A Lesson Plan on Parts of Speech

Lewis Carroll

(A brief comment on parts of speech)

Individual words are not parts of speech. Instead, words are forms which act as parts of speech. But you don’t have to take my word for it.

According to Otto Jespersen, from the book The Philosophy of Grammar (1924):

Take the form round: this is a substantive in “a round of a ladder,” “he took his daily round,” an adjective in “a round table,” a verb in “he failed to round the lamp-post,” an adverb in “come round to-morrow,” and a preposition in “he walked round the house.” While similarly may be a substantive (he stayed here for a while), a verb (to while away time), and a conjunction (while he was away)….On the other hand, we have a great many words which can belong to one word-class only; admiration, society, life can only be substantives, polite only an adjective, was, comprehend only verbs, at only a preposition. (61)

A Lesson on Parts of Speech


White board and markers or Smartboard with Microsoft Word

Academic Area – Parts of Speech
This is a unit designed to enable students to identify four major parts of speech: nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs.

Goals and Objectives:
Identify nouns, adjectives, and action verbs adverbs in context

Instructor will: Implement a variety of whole class small groups and paired activities in order to instantiate the concept of parts of speech.

Students will: Generate lists of the four parts of speech covered as a whole class activity and in small groups.

Lesson 1–Nouns

a) Teacher will ask if anyone can define the word “noun” (Answer: person, place, thing, or idea)
b) Write “noun test” on the board:
The noun test is simply putting an article or a personal pronoun in front of a word
Example: My ____________.
The ____________.
A ______________
c) Students will generate a list of nouns which I write on the board.
d) Students will “pair and share” to create a longer list of nouns.

Lesson 2–Adjectives

a) The teacher reviews nouns, using the “noun test” and ask students to give examples of nouns which he writes on the board, (Noun test: words that follow articles or possessive pronouns.)
b) Teacher will provide the definition of adjective, “a word that modifies a noun” Ask if anyone knows what modifies means. Explain how people sometimes modify their cars.
c) Using the list of nouns generated by the students, the teacher will have students give examples of words which would modify the meaning of these nouns.

d) Teacher will introduce the “adjective test”: My ____________house is ___________
or my __________________sister is _________. (it works with any noun)

e) Select five students to fill in the blank. For example, “My blue house is clean” Or, “My young sister is smart.”
f) Pair and Share: Give students five minutes to generate lists of adjectives individually and then share the lists with their seatmates.

Lesson 3–Verbs

a) Ask students to define both types of verbs (answer: state of being verbs and action verbs)

b) This lesson will focus on action verbs. Demonstrate the Verb Test:
Yesterday I _____________ed
Let’s ____________________
Tomorrow, I will ________________

c) Direct students to generate lists of action verbs in groups of four (at their tables)
d) Review lists with entire class.

Lesson 4–Adverbs

a) Review action verb definition from lesson three.
b) Explain that adverbs “modify” verbs. (Review the word modify from lesson two)
c) Write the “adverb test” on the board:

I ran __________________
Debbie ate _____________
Buffy talks ______________

(Teacher should sure to explain that adverbs do not always have to follow the verb directly and that they are not always “-ly” words. Also note how a part of speech depends upon context. For example, in the sentence “I ran home,” “home” is an adverb, although one would usually use it as a noun. Or, in the sentence “I ran fast,” fast is an adverb, but in the sentence “Hector is a fast runner” it would be an adjective. Also inform students that this is a working definition of adverbs because adverbs can also modify adjectives and other adverbs)

Evaluation (After also teaching prepositions, interjections, conjunctions, and onomatopoeia.)

1. Distribute copies of the poem Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll to the entire class.
2. Have students take turns reading the poem aloud, one line at a time.
3. Play a version of the poem from Youtube or Librivox.
4. Group students and allow ten minutes for them to determine the parts of speech of the nonsense words.

“Twas Brillig (adj) and the slithy (adj) toves (noun)
Did gyre and gimble (verb) in the wabe (noun):

5. Review as a teacher-directed, whole-class activity.

by Richard W. Bray

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2 Responses to “A Lesson Plan on Parts of Speech”

  1. A Lesson Plan on Simple Sentences | Laughter hope sock in the eye's Blog Says:

    […] Step 1. Teach this lesson on parts of speech. […]

  2. An Activity for Assessing Characters from a Novel (Love Medicine by Loiuse Erdrdich) | Laughter hope sock in the eye's Blog Says:

    […] #2 Review nouns and adjectives. […]

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