The "Packing Nouns" game helps reinforce students’ knowledge of nouns.
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Arrange students in a circle, facing the center. If you have a suitcase, place it in the center of the circle. Tell students that they are going on a trip but they can only pack nouns in their bag. Ask students to remind one another of what a noun is -- it's a person, place, thing, or idea. You might even display the definition of a noun in the room. (If students have been taught about abstract, concrete, proper, and common nouns, the display might include samples of each.) Or perhaps you will show the Grammar Rock audio or video before playing the game to refresh students' awareness of nouns.
Start with any letter of the alphabet -- the letter A, for example. Choose a student to start. Ask that student to "pack" a noun that begins with the letter A in the bag. That student might call out apple. Continue around the circle. Each student is challenged to add another A noun to the bag (for example, anteater, avocado, Athens)
You might give students a time limit, say 5 seconds, to come up with a noun word that begins with the letter. I do a slow five-finger count for the time limit; sometimes I use a buzzer or a bell -- they love the noise.
The key to the game -- besides learning nouns -- is that students must listen and pay attention because the same word cannot be repeated. If a student uses a word that has already been "packed," that student must sit down. You can change letters anytime you feel it is appropriate. The last student standing wins the game.
You can vary the game by playing it with small groups or peer partners instead of using it as a whole-class activity.
The last student standing wins the game. I usually allow the winner to select a reward from our class reward list. At the end of the lesson, as a ticket-out-the-door activity (a summarization of that day's lessons), each student must give an example of a noun they used or heard during the day.
Sharlene McIntyre, Arthur Williams Middle School in Jesup, Georgia
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