Toss the Noun
Go over nouns before you begin play. (A noun is a person, place or thing.) You may want to give some examples or ask students to give examples.
Go over rules of the game. You will have your own, but I really just have two.
- Speak quietly, and only about the game.
- Throw softly and underhanded.
- If you break these rules, you get one warning and then you are out of the game.
I usually start the game. I simply call out a noun and toss it to a student. The recipient of the ball has three seconds to call out a noun. If they take longer or drop the ball, they must sit down.
After they call out their noun, they have three seconds to toss the ball to a classmate.
Last person standing wins. (Depending on how long this takes, you may want to say the last people standing win.)
Make It More Challenging
You can make this game more challenging by requiring certain types of nouns. For example, you could play using only proper nouns. Or you might want to require your kids to use nouns you would find in a school. Be creative.
Remember Your Shy Kids
Some of them may feel uncomfortable playing this type of game. I usually give all my students a few minutes before the game begins to come up with a list of nouns they can use. Preparation can help kids feel more confident and comfortable.
Group Noun Game
This game is a very simple one, but my students absolutely love playing it. It’s a quiet game and it keeps them engaged. It’s similar to the Toss the Noun game above, but requires more teamwork.
I assign my students to their groups. I have tried letting my kids pick their own groups, but that just does not work for me.
I assign a category of noun.
For example, we might do animals, cities, or certain letters. By letters, I mean I assign groups to come up with nouns that start with the letter “s,” for example.
I put my kids in their groups and give them a certain amount of time to make a list. When time is up, students must stop writing.
Depending on the amount of time we have, we check ourselves in one of the following ways.
Groups trade and check each others.
I read and check the lists.
One member from each group reads their nouns aloud and the class listens and corrects mistakes as needed.
My personal favorite: I give each group a sheet for the overhead projector to record their nouns on. When time is up, we simply read the lists off the overhead projector together as a class. Use this as a time for discussion. I have found incorrect words are as important as correct ones because you have the opportunity to discuss why the word is not a noun.
The group with the most correct wins. It’s up to you whether to award a prize.I always do, because if I don’t, I’m afraid my students might stage a revolt! I usually give pencils or little pads of paper. When I started teaching, I would give away candy, but that’s no longer allowed on our school district.
This can be a great cross-curricular activity. For example, if you are studying World War II in history, you could assign the names of proper nouns that pertain to the war (Hiroshima, Pearl Harbor, etc.) Then students get a noun review as well as a history review.
Another positive aspect of this activity is it teaches communication, cooperation, and respect. When students have to work together towards a common goal, it builds community in the classroom.