Students will learn (1) at least twenty action words and (2) will be able to use these in the present, past, and future tenses.
Slides or reproductions of:
1. Pablo Picasso—
2. George Bellows—
3. Jean Edouard Vuillard—
4. Vincent van Gogh—
5. George Bellows—
6. Edward Hopper—
7. Reginald Marsh—
This unit will develop a working vocabulary of everyday action words. The verbs to be presented are: to be, to walk, to help, to stand, to sit, to think, to read, to write, to sew, to cry, to study, to talk, to play, to drink, to smoke, to work, to carry, to build, to wait, to look (at), to climb, to swim, to lie (down), to sunbathe, to eat, to run. The paintings will stimulate the students to express complete sentences when referring to the action taking place.
The verb to
is essential to every beginner of a second language—(or its equivalents) to know. In
, sentences such as, “This is a child.”, “This is the mother.”, “The child is a boy (girl).”, can be made
may be introduced this way; “This is a young girl. The is nine years old. Her name is Jean. Jean is a girl’s name.” Several concepts aside from the verbs are included here, such as possessive pronouns and the “‘s” which also shows possession. The concept of age is also included and because the students now know the numbers and the conjugation of the verb
they can now say their name, age, and address.
At this point, return to the first slide,
and introduce the verbs
. Sentences such as, “The baby walks.”, “The mother helps the baby.”, “She helps the baby to walk.”, can be made by the students. Such concepts are not difficult to grasp if the student has the painting to help him/her. Subject pronouns can also be reviewed here.
is performing a passive action (no movement) and this may prove a little more difficult to get across but nevertheless, the verb
(still) can be presented. Have the students stand up and be still for one minute and this will definitely get the message across.
, many verbs can be pulled out due to the ambiguity in what the woman is really doing. She is sitting (that’s obvious!) so the verb
should pose no problem. The other verbs that can be drawn out of this painting are: to think, to read, to write, to cry, to sew, to study. Your students might think of many more, so the list can grow much longer.
It may seem awkward to use only the present tense in presenting these verbs but the past and future tenses follow at a later time so as to not confuse the students.
by van Gogh may be a somewhat controversial subject to many teachers but many of our students play pool, smoke, and/or drink. This is not to say that I commend these activities, but they do exist and knowing their names does not have to mean that they will go and do all three. The verbs in this unit are: to play, to drink, to smoke, to talk. As part of the lesson the names of different games can be added such as cards, monopoly, scrabble, chinese checkers, and others. The names of different liquids that are drunk can be incorporated; milk, water, soda, lemonade, tea, juice, beer, etc. A guest speaker or a film on the effects of smoking and drinking on the human system would be appropriate at this time.
, men are working. The verbs here are: to work, to carry, to build. Sentences can be made with these verbs to describe the activity going on in the painting. Some additional vocabulary has to be added here; ship, rope, boat, wood, nails. The sentences are simple, following subject-verb agreements: “The men work. They build a ship. It is a large ship. A man carries a rope. They build many ships and boats.”
by Hopper depicts a woman sitting in a sofa. She is waiting for someone. The verb here is to wait, to really convey this, the teacher will have the students number one through ten on a piece of paper and tell them to wait. They will wait for the teacher to begin but s/he never does. They become anxious or uneasy but then isn’t this the feeling(s) one has when one has to wait?
is full of action! People are talking, playing, running, and it seems that everyone is doing something different. The verbs are: to climb, to swim, to lie (down), to sunbathe, to eat, to run. Students will understand these verbs better if they act out some of the actions, in games such as “Simon Says”, once they get the idea of the game it is a lot of fun. If your class is on the first floor, take them to the second floor and come back down, go through the motions of swimming, eating, running; the other actions are easily understood.
This unit and all the other units can be modified to the needs of the teacher. This is also true of all the lessons included. Once the teacher knows the verbs and vocabulary s/he wants to teach, it is only a matter of selecting those paintings or sculptures which will convey that meaning.