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5 Noun Lessons You Need to Teach in 1st Grade - Part 1

What are Nouns?

If you are getting ready to teach nouns in 1st grade, I have a few ideas, activities, and anchor charts for you!

Before we begin, make sure you are familiar with the standards that you need to cover (which may vary from place to place). 

The Common Core standards are: 
  • L.1.1.B - Use common, proper, and possessive nouns.
  • L.1.1.C - Use singular and plural nouns with matching verbs in basic sentences (e.g., He hops; We hop).

I've prepared 5 lessons that will help you get the job done!
  • Lesson 1 - I can tell what a noun is.
  • Lesson 2 - I can sort nouns into categories of people, animals, places, and things.
  • Lesson 3I can change a singular noun into a plural noun and use both correctly.
  • Lesson 4I can use possessive nouns and not confuse their spelling with the spelling of plural nouns.
  • Lesson 5I can use common and proper nouns correctly.
➽  This post will address Lessons 1 and 2. 
➽  For Lessons 3 and 4 click here.
➽ For Lesson 5 click here.


1st and 2nd Grade 

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Lesson 1 - 
I can tell what a noun is.

This is the first lesson I teach. It is very basic, and starts with this simple anchor chart.

Noun Anchor Chart

Here’s what I tell my students:
“Did you know that words have jobs just like people do? It’s true! This year you are going to become experts at telling what kind of job each word does!
Today I’m going to tell you about words whose job is to be a noun. Nouns are the words that name people, animals, places, and things. 
Here’s an example of a noun on this card: desk (show card). The job of this word is to tell me the name of this piece of furniture (point to a desk). When a word tells you the name of something, that word is a noun.”

Have a stack of index cards with nouns and other words written on them.

Index Cards With Nouns

Take a card and talk out loud to show your students your thought process: 
“The word on this card says girls
The job of this word is to name these people in our room (point to the girls). So the word girls is a noun.”
Place the card on your anchor chart.

Proceed with a few more cards, modeling your thinking, then give students a chance to participate.

At the end of your lesson, your chart might look like this.

Noun Anchor Chart with cards placed

When my mini-lesson is over, I assign a sorting activity similar to the one we did together.

Here’s the one I made to use in my classroom. You can easily do the same thing using index cards with words, and a sheet of paper that says "Nouns" .

Students sorting nouns

Students decide if the cards belong on the Noun Mat, or if they stay off!

Students sorting nouns

I always walk around and ask students "Why did you put this card on the Noun Mat? Why did you leave this card out?"

Literacy Center idea for sorting nouns

This sorting activity also has a Noun Sheet in which students record the nouns that they found, then use the nouns in sentences.

Literacy Center idea for sorting nouns

Group activity for nouns

I made 4 sets of cards so this activity can be placed in a Literacy Center after the lesson.
The number "2" on each card is there to indicate that those cards belong to "Set 2".
It makes it super easy to keep the cards organized!

Group activity for sorting nouns and using them in sentences
I love how engaged they were!

Lesson 2 -  I can sort nouns into the categories of people, animals, places, and things.

In this lesson, I want to review the concept of nouns, and I want my students to have more of a say in the discussion. 

This is the anchor chart that I use for this lesson. It is ready to go as soon as the students walk in first thing in the morning!

Noun Anchor Chart for people, animals, places and things

I also have a small basket with plenty of cards with nouns in each category, as well as other words that are not nouns.

*TIP: Give the cards to students as they walk into the classroom in the morning, and ask them to place the cards in the correct place on your anchor chart. You can have a student helper stand by the chart to give directions so you don’t become tied up. This is a HUGE time saving trick because your chart will be ready to go when your lesson starts!

When my lesson starts, I'll use the anchor chart to review what we learned the day before.  I’ll choose a couple of cards form the chart to reinforce the concept of nouns.

Noun Anchor Chart for people, animals, places and things
I taped the "not nouns" to the bucket so you could see them, but obviously your kids would just drop them in!
(Show card) “Tiger is a noun because it is the name of an animal”,
“Run is not a noun because it didn’t fit under any of these categories. The word run doesn’t name a person, an animal, a place, or a thing.”

Then, I’ll have my students turn to each other and talk about some of the words in each category. I’ll let them choose whatever card they want, but I’ll make sure that they are using this wording:

“_____ is a noun because____”  or “____ is not a noun because _____”

*TIP: Give your students the language that you want them to use in their discussions when they are first learning a new concept. It keeps them focused, and it takes off the pressure off having to know what to say. Many students understand what a noun is, but they get stuck on the wording…

Here’s an activity I use with my students after my mini-lesson. Sometimes, I'll save this for morning work the next day, or use it in a Literacy Center. 

Noun worksheet

These are the two very first noun lessons I teach to introduce my students to the concept. I review nouns throughout the year, and I use lots of different ways to practice including (but not limited to) practice sheets.

If you are looking for supporting materials for your noun lessons, I've uploaded my materials onto my TpT store. The file includes the cards, the sorting mat, lots of practice sheets, and even an editable file that lets you generate your own materials!

Click to see preview.

Click to see preview.

I hope you found these ideas valuable!