Lesson: Common and Proper Nouns

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Lesson Objective

Students will understand and explain the difference between common and proper nouns. Students will correctly capitalize proper nouns within a sentence.

Lesson Plan


  • Write a list of common and proper nouns on post-it notes. 50:50 common:proper


  • Review with the students the definition of a noun. Have 1-2 students stand up and “teach” the class using the gestures from day 1. A noun is a: person (point to self), a place (point in an arc around the room), or a thing (knock on table/desk).
  • Play a quick game of Noun – Not a Noun.
  • Tell the students that you will give them a word and if it is a noun, they need to say, “Yes Sir/Ma’am” and if it is not a noun they need to say, “No way!”
  • Boat, kite, run, laugh, car, horse, school, movie, watch, the, fish, big
  • Correct any misconceptions. If a student misidentifies, have him/her go through it like a checklist: Is a ____ a person? A place? A thing?
  • Tell the students: Today we are going to learn about 2 types of nouns: Common Nouns and Proper Nouns.



  • Chart: 2 column chart: Common    |   Proper
  • Tell: Common nouns are not specific. They are plain, regular nouns. Like: boy, dog, school,
  • Proper nouns are specific. They refer to just one, or a special noun. All proper nouns must be capitalized.
  • Turn the common nouns into proper nouns with the students’ help. Ex: boy is common, but Marco is a proper noun. (emphasize the capitalization.)
  • Tell the students to turn to their neighbor and teach the difference between a common noun and a proper noun.
  • Hand out the post it notes. Tell the students to look at their noun and think about what column it should go under. When they come up have them state why they put it in common or proper.
  • Write on the chart/board: John and Sam live in New York. The boys love going to McDonald’s, because the Whopper is their favorite burger.
  • Have students come up and circle the proper nouns in the sentence.
  • Click on the link to play an activity of discriminating between noun/not a noun and common/proper nouns. 



  • Before excusing students from the carpet, have them discriminate between common and proper nouns. Give an example of one or the other. They need to tell you if it’s common or proper.
  • After the lesson, students should work on independent practice that reinforces identifying nouns, identifying proper nouns, and capitalization of proper nouns. 

Lesson Resources

Common or Proper or Not a Noun


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