Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Strong Verb Image Makers

Carol Swanick


Strong verbs make strong writing. Students use description language to clarify ideas and create vivid images in an essay.


The student uses creative writing strategies appropriate to the format (for example, using appropriate voice; using descriptive language to clarify ideas and create vivid images; using elements of style, such as appropriate tone).

The student listens attentively to the speaker (including but not limited to making eye contact and facing the speaker).


-Paper and pencil for each student
-[Brave Irene] by William Steig, 1986, Harper Collins Canada Ltd.
-[Razzle Dazzle Writing] by Melissa Forney, 2001 Maupin House Publishing, Inc.
-Student Response Sheet (see Associated File)
-Vivid Image Checklist (see Associated File)
-Formal Dress
-Easy Listening Music


1. Get book [Brave Irene] by William Steig, Harper Collins, Ltd. 1986.
2. Bring in a formal dress.
3. Be sure students have pencil and paper.
4. Make copies of Student Response Sheet for each student. (Associated File)
5. Make copies of the Vivid Image Checklist (Associated File) for students to use as a guide for writing expectations.
6. Gather easy listening music if desired.
7. Get "Strong Verb vs Weak Verb" play found in [Razzle Dazzle Writing] by Melissa Forney. Maupin House Pubished, Inc. 2001, if desired.


1. Students should have their writing materials, pencil and paper.

2. Bring in a formal dress and hang it in the front of the classroom so it is visible to the students. Do this to stimulate student interest in the story [Brave Irene] which focuses on Irene's journey to bring the dress to the duchess.

3. Define strong verbs and weak verbs using examples of each type, i.e. went or
scampered to familiarize students with vivid images. (Other examples: said and whispered, walk and wander, ate and savored,) Discuss vivid images and descriptive phrases. (For example: The stars looked like jewels flung against a black, velvet sky. He got a long legged girl with a wide mouth and cheekbones like handlebars. It started out as snow, oh, big flakes, floating softly, catching on my sweater, lacy on the edges of my sleeves. ) Help students to see that the better image the words create, the better the reader understands the text.

4. Select four students to perform a three minute play by Melissa Forney entitled "Strong Verb vs. Weak Verb." (Optional activity: Ask two students to come to the front of the room. Ask them to "walk" across the room. Ask them to "wander" back across the room. Ask them to "skip," "saunter," "jog," and "stride" across the room, pointing out how the strong verbs create more of a picture and give more direction than the weak verb of just "walk.")

5. Ask students to imagine a very special occasion that would require a very beautiful dress like the one brought in today. Tell them we are going to read a story titled [Brave Irene] which tells about a daughter's difficult journey to get a very special dress her mother made to a duchess.

6. Direct students to list on their papers strong verbs, vivid images, and descriptive language as the story is being read and model on board samples of each. Periodically stop and ask a student to name the last strong verb he/she wrote down or the last vivid description or phrase noted. Tell other students to list it as well.

7. Remind them to write down the strong verbs, spelling them to the best of their abilities and to jot down vivid words/phrases as they listen. (As you read, note students who do not seem to be listening or are off task.)

8. Read to the students [Brave Irene] by William Steig as an exemplary example of strong verbs needed to clarify ideas and create vivid images in their writing.

9. Allow students to share with partners their lists of strong verbs, descriptive phrases,and vivid images they have written while listening to the story [Brave Irene]. They may select words/phrases from their partners' lists and add them to their own list of words. Allow a few minutes to share, giving positive or corrective feedback as necessary.

10. Distribute Student Response Sheets. (See Associated File.) Go over and discuss with the students, asking for questions. Review good listening behaviors.

11. Instruct students to use their lists to write an essay recalling the events of the story using the vivid images to create descriptive language and to clarify ideas. Allow 30 minutes to complete the essay.

12. Play music while the students write their essays if desired.

13. When students have finished, review the objectives of the Student Response Sheet and that it is each student's responsibility to listen to peers as they read their essays. Let students know that you will be circulating and observing if they are practicing good listening behaviors such as eye contact, full concentration, not talking to someone else, etc.

14. Students share their essays with a partner while the partner completes the
Student Response Sheet noting the use of vivid images and strong verbs.

15. Partner student provides feedback to student reading essay using the Student Response Sheet. Once each student has received feedback, allow time for students to revise their essays based on the feedback from the partner and self.

16. Students turn in essays and Student Response Sheets. These will be used to assess student performance.


Use checklist to assess students' essays and the ability to use descriptive language, clarify ideas, and create vivid images.
- use strong verbs in creative writing
- write for the purpose of entertainment

Use student response sheets to assess each nstudentís ability to:
- listen to an oral presentation
- respond to an oral reading
* The checklist and student response sheets are in the Associated Files.


1. Some students may need additional help to write their essays. This may be accomplished by having their student partners assist in the identification of vivid images.

2. This lesson plan is easily adapted to other parts of speech. For example, adjectives and adverbs could be identified and used to write an essay.

Attached Files

Strong Verb/Vivid Image Checklist     File Extension: pdf

Student Response Sheet     File Extension: pdf

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