How Do You Do? Thinking Outside the Adverb Box

How Do You Do? Thinking Outside the Adverb Box

Susan Verner
by Susan Verner 16,851 views

Reading, writing, and arithmetic may be the foundations when it comes to education, but in ESL classes the foundations are nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.

Your students have probably reviewed these parts of speech many times in their ESL studies already, even if they are only just at the beginning level. The following four activities target adverb practice and do it in out of the ordinary ways. They will get your students interested, solidify the concept and vocabulary of adverbs in their minds, and make class fun.

Check Out These Inspiring  Ideas for Adverb Practice

  1. 1

    Acting Out

    We all enjoy a little play acting from time to time, and getting your ESL students moving in class will help them remember better and learn faster. What better reason do you need for incorporating this silly adverb game into your lesson plans? Divide your class into groups of around four or five students each. Give each group a paper bag and ten index cards. Each group will be responsible for supplying part of the game with these materials. Half of your groups should write adverbs – one on each card. They should be adverbs of manner, or those that show how something is done (clumsily, secretly, boldly, etc.). The other half of your class will write actions on their cards. These actions should be something that they could do on any normal day (study for a test, make dinner, brush their teeth, etc.). They should label their bag either adverb or action. Ideally, you will have at least two groups coming up with adverbs and at least two groups coming up with actions. Once the groups have finished, have them put the cards in the bag and shake them up. Now comes the fun.

    One person from each group, on his turn, chooses one card from an adverb bag and one card from an action bag (not the bags they filled). He must then perform the action in the manner defined by the adverb card. He might end up brushing his teeth loudly or studying for a test angrily. His group will then try to guess what action he is performing and in what manner. He will only have sixty seconds to perform, and he cannot say any of the words on any of the cards while he does. In fact, it’s best if he doesn’t say anything at all. If his team is able to guess correctly, they score ten points. Teams take turns performing. At the end of the game (when you run out of time, cards, or students) whichever team has the most points wins.

  2. 2

    Animal Actions

    If you are teaching children in your ESL class, they will love this animal themed dice game that gets them up and moving. To play, you will need three blank dice, white board dice, or paper “dice”. With your class, decide on six adverbs that you will write on one of the dice. Take suggestions from your students if possible, and suggest your own adverbs when necessary. You might want to include quickly, carefully, angrily, noisily, or sadly. For the second die, have your students decide on six animals that you will fill in the blanks. These can be any common animals such as an elephant, a dog, a cat, a mouse, a bear, a fish, or a bird. On the third die, you and your students will decide on six actions that any of these animals might perform. Your actions should be simple, daily actions like eat, walk, talk, or sleep. Now that your dice are ready, give each student a chance to show off their acting abilities. On his turn, your student rolls all the dice. He should put the three words into a sentence (either orally or on the front board) and then act out how the animal performs the action. For example, if he rolled quickly, dog, and eat he should form the sentence: the dog eats quickly. Then he would pretend to be the dog and act out his sentence. Be prepared for laughs from your students and eager volunteers for the next roll. Make sure everyone in class gets at least one turn. If you like, you can keep the dice in a learning center for independent learning time. Also include a lap size dry erase board so students can write out their sentences as they play with a partner.

  3. 3

    Adverb Battleship

    In this game, your students will have to identify the adverb in sentences in order to sink their enemy’s ships. First, review with your students how to play Battleship. Then divide your class into two teams (or four teams if your class is very large). Each team should set up a grid and position their ships on a ten by ten grid of graph paper, keeping the paper hidden from the opposite team. They should label the columns A-J and the rows 1-10. Each team should have five ships on their grid covering a total of 17 spaces. Each team will need to write 17 sentences which contain one adverb. You may want to give them a list of common adverbs or a collection of the adverbs your class has already learned to help them as they write their sentences. Once the sentences are complete, collect the lists of adverbs, and it’s time to play. Each team calls one coordinate. If it is a miss, nothing happens and the other team takes a turn. If it is a hit, the other team reads one of their adverb sentences. The first team must correctly identify the adverb in that sentence. If they do, the hit counts. If they do not correctly identify the adverb, the hit does not count and the other team takes its turn. They will have to try and identify the adverb in that same sentence on their next turn. Play continues until one team has identified the adverb in all of its opponent’s sentences and sunk all of their ships.

  4. 4

    Adverb Memory

    No matter how old we are, we all have some idea of how the world works. We know that racecars move quickly and turtles move slowly. We know that soldiers march stiffly and surgeons move carefully. To prepare for this easy card game, work with your students to list ten to fifteen sentences that describe how the world works. Each sentence should include one adverb. Then have students work with a partner to create a set of cards with those sentences. To make a matching pair, students write the noun and verb on one card and the adverb on a second card. When placed next to each other, these cards will make a complete sentence. (Racecars move)(quickly). Using these cards, your students are now ready to play memory. To prepare, students lay all the shuffled cards face down on a desk top. They take turns flipping two cards at a time over in hopes of making a match. If the cards match, they keep them and take another turn. If the cards do not match, they flip them back and the other person takes a turn. Play continues until all the matches have been made. The player with the most cards wins the game.

Not only do these activities give your students practice using and reviewing adverbs, they make class fun and memorable. Try them the next time you want to review adverbs with your students.

Do you have any unusual activities for teaching or reviewing adverbs?

Share them in the comments below.

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