Teaching Teenage ESL Students About Basic Nouns
A Table Full of Nouns
When students walk into the room have a table set up in the front of the room with a soccer ball, a glass of water, and a phone. Have the word “Noun” on the board. Explain to them that a noun is a word that can be used to refer to a person, place, thing, quality, or action. Ask them to name the nouns on the table.
Draw a giant bubble on the board and begin to ask students to raise their hand and say any word. Write as many words as you can on the board. Any word that isn’t a noun is written outside the bubble. Have your students write with you. Any word that is a noun is written inside the bubble. After forty words, ask your students, “What do nouns have in common?” Some of the commonalities that you may find are that nouns can be seen, moved, thought, and had.
ESL Noun Activities
Refer back to the soccer ball, glass of water, and phone. Explain to them while holding the soccer ball, “The ball is a noun. Kicking is not,” then kick the ball. Wait for your students to stop laughing.
Explain that, “The glass of water is a noun. Drinking is not.” Then, drink the water.
Finally, explain that, “The phone is a noun. Calling your mom is not,” then call your mom, (dad, sister, aunt, friend, whoever). The kids will really love that.
Download this ESL noun worksheet and hand it out to your students. Go over the first two problems from the worksheet below.
Underline the nouns in the sentences.
1. The dog chewed the bone.
2. The truck stopped at the sign.
1. ____________ kicked the _____________ in their ________________.
2. ____________ dropped the _____________.
Games: "Step Forward" and "As Many Nouns as Possible”
Once your students have worked on the noun worksheet for a few minutes, have your students put their pencils down and form a line across the side of the room. Tell them that you are going to say a word, and if that word is a noun they take a step forward. Say the following list of words. Orange, jump, car, apple, drive, yellow, phone, drink, teacher, spill, class. Watch your class work with one another to see if the word is a noun or not and move together across the room.
Now, ask them all to form a circle on the floor while you go grab the soccer ball. Tell them that they are going to play “As Many Nouns as Possible." Students pass the ball only when they can name a noun. If they need help they can ask, “Does anyone know a noun?” and the other students can raise their hand and help. To make sure everyone gets a chance to pass the ball, you can have them start by passing the ball to the person on their left until the ball makes it all the way around the circle.
Assessment / References
Have the students return to their desks to finish this downloadable ESL noun assessment. This quiz should give you a good understanding of which students need to review the material and which understand it well enough to move on.