Subject: ESL/ELL (English Language Learning)

Lesson Length: 30 - 45 mins

Topic: Action Verbs

Grade Level: 3, 4, 5, 6

Standards / Framework:

Brief Description: Students will practice using action verbs to describe what is happening in the present tense.

Know Before You Start: Students should be familiar with common action verbs. This lesson is a great way to reinforce adding ing to the end of a verb to show present tense. Use this as a check for understanding sentence structure and spelling patterns.


  • Ask students: "What am I doing right now?"
  • Have students name the action. "You are ______." Student answers may include talking, standing, looking.
  • Explain that action verbs are words to explain the action of someone or something.


  • Read and discuss the sample comic. After reading each panel, ask:

    • Which word tells us what the person is doing in the sentence?

    • Which word is the subject- the person doing the action?  

  • Guide students to understand that we can add ing on the end of verbs to show they are happening right now, in the present.

  • Discuss how each sentence starts with a subject and then the correct form of be. Then we add ing to the end of the verb to show the action. 

  • Practice reading aloud or acting out the sentences to promote understanding of the present tense.  

  • Have students role play to show what they are doing while the other children have to guess what the action is using the correct form of the present-tense verb. 

  • Tell students to create a comic to show their action while focusing on using the correct sentence structure.

Closure: Have students share their comic with the whole group or in partners. Emphasize the importance of conjugating the verb correctly to show present tense.


  • Provide sentence stems as needed.

  • Allow students to use the speech to text feature.

  • Allow students to work with a peer model.

  • Provide a list of common verbs.

  • Provide visuals for students.


  • Comic to print or display: Comic.

  • Utilize student language levels to differentiate for individual students.

  • It’s Hard to Be a Verb by Julia Cook.