To be perfectly honest, parts of speech is not my favorite thing to teach. It doesn’t even make my top ten list. However, it’s still a part of our language arts standards, so it’s not something I can skip or ignore. Instead, I’ve tried to make the best of grammar instruction by creating lessons that students will find fun and engaging. In this post, I’ve shared some of my favorite ways to teach nouns through my Noun Unit.
I begin the noun unit by teaching students to identify nouns. Yes, they’ve been learning about nouns since kindergarten, but I’ve always needed to reteach this skill. A quick and easy review lesson is to give students a picture and have them brainstorm a list of nouns that can be found in the picture. Students love the open-ended aspect of this lesson.
Another fun and no prep noun activity is similar to the board game Scattergoires. Students try to fill in each space on a table with a noun from the category indicated on the rows that begins with a letter in the columns. It’s fun and encourages creative thinking while reviewing nouns.
After students review nouns, I introduce plural nouns. This is not the first time students have worked with plural nouns, but they do need intentional instruction. I like to begin with a broad overview of spelling patterns for plural nouns. Students complete a cut-and-paste activity where they brainstorm examples of different types of plural nouns, including irregular nouns.
Students also enjoy this plural noun sort. This helps students recognize and spell plural nouns. It’s also helpful for students when they move into subject and verb agreement. Seeing these nouns from different angles helps students solidify their understanding.
Common Nouns & Proper Nouns
During the noun unit, I introduce common and proper nouns. This too is not new content for students. However, I’m sure we’ve all seen plenty of lowercase proper nouns and uppercase common nouns! One fun activity is for students to convert a common noun to a proper noun. For example, they may change ocean into Pacific Ocean. Students also complete the reverse where they convert a proper noun into a common noun.
If I see a need for extra practice, I may have students complete common and proper noun puzzles.
After I teach/review common and proper nouns, I move into possessive nouns. This is when things begin to get a little more tricky for students. I love starting by reading The Greedy Apostrophe. I’ve found that students often overuse apostrophes, rather than omit them.
Students enjoy going on an apostrophe hunt where the scan through the pages of books to find possessive nouns. Students write the possessive noun and a phrase to describe the possessive noun. You can use books in the classroom or sites such as EPIC for this activity.
To help students solidify their understanding and use of plural possessive and singular possessive nouns, I like to have the class complete this sort. Students cut and paste examples of singular possessive and plural possessive nouns.
During this time it’s always beneficial to have students look back at their past writing to look for examples of possessive nouns.
Concrete and Abstract Nouns
This is often students first experience with concrete and abstract nouns. Fortunately, it’s a fairly easy concept for them to understand. I’ve found that’s it helpful for students to see side-by-side examples of the two types of nouns.
If time permits, I like to end our noun unit with a fun review game. Since I’m not currently using language arts centers and didn’t want to print and cut task cards, I shared the task cards on Google Classroom and printed the game boards. This made it a super easy to prep activity that students love!
Hopefully, this has given you a few new ideas for teaching nouns!