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Interactive Activities for Teaching Nouns in the Classroom

By Keren Perles

Curious about how to teach about the difference between a verb and a noun? Interactive activities can help keep kids engaged while they learn about what a noun is and how it works.

The Noun Sorter

Noun interactive activities don't need to be complicated. In fact, the noun sorter is simple to create and even simpler to use. Just take two shoeboxes or tissue boxes and label one "Nouns" and one "Non-Nouns." Then, let kids break into groups and write random words onto notecards, one on each card. Some of the words should be nouns, and some should be other parts of speech. (If you'd like, you can make these notecards yourself.) Kids can then work together to sort the nouns into the correct boxes. Older students can add another box, labeled, "Sometimes a Noun," in which they can put words like "slide." As students get more and more proficient, they may even realize that most nouns can sometimes be another part of speech. For example, the word "coat" could be used to mean "cover" rather than "winter jacket."

Noun Competition

Do you have a competitive class? If so, gear your noun interactive activities towards them. Choose a topic that catches their interest, such as "movie titles," "football words," "things in a clasroom," or "things that are in style" and have groups compete to come up with as many nouns as they can that fit the category. At the end of each round, count up how many nouns each group got and award points accordingly.

As a variation of the game, give students the chance to read off their answers one by one, and instruct the groups to cross off any that another group has written down. In other words, only the unique words count in their final score.

Double Duty Nouns

This interactive activity can be used to introduce the fact that one word can be both a noun and another part of speech.

To begin, encourage students to take a book or a selection from a reader and to find as many nouns as they can from the first five sentences. (For best results, each student should choose a different story or book.) Small groups of students can then pool their answers and make a master list. Encourage them to go through the list and make two sentences of their own that contain each word - one with the word used as a noun, and one with the same word used as another part of speech. They may be surprised to see just how many nouns can perform "double duty." For example, if the word "activity" were on their list, they could write the sentences, "I would like to do an art activity," and "I opened up my activity book and started doing a crossword puzzle." If you'd like, groups can compete to see how many nouns they can find that do double duty. The group that finds the most of these nouns can share their sentences with the rest of the class.

These noun interactive activities will help get students engaged in learning about parts of speech. They should accompany a basic lesson plan on nouns, as well as other fun noun activities, to make them even more effective.