Person, Place or Thing

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Students will be able to use frequently occurring nouns and verbs.

Big Idea

Naming person's, places and things helps students begin to recognize nouns.


15 minutes

Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.

In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.” By saying walking feet I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.

When all of the students are on the rug I have them stand on their spots and do washing machine arms to make sure they have enough space around them ready to do an action song. I remind the students they are in control of their body and it will only do what you tell it to do.

I let the students know we are going to do the Noun song on the SMARTBoard. I have the students do exercises while we do this song. I especially like to use actions which cross the body’s midline to wake up both sides of the brain. We do actions like windmills (opposite hands to opposite foot, punching arms crossing the midline, stretches with the arms reaching over the head and leaning to the side, opposite elbow to opposite knee, etc)

The reason I select this song is because

(a)    it is simple and short (It gives the basic idea of nouns which allows me to expand on the lesson at a later date when I will introduce common and proper nouns) and,

(b)   it has a firefighter, a fire and a fire truck in it.  

Once the song is over I have the students resume their seats on the rug. Rather than just tell the students to take a spot on their dot I like to sing the Spot on Your Dot Song

Now I ask the students, “After listening to that song, who thinks they can tell me what a noun is?”

“Great Justin, a noun is a person, place or thing. Now who thinks they can give me a noun?”

I use the Fair Sticks to select a student or two to answer the question.

“Your right Louise, toad is a noun. Is that a person, place or thing?”


35 minutes

“Great work team. Do not worry if you did not get a turn to tell me a noun now because you will get a chance at integrated work station time.”

“Today we are going to read a book titled I Want to be a Firefighter.” This book is written by Dan Liebman so he is the author. I notice this book has photographs instead of drawn illustrations. What do you think that tells me about this book?”

“Yes Lily I think this book is going to be real too. What is the correct name or genre for a book with real information?”

“Thanks Everett. Non-fiction is the name we give to a book which shares information.”

“Okay let’s go ahead and read the book.”


During reading I will stop and discuss any vocabulary words the students seem unclear about and also point out words that are nouns. In this book the majority of noun words will be things, but that is what I want because the activity at the integrated work station table has mainly things on it.


Once the story is over I ask, “Now that the story is over can anyone tell me a noun they heard?”

I use the fair sticks to select several student responses.

“Great work Bryan. Fire engine is a noun.”


After listening to several responses I tell the students what they will be doing at one of the integrated work stations today. “Today boys and girls you will be building lots of nouns using letter tiles. There are several different cards with things that a fire fighter uses to perform their duties. Your job will be to use the letter tiles to make the nouns. Once you have made the noun you are to write it on your Noun Recording Sheet (I print on both the front and back the recording sheet to cut down on the amount of paper used). I will let you know that not all of the items on the cards are on your recording sheet so pay careful attention to what you are labeling”

“One more thing I want you to know is there is a mystery item on the recording sheet. See if you can figure out what it is and try to find the item’s name in the book. Can anyone tell me what resources I could use to help me figure out the word?”

We discuss resources like tapping out the word to see if it matches what we find in the book, picture clues and labels, using our friends and the grown-up at the table.


Once I feel the students understand the concept of what is being asked of them I prepare to send them over to the work station tables where they will find pencils, letter tiles, item cards and the noun recording sheet.

“At the work station you will find the container of item cards with pictures on them, a container of letter tiles and you will each get a copy of the noun recording sheet. What is the first thing you will do?” Hopefully someone will remember the first thing they need to do is write their name at the top of the paper. “You do not need to write the date because we have the date stamp. Use it to date your work.”


Now I send the students over one table group at a time to maintain a safe and orderly classroom. It usually sounds like this;

“Table number one go have some noun work fun.

Table number two, you have some pattern work to do.

Table number three, hope you were listening to me, and

Table number four, you shouldn’t be here anymore.”


Give the students about 15 minutes to get this assignment done. Remind the students they can look at the visual timer to check how much time they have left. 


Why nouns explanation


10 minutes

When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look listen” technique mentioned above. “When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair, and use walking feet to go and take a spot on your dot.”

I remind students to put their completed work in the “completed work” bin and those that are not complete go into the “under construction” bin.

Once everyone is seated on their spot I tell the students that their “exit slip” to get their snack is to tell me one noun and state whether it is a person, a place or a thing. I give the students an example, “My noun is New Zealand, and it is a place.”

I tell the students, “Here is the tricky part once a word has been used by another student that word is off the menu (the students know that once I say “off the menu” that word or item is no longer available for use). This means you should have two or three nouns ready in case someone else says one of the nouns you want to use. So take a minute to think of two or three nouns in your brain.”

I pull out a fair stick to select the first student. The selected student gives me a noun and if he/she is successful the student uses the hand sanitizer and then goes to get his/her snack. If he/she is not successful, he/she has two choices. The student can select someone to help or can wait until the end and we can work on finding a noun together. 

I use this exit ticket process as a quick assessment tool to see if the students grasped the concept of what a noun is. Students who have difficulty with coming up with a noun will need some extra support. I will take note of the students who have difficulty and call them over to work with me in a small group setting. I will play noun games with them and do a noun sorting activity to help the students make the connection to what a noun is.   


10 minutes

Check over the student work to see if he/she wrote the correct word for the picture. Make any appropriate notes on the student work and place it in the student’s portfolio.

The next day for morning work I will place the Noun Assessment sheet and the picture sheet at each student’s seat. As the students come in the next morning I tell them that their job is to sort the pictures into the correct noun location of person, place or thing. Once the student had completed the assessment piece I would check it over, ask the student for any clarification that I may need on his/her choice of placement of any items, and then place it in his/her portfolio.  


At another work station I would have a noun sorting activity. Students would have to sort the items into the correct category based on whether it was a person place or thing. Noun Extension Activity