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How to teach nouns (the fun way)!

Updated on January 7, 2012

How Can I Make Grammar Fun?

As a middle school teacher, I am often surprised at how many of my students do not know the basics of grammar. Maybe they were absent a lot in 4th grade, maybe they just forgot; regardless of the reason, I had to find a way to teach the simple (sometimes dull) foundations of grammar to middle schoolers who are used to constant entertainment from technology. Here are some tips on how to teach nouns.

First, loosen up! I observed a teacher who flat out told her students that they were learning grammar and that grammar is boring, so they could expect the class to be boring. I admit, I dozed off once or twice and I was not 11 years old. I am fairly certain that very few of those kids really learned anything. Make your noun lesson fun!

Second, get the kids out of their desks. As a public school teacher, I am constantly told to do the "in" thing that does not seem realistic for a well-managed classroom. While I do put classroom management first, I have discovered that movement does not have to mean mayhem.

Here is an example of a fun, noun lesson.

Bring in a suitcase to class (bonus points if you include travel stickers). Put that opened sutcaise in the middle of the room and circle your students around it. Caution them that the first rule of the game is that if they talk out of turn they are out. Now, if you have a dice with letters on it, that would work the best. However, if you can't afford to buy even one more tiny thing for your classroom (me!), than just randomly choose a letter.

Once the letter is chosen, the kids must go around the circle saying a noun that they would pack in that suitcase if they were going on vacation. Here is the time to review what a noun is. The noun must start with the letter you have chosen, and they cannot repeat any nouns that have been said. I usually give about 5 seconds for each person to say their noun; you can shorten it if you feel the game needs to move along.

The nouns do not have to be typical suitcase items. For "S", one might pack socks, shoes or a submarine (hey, their ideal vacation might be to the bottom of the sea).

Make this activity exciting! Before you begin, you might ask them to describe their dream vacation spot and maybe describe yours. Also, as I did this activity, I noticed that once a kid is out (by repeating a noun or being unable to think of one), I had to make sure that they were still on task. An easy way to keep those kids involve is to let them choose the letter for the next round. I do not know what it is about middle schoolers, but even that little amount of power is enough to get them to focus.

This "Vacation Noun" game is a simple, fun way to get your students excited about learning grammar.

Have fun!

*I get many of my lesson plan ideas from google, and I tweak them to make them my own.


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