Verb Types

Learning the parts of speech is so important! Honestly, this content is the basis for writing solid sentences. However, students often struggle with applying what they have learned while writing sentences. Additionally, there is an extra challenge when there are multiple types of a certain part of speech. For instance, learning verbs can be so complicated! Since there are many different verb types, there is just so much to remember. Thankfully, engaging lessons will be sure to help students master this content! 


Different Verb Types

While students may first learn a verb is an action, they will quickly realize there are multiple verb types. Thus, it is crucial to break down verb types with students to avoid getting overwhelmed. Furthermore, engaging activities will be helpful! 

Action Verbs

Explain what the sentence’s subject is doing or has done.

To help students understand action verbs, try these suggestions:

  1. Simon Says: Students love to play Simon Says! Thus, I add action verbs to help them remember this verb type is about doing something. For instance, I might say, “Simon says to hop around two desks.” After completing the action, review the specific action verb to ensure students understand the material. 
  2. Story Scavenger Hunt: It is helpful to tie grammar standards into reading. Therefore, students can go on a scavenger hunt with a story read in class. Likewise, students can do this independently or in small groups when there are multiple copies of a book. They will have so much fun searching for action verbs! 
  3. Act It Out: Students must connect to the content. Hence, the game Act It Out helps students understand and connect to the material. Here, students receive simple sentences that contain action verbs. Then, they act the sentence out in small groups and identify the action verb. If students struggle, I remind them to think about what they are doing! 

Helping Verbs

This verb type’s job is to help the main verb by extending its meaning and adding detail to the complete structure of the sentence.

To help students understand helping verbs, try these suggestions below! 

  1. Find the Helpers: Students all receive the same story in this activity. However, there can be different levels of students working in small groups to differentiate. Then, students go through and highlight all of the helping verbs. After students finish, they can share how many helping verbs they found in this activity. Ultimately, this is a great way to bring cooperative learning into lessons! 
  2. Everyone Needs Help: In this activity, students will write 3-5 sentences containing helping verbs. Then, they will make a list of the words they used and cross them out within their writing. Students will exchange papers and see if they can fill in the correct helping verb. 

Linking Verbs

Connect the subject to the words that tell about the subject 

To help students understand linking verbs, try this suggestion below! 

  1. Create the Link: Students may work alone or in small groups for this activity. They will write sentences but leave the correct linking verb out. Then, groups will exchange and fill in the correct linking verbs. Often, it is helpful to have a linking verb word bank. Students can then share their responses and gain feedback if the response makes sense. Additionally, this is a great way to practice correct verb tenses! 

Verb Tenses and Irregular Verbs

While teaching types of verbs, it will be essential to address verb tenses as well. The different tenses may confuse students, so it will be helpful to let them know verbs can be in past, present, and future tense. 


To help students understand verb tenses, try these suggestions below! 

  1. Word Sort: Students will be given a sheet with three sections for the different tenses. Then, they will have an envelope of words. To complete, they will sort the verbs into the correct category. Furthermore, this activity is perfect to practice irregular verbs. This allows students to show how not all past tense verbs need to end in -ed. Thus, using irregular verbs within the word sort allows students to practice this skill.
  2. Lego Match: Legos are a student favorite! Here, I write different tenses of the same verb on legos of the same size. Students will then match the different tenses together. 

Practicing Verb Types

When thinking about the different verb types, it can seem stressful to plan so many activities. However, it is so crucial for students to learn this material. Thankfully, there are plenty of created materials to implement in the classroom instantly! For instance, the Verb Activities Bundle contains engaging lessons on verb tenses and different types of verbs. Since every classroom is different, the bundle is also broken down into various products.  Specifically, there are verb tense task cards and irregular verb task cards. Additionally, there are verb tense worksheets and action, helping, and linking verb task cards. Honestly, there are so many ready-to-go activities that are engaging and interactive! Students will love learning about verbs with any of these resources. 


While they may only represent one part of speech, there are many verb types to learn! Thus, this content will take time, patience, and creativity to ensure students stay focused and interested in the material. Thankfully, any of the activities and resources above will help students enjoy every minute of learning about verbs! 

Around this time of year, I was always teaching context clues as well so you may find this post helpful!

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I am Kirsten Tulsian, an elementary educator with 18 years of experience as a teacher and counselor. My passion lies in empowering students to discover their inherent brilliance through the use of engaging, rigorous, and meaningful activities. I look forward to connecting with you!

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