Teach Kindergartners how to identify and use Nouns


Teaching kindergarten isn’t always easy – especially when you see some of the new things we have to teach with common core state standards. When I saw that I needed to teach children to “use frequently occurring nouns and verbs,” based on the language standard in Kindergarten (L.K.1), I wondered how I might achieve this understanding with five year olds. I even had a student test into my classroom when she was just four years old.

Since that time, I’ve come to the conclusion that I not only think that teaching nouns and verbs is possible, but crucial to teaching kids grammar for building sentences. There are some things I use to help my kids learn the academic language. I’m happy to say, that my kids are able to identify and use nouns. They were even able to identify and tell another teacher about them!


Total physical response (TPR), used inGuided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD), is a must when teaching important vocabulary. We use Journey’s a curriculum in our school. So, what I did was teach using sentence frames (verbal) and using body language that to me gave children an idea of what nouns include and don’t include. It took a couple of weeks, about a month, before children were able to tell me what a noun is and to point it out in a sentence.

TPR is in parentheses for Nouns: We say that a noun is a person (straight hands down, like you’re directing traffic down the center of an isle in an airplane :), place (pointing in the distance), thing (pincher fingers like your picking up something) or an animal (two fingers behind your head to make rabbit ears – kind of look like parentheses). We reinforced this language by practicing this vocabulary during transitions.

Sort Nouns: Sort nouns into different categories. I just used google images on the internet and we had children sort at their seat on their cookie sheet (so children don’t lose the pieces). When children returned to the carpet, I drew names randomly and asked children to tell me which category their noun belonged and why it belonged there. This is a good activity, as we had a discussion about the picture of a house. We know that a house is a thing, but a home is a place.

Reinforce Vocabulary through Color-Coding: We use the color green for nouns. I had children look at different pictures and circle the noun in green. We did the same thing with our sight readers. Children circled the noun word and picture in green.

Extend Learning: Invite children to review by coming up with their own nouns. Have children identify whether or not the noun they brainstormed is a person, place, thing or animal. Every time you ask, use the TPR.

Create Classroom Noun Books: We also created books with pictures of the children in our class. We talked about how people are important, because they have a specific name. This is why their name is capitalized. The cover of the book was in green, to reinforce that vocabulary. I also made sure that I had photo permission slips by all students. Each student now has a copy of the book in their cubbies for writing letters, and notes to friends. We also created books for the other noun categories. If you would like an easy way to create a book that automatically resizes the pictures for you, you can find mine here. This is what we used! My kids covet their homemade books.

Check out the free preview here. Check out the full book product here.

So, how do you teach nouns? I’m always looking for new and inspiring ways to reinforce vocabulary! Please leave me a comment below! I’d love to hear from you ūüôā


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