Common and proper noun interactive games make learning language arts concepts fun for elementary students. Teachers can utilise online educational games to teach parts of speech on classroom computers or go "old school" and make their own classroom learning games. Through these interactive activities students learn how to differentiate between nouns that identify formal names and those that identify objects.
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Noun Hot Potato
Through repetitive practice in an entertaining learning game, students become adept at quickly noting the difference between the two types of nouns and can move on to learning singular and plural noun tense. Play a game of "Hot Potato" with inflatable balls and noun strips. Purchase small beach balls and label each one with a noun strip or write directly onto the ball with a permanent marker. If you opt to label the balls with masking tape you can change the labels easily to mix in new noun terms or use the balls for other educational games. Divide the class into two groups and have then gather in a single file line on either side of the room. You will stand at the head of the line and toss a ball with either a proper or common noun label into the air. Set a timer for 30 seconds and shout the word on the ball as you toss it to the students. Students will pass the ball back and forth until the timer goes off. The goal is to keep as many proper noun balls as possible to win the game.
Teach students how to play "Noun Dunk" and learn to quickly recognise the difference between common and proper nouns. Purchase an indoor basketball rim and net set with a suction cup or door hanger backing. You can purchase extra rubber or foam balls to play the game. Assign a proper or common noun to each ball with either a permanent marker or masking tape label. Place one dozen balls in a basket and set a timer for one minute. Each student will get a turn at shooting baskets. Students earn a point for each proper noun basket and lose a point for each common noun attempt. You can vary how points are scored to foster quick recognition skills.
Noun Mad Libs
Play a "Mad Libs" style game on the classroom chalk or white board. Divide the class into small groups and give each group a set of magnetic strips with both proper and common nouns. Write a one or two paragraph story on the board but use blanks where both proper and common nouns should appear. Set a timer for one or two minutes and have each group work together to fill in the blanks. Give the group with the most correct responses a reward.
Online Sentence Structure Games
Create a classroom centre activity around the Monkey Business free online game (see Resources). Students complete sentence structure tasks to win the games. Students have to build a bridge across a roaring river for the monkeys to cross safely by inputting the correct forms of speech. The monkeys fall into the water if the sentence is formed incorrectly two times in a row.
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