K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • correctly categorize objects and words as names of persons, places, or things.
  • distinguish nouns from other words or phrases.
  • correctly identify nouns in phrases and sentences.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

2 hours


  • two response cards per child (3×5 inch note cards stapled to a craft stick), one labeled “yes” and the other “no”
  • twelve pictures or words illustrating persons, places, or things that are placed on construction paper and laminated
  • individual chalkboard, eraser, chalk, and pencil for each student
  • chart with words and phrases that are examples and non-examples of nouns
  • list of simple sentences with 1-2 nouns per sentence


Students should be able to read basic sight words and identify objects. Students need to be able to categorize items as persons, places or things.


  1. The teacher will write the words “persons, places or things” on the chalkboard. Then the teacher will show the students different pictures or words of persons, places, or things. (Teacher will show one picture at a time for students to see.) Students will identify if each picture is a person, place, or thing using their individual chalkboards. Students will first answer what each word or picture is.
  2. On their individual chalkboards students will be given time to write if the picture or word is a person, place, or thing. For example, the teacher will say “What is this (picture or word)?” Then the teacher will say after the students responds, “Is this picture or word a person, place, or thing?” The teacher will then put the picture or word under the right category.
  3. The teacher will show a chart containing words or phrases that contain nouns. The teacher will say, “Listen: A noun names a person, place, or thing. This says ‘the tiny cat.’ Cat is a thing. Therefore, cat is a noun.” The teacher will then show another example to the students. The teacher will say, “Look at the word ‘ran.’ Ran is not a person, place, or thing. Therefore ran is not a noun.” The teacher can illustrate more examples and non-examples so that students can start to distinguish nouns from other words.
  4. The teacher will use the chart with the following phrases and words to identify nouns. The teacher can use the same questioning techniques used in the previous activity to identify which words are nouns using the “Yes” and “No” response cards.
    • the small ring
    • girl
    • go
    • wind
    • television
    • the long dress
    • run
    • green shoes
    • a box of tissue
    • draw

    Each student will receive two response cards, one that says “yes” and one that says “no.” For each word or word in each phrase students will hold up the “yes” response card if the word shown is a noun. For each word or word in each phrase that is not a noun, students will hold up the “no” response card. The teacher should give enough time for students to think about their answer and select their response card. The teacher should have a signal for students to respond and display their cards at the same time so that the teacher can see correct and incorrect responses.

  5. The teacher will provide students with a sheet of simple sentences (like the following samples below) for students to identify the nouns. The teacher will have the students work independently for eight minutes. Then the teacher will monitor students to make sure they are on the right track. The teacher can call time (after eight minutes), and have the students work in cooperative groups to correct their sentences and check their answers. Then the teacher will review each sentence by having each student read the sentence aloud and identify the nouns in each sentence.Sentences can include:
    • The little dog ran home.
    • The baby cried.
    • The big girl laughed.
    • The teacher taught the lesson.
    • The sun was bright.


The teacher will assess the students’ work by having the students read some sentences on a worksheet individually, and then identify the nouns in each sentence by drawing a circle around them. Sentences can include:

  • We are going to school.
  • The bus left the lot.
  • The dog ran away.
  • This is a long table.
  • The girl ran home.
  • The teacher read a story.
  • The baby cried at home.

Supplemental information


I hope that the students will enjoy the hands-on activities and learn in a creative way what nouns are.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Language

        • Grade 1
          • 1.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. 1.L.1.1 Print all upper- and lowercase letters. 1.L.1.2 Use common, proper, and possessive nouns. 1.L.1.3 Use singular and plural nouns with matching...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 1

  • Goal 3: The learner will make connections through the use of oral language, written language, and media and technology.
    • Objective 3.02: Recognize and relate similar vocabulary use and concepts across experiences with texts.