Subject: ELA (English Language Arts)

Lesson Length: 1 - 2 class sessions

Topic: Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

Grade Level: 1, 2

Standards / Framework:

  • CC.1.L.5.b
  • CC.2.L.5.b
  • CC.3.L.5.b

Brief Description: Students will describe an animal's key attributes using adjectives.

Know Before You Start: Students should be familiar with the words describe and characteristics.


  • Ask students:
    • “How can we describe something or someone?”
    • “What is an adjective?”
    • “What are the characteristics of a _______?”


  • Show a picture of an animal to the class and have students describe the animal.
  • Prompt students to share responses that fit into three categories that will help the students describe the animal’s attributes. The anchor chart has three sections: “can”, “have”, and “are” to help students generate answers. For example, you can show a picture of a dog and students might write “run, eat dog food, bark, and be different sizes” under the “can” section. Students might say dogs have “fur, a tail, and paws.” Students may share that dogs are “mammals, pets, and sometimes adopted by people.” Complete this activity 2-3 times. 
  • Share with students some of the words they are using to describe animals using adjectives. Explain that adjectives describe a noun. Adjectives can explain an amount, a color, the size, how something looks, feels, or sounds, and how it behaves. Highlight the adjectives your class recorded. 
  • Have students turn and talk with a partner about additional adjectives to add to the chart.
  • Have students read non-fiction texts independently about the animal of their choice. 
  • As students read, have them record facts by writing or drawing on a graphic organizer that has three sections labeled “can”, “have”, and “are” like the anchor chart activity.
  • Provide students additional time to read and complete their graphic organizer.
  • Have students select three attributes they would like to illustrate and write about in a comic.


  • Have students share their comics with the class or with a partner.
  • Share with students that today they made comics that give readers facts about the animal they selected. When readers read non-fiction texts, they learn more about the world around them!
  • Share with students how adjectives help us to understand the animal even better.


  • Allow students to use the speech-to-text feature.
  • Allow students to work in pairs or groups as needed.
  • Allow students to use the voiceover feature to read their comics aloud.
  • Provide students with a word bank of adjectives and verbs that can be used to describe their animals.
  • Provide pre-selected texts for students to match their reading level.
  • Provide students with a graphic organizer, such as the Main Idea Web as an alternative way to record their facts.
  • Consider completing the research and note-taking in a small teacher-led group.
  • When completing this lesson with Grade 2 students, consider including conversation about verbs to ensure students are fully addressing the standard CC.2.L.5.b.


Suggested Story Starters: