I created similar examples with various other pictures.
The examples have helped my students develop a sensitivity to the nuances of verbs through images and quotations. And they work well. After evaluating the verbs in these cards, students improved weaker choices in their first essays (like “displays their loyalty”) to impactful ones: “reignites their bond.” Each example features an image or quotation and five or six verbs that students evaluate, ultimately selecting the most precise verb for the example.
For my emerging 9th grade writers – many of whom are on the road to using precise verbs – this resource is invaluable. It’s also a great mini-lesson or introduction for peer review work. I find that using these task cards for any grade level opens up a great discussion about the importance of precise verbs. This resource could also be used in a break-out environment or small groups during distance learning.
This resource includes:
- 12 engaging task cards with 75 precise verbs
- An answer key with explanations
- Suggested questions for discussion
- The correct answers feature the following precise verbs: gouged, unfurling, singed, upholding, brandishing, stockpiled, scrutinizing, incentivizing, protecting, sprouting, descending, and memorializing.
Learn more about this resource here.
How do you teach precise verbs in your classroom?