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This challenging synonym game increases the use of “Vivid Verbs” in writing


Language Arts  


6, 7, 8  

Title – Vivid Verb Challenge
By – Sharon Taylor
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Grade Level – 6-8

The objective of this lesson is to increase usage of vivid verbs in writing.

Teacher initially explains that “boring” verbs make writing dull, and that it is important to use more vivid verbs to improve writing.

Students are divided into four groups. Each group will have a group of similar words and will generate a list of as many vivid verbs as they can. They are allowed to use a thesaurus and/or dictionary. The groups of words are as follows:

Team 1 – say/said/tell
Team 2 – like/love/want
Team 3 – movement (walk, run, play, jump, etc.)
Team 4 – feelings (laugh, cry, mad, etc.)

You can add more teams using another grouping of your choice, e.g. eat/drink.

After the teams have their lists ready, the challenge commences. One team will start the activity by giving a vivid verb. For example, if Team 1 gives a word, it may be informed, articulated, expressed, divulged, remarked. The other teams have a minute (more or less depending upon the difficulty of the word) to come up with a sentence using that vivid verb. The groups then orally give their sentences (or they could write one on a dry erase board). The team that gave the word will vote on the best sentences. The teacher also gets a vote, so for every challenge, there are two votes.

To add to the game, I play some music (similar to a game show music) while the students are creating their sentences.

For the final round, the students are allowed to use their more difficult words to stump the other teams.
If no one gets a correct sentence, then the point(s)for that round are awarded to the team that gives the word.
Students enjoy this lesson. I use it as an introductory activity, although it can be used at any time to teach students to write stronger verbs.

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