Teaching, What are Nouns?
First teachers have to define, “What are nouns?” Nouns are used to describe essentially everything that we see, touch, feel, hear and taste. Teachers can have students move around the classroom and name something they can touch (i.e. a book, homework); feel (cotton in a T-shirt; the smoothness of their desk top); hear (each other’s voice; a tape of classical music); and taste (something from their lunch; a drop of water).
A noun can provide context to friends (have students say the names of friends); things (students can identify objects in the classroom such as their notebook or the Smartboard); places visited (create a list on the board of places that students visited during a school break); daily school activities (different classes and field trips); thoughts and reflections (students can journal at the beginning of class or at the end of class a prompt such as “What are your thoughts about students driving at 14 and 15 years old).
Name the nouns in the following sentences:
- The sky was a colorful palette of hues that painted the sky magenta. Answer: If you said: sky, palette, hues, and magenta you are absolutely correct.
- Besty said that she couldn’t possibly lend David the book on horses. Answer: If you said: Besty, David, book and horses, you are again correct.
Have students create a worksheet by describing all of the nouns in the classroom:
- names of students
- name of teacher
- school supplies
Allow students to do a pair-share using their worksheets to compare nouns and expand their list. Teachers can do a timed pair-share that allows students to rotate around the classroom to see how many nouns they can come up with after six rotations. For example, the first two students to come up with 50 nouns or greater from the classroom and pair-shares get a reward which could be extra reading time or extra computer time for research, so keep rewards learning oriented.
Teach the Functions of Nouns
Teach on the functions of nouns as an extension on the main lesson or as a transitional mini-lesson during a shortened class period.
Teacher: Nouns have jobs to do in sentences besides working solo in being descriptors for the world around us. Nouns can function in the following capacities:
- A noun can be the subject of a sentence such as “The pillow was 100% cotton.”
- A noun can be an indirect object: “Lloyd gave the girl a picture.”
- A noun can be a direct object: “The teacher saw it.”
- A noun can be an adverb: The dog ran quickly from the yard.
- A noun can be an adjective: It was a nice day in Seattle.
The teacher can use guided practice in the lesson plan by providing students with a series of sentences and asking the students to pick out the subject indirect object, direct object, adverb and adjective in the sentences. A few examples would include the following sentences:
- The picture showed a quickly moving thunderstorm on the horizon.
- Daryl’s hamster was having a better day after the morning feeding.
- The parents gave the child a hug.
- Tanya saw it before anyone else could grab the dime on the sidewalk.
The lesson closure would include creating a wall board of all of the nouns collected during the lesson so that students can see the diversity of nouns that can be produced from one class period alone. Truly, students will see that nouns are everywhere and define everything even in the classroom and in life.
- Classroom experience.