Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Crazy Critters Teach Parts of Speech

Andrea Farage


During -Crazy Critters Teach Parts of Speech,- students examine a paragraph they have written to determine the individual strengths and weaknesses of their writing. Included is a specific study of adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, nouns, and verbs.


The student demonstrates a command of the language (including but not limited to precise word choice, appropriate figurative language).

The student uses an effective organizational pattern and substantial support to achieve a sense of completeness or wholeness (for example, considering audience, sequencing events, choosing effective words; using specific details to clarify meaning).

The student proofreads writing to correct convention errors in mechanics, usage, and punctuation, using dictionaries, handbooks, and other resources, including teacher or peers, as appropriate.

The student analyzes and revises draft to further develop a piece of writing by adding or deleting details and explanations; clarifying difficult passages; and rearranging words, sentences, and paragraphs to improve meaning.

The student uses electronic technology appropriate to writing tasks (including but not limited to the Internet, databases and software) to create, revise, retrieve, and verify information.


-Parts of speech worksheet (download master from Associated File)
-Peer evaluation worksheet (download master from Associated File)
-Teacher evaluation worksheet (download master from Associated File)
-Creative Critter drawing worksheet (download master from Associated File)
-Chalkboard & chalk
-Coloring pens, pencils or crayons
-Construction Paper


The teacher needs to:
1. Make copies of parts of speech worksheet, peer evaluation worksheet, teacher evaluation and comment sheet, Crazy Critter creative drawing worksheet/cover page.
2. If you want to save paper, all but the Creative Critter drawing worksheet can be placed on overhead transparencies for use in class.
3. If using overhead instead of worksheets, be sure to have overhead and transparency pens available for use during this week.
4. Make sure you have crayons, ink pens, glue, scissors, and construction paper available for completion of the Crazy Critter creative drawing worksheet.
5. Bring in your favorite “creature” or “critter” short story to read to the class on the first day of this lesson.
6. Bring in a sample of “good” descriptive writing to read to students.


1. Prewriting: -Which one is mine?- (Worksheet in attached file gives all instructions for students.) Pass out copies to students.

2. Have students take out a piece of clean white notebook paper. Students' name should be in the center of the paper. Tell them to color the paper in any manner they see fit. Then, after 10 minutes, have students crumple paper up and set it in front of them on their desk. They will then take a clean sheet of paper out and describe the crumpled paper that is in front of them. Encourage students to use as many descriptive words as possible so that someone reading their paper would be able to identify their crumpled wads versus another student’s crumpled wad. This is a good place to review adjectives and adverbs and how they help describe nouns.

3. Give students 10 minutes to write out their descriptions. At the end of the ten minutes, collect students' descriptions of their paper. (Depending on the level of your students, you may wish to complete the activity with them and give them an example of the description you would give to help identify your paper before they begin their writing.)

4. Collect students' crumpled paper from the desks and place them on a table at the front of the room that students can easily walk around. Pass student descriptions back among class members making sure that no student gets their own paper.

5. After students read the descriptions, have them find the paper that matches the description at the front table.

6. Some students may not be able to find their wads and that is OK. You should limit the search for their paper wads to five minutes. At the end of five minutes have students return to their seat and discuss what details would have helped students find their paper. Ask if there was anything in the description that confused them. Ask students who had a particularly easy time finding their sheets what helped them. Once again, restate the importance of word choice. Adjectives, adverb, and common noun usage versus pronouns and no descriptive words make it easier for the reader to see what the writer is trying to present.

7. At this point, introduce the writing assignment and its purpose. (See attachment #2- transparencies with assignment and guidelines).

8. Students write one paragraph about a creature they create from their imagination. If your class has completed lesson one in this series, entitled Crazy Critters Creative Writing, you can use the essays or paragraphs they developed in that lesson.

9. Encourage your students to be creative and to be as specific as possible in writing their paragraphs so that their readers have the same image in their mind as the student that is writing the paragraph.

10. Tell students to create some unique creatures of their own. Give them the following examples to help generate ideas: a giraffe with a short neck, a zebra without stripes, and an elephant without a trunk.

11. Have students alter animals that are already in existence to create their crazy critters. They should write a minimum of five crazy critters on their paper. If your classroom structure permits, pairing two students together helps generate ideas in this stage.

12. Students can begin writing their paragraph in class, but should finish the paragraph for homework if they are unable to finish during the class period.

Day Two
13. Day two begins with a review of the paragraphs students have written at home. Ask for any volunteers who wish to read their paragraphs out loud.

14. Two or three examples should be sufficient to point out strengths and weaknesses in the writing. The goal is to develop a vivid descriptive paragraph that places a mental picture in the reader’s mind that matches that in the writer’s mind.

15. Go over the Parts of Speech worksheet (attachment #3) and explain to the students that they are to break down their writing into the fundamental categories so that they can see where their strengths lie and what they need to work on.

16. Review what a noun, verb, adjective, pronoun and adverb is supposed to do.

17. Have students fill out attachment #3 based on their writing by filling in each category with words from their papers. They should then answer the questions at the bottom of the worksheet.

18. Tell students they should go through their writing and replace as many of the pronouns as possible with proper or common nouns.

19. Replace verbs like -go- with verbs like -skipped,- -jumped,- -slithered,- -strolled,- etc.

20. Students should add at least five adjectives to their paragraph and should have at least two adverbs if they don’t have any.

21. After reviewing attachment #3, have them rewrite their paragraph with the required elements.

22. Students resubmit the revised paragraph to the teacher who pairs them with a partner who later evaluates and comments on their work.

Day Three
Students rewrite the rough draft, correcting errors in spelling, punctuation, word choice and grammar. Students make changes suggested on the
-Peer Evaluation Sheet.- Optional…Their final draft is typed in a word processing program and handed in with a cover sheet (#4 in attachment file)


During the lesson and activities, use the following formative assessment materials, which contain the assessment criteria:
-Peer evaluation worksheets for self-assessment and revision
-Teacher evaluation and comment sheet (evaluation of student writing)
-Parts of speech worksheet (to determine understanding of parts of speech)


Modifications: Students with stronger writing and leadership skills are paired with students of lower learning levels to help complete activities.

Extensions: On the BEACON Learning Center is a creative writing lesson entitled -Crazy Critters Creative Writing Assignment- that is a good introduction to this unit. There is also a figurative language lesson entitled -Figuratively Speaking with Crazy Critters- that is a good follow-up to this lesson.
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