Maryland is a Place

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Students will be able to use frequently occurring nouns.

Big Idea

Labeling items found throughout the classroom strengthens the students understanding of nouns.


10 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 seated on their dot in the rug area I tell the students we are going to watch a short video clip about nouns.

“Team 203, today we are going to watch a short video clip about nouns. Does anyone remember from a lesson we did a long time ago what a noun is?”

I select a student who is following the correct classroom protocol of raising their hand to respond to the question.

“Great memory Lesley; a noun is a person, place or thing.”

“In this little video clip you are going to hear about a fourth category so I want you to pay close attention.”

I play the video from Brain Pop Junior on the SMARTBoard.

Once the video clip is over I ask the students, “Let’s see who was paying close attention to the video. What is the fourth category for nouns in this lesson?”

I select a student to respond.

“That’s right Ava; it is animals. In this video clip they have decided animals are not “things.” Since we are good scientists I would have to agree. I do not think animals are “things” either.”

“Here I have a book (I get the book off the book stand as I am talking) and we are going to read it and find out some other words that are nouns.”


I use this video as a fun informative way for my students to have a refresher lesson on nouns. The video gives the students a brief overview of nouns which prepares them for the book we are about to hear. 


40 minutes

“This book is called Merry-Go-Round: A Book About Nouns, by Ruth Heller. Why do you think the author titled the book Merry-Go-Round?”

I select a student to respond.

“I think that is a great answer Bailey; a merry-go-round is a thing which makes it a noun. Raise your hand if you have been on a merry-go-round.”

“Awesome. Hands down. Let’s go ahead and see what other nouns this author comes up with.”


During reading we stop and discuss some of the nouns we come across within the text; words such as damsel, chivalry, devotion, etc. We also discuss how some of the words are categorized.  


When the book is over I set it to the side and say, “Now I am going to tell you your assignment (as I talk I open up a blank screen on the SMARTBoard). When I tell you, you are going to get your Language Arts journals out of your book pouches and turn to the next blank page. You will divide that blank page into four sections like this (I model it on the SmartBoard).”

“Once you have divided, you are going to title each section with a different noun category word. Who can give me one type of noun?”

I select a student to respond.

“Good April; place is one type of noun (I write the response down to title one of the sections). Who can give me another?”

“Nice one Carson; person is another. What’s another one?”

“Well done Peter; thing is a type of noun. What is the new category we learned today in our video?”

“You got it Bryan; animal is the last category title we will use today.”

Picture of SMARTBoard

“Once I have written down the title for each of the four sections, I will magically become a noun detective. It will be my job to go around the classroom and look for nouns to write in each category. I will need to have four or five nouns in each section.”

“How do you think I will do that?”

I select a student who I know is a reliable source because I do not want other students to become confused by misinformation.

“Right you are Emily. I could go to the reading group sticks, the job chart or the behavior chart to get names, I can go to the book area to get animals, I can go to the map table to get places and I can go to different locations labeled around the room to get places.”

“Does anyone have any questions?”


Once I feel the group has a good grasp of the instructions I send the students, a few at a time, to get their journals out of their book pouches and begin their noun hunt around the classroom.


Allow the students 20 minutes to work on this activity. Set a visual timer and remind the students to look at the timer so they will use their time wisely. 

Students working on labeling the sections

Students working on nouns

Why nouns?


7 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.”

Students know to put completed work in the finished work bin. Any work that is not completed goes into the under construction bin and can be completed throughout the day whenever the student finds he/she has spare time or it will be completed during free choice center time.

Student sample 1

Student sample 2

Student sample 3

 Once the students are seated I tell them that their exit slip for today is to tell me the appropriate noun to fit a category.

“Boys and girls, today your exit ticket to go and line up ready for specials class is to tell me a noun that will fit into the category I give you. For example, if I was to pick myself out of the fair sticks can and I said, “Place.” My response would be, “New Zealand.””

“Does everyone understand?”

“Okay here we go.”

I use the fair sticks to determine the order of the students.

Once a student has told me his/her the appropriate noun they are able to line up to get ready to go to specials class.  

If a student is unable to give me an answer, they know they can do one of two things.

  1. They can ask a friend to help, or
  2. They can wait until everyone else has gone and then we will work on coming up with the correct noun together.


Using this easy formative assessment tool gives me an opportunity to see if a student can quickly recall the skill they just used to complete the activity. They have just practiced finding nouns around the classroom which fit into four different categories so they should be able to recall at least one of the nouns they used. If a student does have a hard time coming up with a response I will take note because I need to find out if the student had difficulty because he/she has trouble transferring skill use from one activity to another or perhaps he/she was copying peer work at the table and does not have the skill themselves. Knowing the answer to this question will determine how I handle the situation. 


For this assignment I check over the journal page with the student. I ask the student to read the nouns to me and have him/her tell me where he/she got the noun from.

Once we have discussed his/her work I put a smiley face on the completed work and have the student place his/her journal back in his/her book pouch.

If the student did not have the correct type of noun in the correct section of the page, I have the student go to his/her seat to correct the work. The student can ask a friend to help out which many of them like to do. I like it when my students work together as I feel the student who requires help feels less intimidated by a friend helping out and the student who is doing the helping gets a boost in self-esteem.



For homework the students had to come up with person, place and thing nouns to complete a poem. 

Homework Assignment


Students can listen to the lesson on Nouns from the Turtle Diary website at the computer station during free choice center time.