Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Vivid Adjectives

Kathy Gordon-Dick


This lesson encourages students to use descriptive language in creative writing. The student writes a short story about one topic in which they use specific adjectives in a sequence to describe nouns.


The student uses parts of speech correctly in written word (including but not limited to verb tenses, plurals of common irregular nouns, comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs).

The student writes for a variety of occasions, audiences, and purposes (for example, letters to invite or thank, stories or poems to entertain, information to record).


- Overhead projector
- Dry-erase Markers
- Transparencies
- Paper
- Pencil
- Chart paper
- Markers
- A list of nouns for game (See attached file.)
- A list of adjectives for student stories (See attached file.)
- Peer Review Checklist (see attached file)
- Thesaurus
- Dictionaries


1. Make student copies of the attached file- list of nouns.
2. Make student copies of the attached file - Peer Review Checklist.
3. Set up the classroom for game.
4. Divide class.
5. Set up overhead projector, transparencies, markers.
6. Write adjectives for class story on board or chart paper (See procedures).
7. Write adjectives for individual stories on board or chart paper. (See attached file.) Cover until you are ready to give directions in the lesson.
8. Have lesson plan handy for reference during the guided writing section.


*Note: Students should have prior knowledge of the basic process for creating a paragraph, such as indentation, capitalization, punctuation, sentence structure, and connecting ideas together from one topic.

1. Review that an adjective is a word that describes a noun. It makes the noun more interesting. Tell students that when they use adjectives, it makes their writing more -vivid- and -come alive- for the reader.
2. Motivational Activity (15 min.): Divide the class into two groups. Assign each group a noun from the attached list. (See attached file). Have one student from each group work at the board. At a signal, students at the board write as many adjectives as they can to describe their noun. After three minutes, students will return to seats. Other members of the group have one minute to add additional adjectives to their noun. The group with the largest number of correct adjectives receives one point. (If teacher allows for more time, play again another day, and each member of the group can have a chance to record adjectives at the board.)
Suggestions for use of team points: Give points a value and the students can trade in for: -no homework nights, - extra free time, -library time, - lunch outside, etc.
3. The teacher refers to the following ten vivid adjectives already written on the board. Read them with students and discuss any words with which students are not familiar, such as lively, evil, magnificent, dainty, ugly, noble, plump, beautiful, marvelous and wonderful.
4. As a group, with teacher guidance, the students create a story using the adjectives in sequence. The teacher records the story on the overhead projector.

For example: The lively, young girl tried on her magnificent gown. Tonight she would go to the ball. Just then, her ugly stepsister appeared at the door.

Give the students feedback. Encourage staying with the story line and using vivid details to entertain the reader. Vivid details allow the reader to get a picture in his or her mind. Model this with appropriate sentences. See if the students can point out adjectives used other than those listed. The word young would be an additional adjective to describe the girl. Point out that -the lively, young girl- sounds better than -the girl.- One can get a picture of her in his or her mind, and it sets the scene for the rest of the story.
5. Change the sequence of the words and write another story using the same procedure.
6. Students are given a list of ten adjectives to review. (See attached file). Tell them they are to create their own story on paper using the adjectives in sequence. This is independent work. Dictionary use is encouraged.
7. Distribute copies of the Peer Review Checklist (see attached file) to students. Explain that they will partner up and share their stories after completing them. Read over the checklist and explain the expected criteria before they begin.
8. Provide individual feedback when possible during their writing time.
9. The following day, allow students to finish stories if needed. Have students pair and share (best practice) their stories with each other. Ask them to identify additional adjectives in their partner's story.
10. Collect stories for teacher assessment.


Each student should have a completed short story using the adjectives in sequence to describe nouns correctly.

Check student paragraphs to formatively assess:
-adjectives used in sequence
-correct vocabulary usage (adjective-noun) correlation
-ideas connected together to convey meaning


For additional practice or ESE/ESOL modifications use a thesaurus to generate other lists of adjectives, or use some of the student-generated ones from the motivational game. Consider allowing students to copy the words for the story at the top of their papers before starting and let them check the word off as they write. You could also write the words for them or provide them with a handout. Use one list of adjectives for this story and save the other for another lesson; then show both and let students choose or divide them among the class.

Web Links

Web supplement for Vivid Adjectives

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