Adverb lesson plans can move beyond the worksheet with a few simple activities.
Adverbs can be tricky to identify, and they can be tricky in student writing. Older students are expected to understand words and how they change and work in sentences. (Do we need a noun or adverb for this sentence? How can I change this adjective to an adverb?) When working with vocabulary lessons, adverbs often crop up on lists.
Plus, language standards for older students require a strong foundation of basic concepts like adverbs. You probably won’t be introducing adverbs to older students, but you might review them. Typical activities for adverbs are geared toward younger students. If your secondary students need to review adverbs, I have talking points and grammar lessons below.
Overall, most high school students are familiar with adverbs. After a pretest, I look at the data and decide where instruction should go. Dependent upon my students’ needs, I’ll proceed one of several ways with my adverb lesson plans.
Scaffold back to verbs
Students might need a complete review of adverbs. Before we work on adverbs, start with a quick review of verbs. We practice verbs. We might add adverbs, or find them if they are in there. But honestly if students do not understand adverbs, day one of adverbs is a review of verbs.
By this point of grammar lessons, we have done almost all the parts of speech; students have done nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. So if I need to go over some of the material, if I need to do a quick presentation over adverbs, I will. I just emphasize to students that we’re never going to stop using these terms. We will talk about adverbs with vocabulary and writing.
The expectation is that they’re going to not only know the definition and be able to identify an adverb, but they are also going to be able to apply that knowledge. I definitely emphasize that and use the proper terminology when working with student writing, vocabulary practice, and sentence structure.
Provide multiple practice opportunities
I might review adverbs with a quick worksheet, and then I’ll find that we are done with identification of adverbs. Like I mentioned, every class is different! With older students, a worksheet might be a simple fix. Students have worked with adverbs before and only need a quick refresher before moving to more complex ideas like adverb clauses. A worksheet can provide quick review, and you can move to manipulatives with adverb clauses.
If students struggle to understand adverbs, we will complete scaffolded grammar stations. Stations enable me to rotate and move around the room.
From whatever adverb review we complete, I observe what students understand and where they struggle. Then we focus on that area (perhaps students can’t remember negatives as adverbs), and then we move to application and analysis.
Apply to writing
I know when I write, my editor tells me that I use too many adverbs, and she takes them out. You might have students who use too many adverbs like I do.
So using student writing, providing that background, and using the words, and showing students the way the words work. At that point, I sometimes have students misusing adjectives and adverbs. I maybe have noticed a few extra ly’s, students not using their commas properly, or even misplaced and dangling modifiers.I hone in on that, and that’s normally day three or day four of adverbs.
I will start to highlight those areas of troubles in modifiers so that we can apply adverb knowledge to writing.
When I say writing, I don’t necessarily mean some great big, huge, long paper. Sometimes I just have students write sentences to close the day. I’ll say, “write a sentence with an action verb and include at least one adverb.” Other ideas for directing students include:
- Write a sentence with a negative and include a coordinate adjective.
- Write a sentence with an adverb that answers the question when. (Interchange any of the questions that adverbs answer.)
- Write a sentence with an adverb that modifies another adverb.
- Write two sentences, underline the adjectives, circle the adverb.
This can just be a quick writing activity or an exit ticket! I don’t always have a fancy exit ticket, sometimes it can just be a notecard. Hang the note cards up as part of a word wall. If you are looking to elevate your students’ understanding of grammar in context, ask them to evaluate the use of adverbs. You can download (for free) my tool for higher order thinking with grammar.
With a few well-placed questions, you can elevate students’ thinking of grammar concepts. Move them from “identification” to “evaluation.” Adverb lesson plans should be more than basic knowledge.
Connect to vocabulary
Of course you can connect adverbs to writing, but you can also connect them to vocabulary. Older students might have tough SAT vocabulary words. You might have vocabulary words from stories too.
Other times, you can encourage students to choose their vocabulary words from a story with a one-pager. Then, turn those adverbs into a word wall or student created bulletin board. Review with students their creations. You can also ask students to use those words in writing, to add pictures to the adverbs, or to evaluate their use in context. What I enjoy most about student-led lessons is that each students can show understanding in a unique way.
I dislike creating bulletin boards and whenever I can, I ask students to make them. The adverb one-pager also contains material to make a word wall or bulletin board. Students interact with the adverb by defining it, evaluating it, or writing about it.
Introduce adverb clauses
However! Some years, students completely take off with adverbs, and the practice is only a review. If older students are ready, we work on adverb clauses.
When students understand adverbs and subjects and verbs, I typically introduce adverb clauses to them. I probably won’t spend extensive time finding adverb clauses, but I will write them with students. Doing so nicely builds a bigger picture of adverbs, and students will be aware of them when we study sentence structure.
We typically close the adverbs section with a worksheet, a grammar station rotation, or a word wall. Lots of sticky notes, lots of writing, and lots of interaction with student-made materials.
My adverb lesson plans look different every year because students’ needs always differ. After I gather data, I move in the direction of meeting standards appropriate for their grade level.