Teaching adjectives




Materials and Preparation

  • Color printed images of various objects, animals, and people (Each sheet should have 2 inch margins all around.)
  • Tape or magnets
  • Small notebooks

Introduction (10 minutes)

  • On the board, write several phrases with adjectives. For example: "fuzzy caterpillar," "scruffy pirate," "happy puppy," or "sweet apple." Write at least eight sets.
  • Tell the students that they will learn about adjectives. Explain that adjectives are words that describe, or tell about, other words.
  • Draw their attention to the board, slowly and deliberately read each set of words.
  • Go back to the first phrase. Point to the adjective and draw a line underneath it. Tell the students that this word is an adjective because it describes the noun beside it.
  • Repeat this process with the next two phrases.
  • From the fourth phrase onward, let the students identify each adjective.

Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (10 minutes)

  • Use a piece of tape or magnet to display one of the printed images on the board.
  • Below the image, write a word that describes it. For example, you could write "colorful" underneath a picture of a parrot.
  • Put up another image. Now, let the students give you words that describe that image. Allow them to use adjective phrases as well, e.g. "sharp beak."
  • Write each accurate suggestion below the image.
  • Take one of the adjectives or adjective phrases and use it in a sentence. For example, "The parrot has a very sharp beak." Underline the adjective and (if applicable) circle the noun it describes.
  • Repeat this process for the other suggestions.

Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (15 minutes)

  • Organize the class into equal groups.
  • Place the rest of the printed images face-down on a table and fan them out.
  • Have each group select a captain.
  • Walk to each group and let its captain choose a sheet.
  • Once each group has a picture, have the captains turn the sheets over.
  • Ask students to think about words that describe their pictures and discuss their words with their group members.
  • Have them write their words within the margins of the sheet.
  • After about 10 minutes, let the captains show their pictures and read the adjectives each group member wrote.
  • Give each group a small notebook. Tell them to choose two of their words to use in sentences, and have them write the sentences in their notebooks.
  • Visit groups as they work, giving assistance or comments where necessary.

Independent Working Time (15 minutes)

  • Have students choose images from the remaining sheets to describe independently.
  • Each student should write at least three adjectives or adjective phrases and use at least two of them in sentences.
  • Remind students to underline the adjectives and circle the words they describe. Walk around the room to give assistance as needed.



  • Enrichment: Advanced students can be asked to also write exclamatory and interrogative sentences with their words.
  • Support: Visit struggling students and guide them through writing their sentences.

Technology Integration

An interactive whiteboard or document camera and projector may be used to display the printed images.

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