Search form

Possessive Nouns: Language Arts - 2nd Grade

Grade: 2

Subject: English Language Arts

Common Core Standard: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.2.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.


  • White Board or Projection
  • Dry Erase Markers
  • Unique items for your students


Say: Today, we are going to learn about a specific type of noun. But first, can anyone tell me what a noun is?

Do: Allow students to give raised hand answers. Once students come up with the correct answer or have been guided into it, move on to the lesson.

Say: That is correct! A noun is a person, place, thing, or idea! Let's see if we can find the nouns in this sentence.

Do: Write the following sentence on the board. "The girl ran to the store to get some food." 

Say: There is more than one noun here. Can anyone point out one of them to me?

Do: Have students come up to the whiteboard and circle the nouns, one each (girl, store, food). 

Say: Thank you for your help! Now that we reviewed our nouns, we are going to talk about a new type of noun. This type of nouns is called a "possessive noun." Now, what do we think a possessive noun is?

Do: Write "Possessive" and "Noun" on your whiteboard, leaving enough space between them to write individual definitions beside or under the words. Your class has already defined "Noun," so go ahead and fill that in. Allow for raised hand discussion about what the word "possessive" may mean, and once you are satisfied with their answers, fill that in. 

Say: Possessive has the word "possess" in it. To possess something means to have something. That means that possessive, which is an adjective, shows ownership or that somebody or something has or owns something. Now we know what the word "possessive" means and what nouns are! Now, if we were to put that together, what do we think possessive nouns are?

Do: Again, allow for a short period of raised hand discussion. Once you are satisfied with the class's understanding of both words, define "possessive nouns" together on the board.

Say: A possessive noun is a noun that shows ownership of something. That seemed challenging, didn't it? I am so proud of how we are all thinking together and learning new words! Now the big question is, how do we recognize a possessive noun when we see one? Well, it's much simpler than we might think!

Do: Look around the room and choose a student who has one of the unique items you brought in on their desk. Use this student as an example. You may even decide to have something distinctive and easily visible yourself if your class is timid.

Say: Can everyone see (insert student's name)? What do they have on top of her desk? 

Do: Allow students to answer.

Say: Great! She has a (insert object here). Now, if we were to write a sentence about (name) 's (object), we could write, "(name) has an (object) on their desk." 

Do: Write the sentence on the board.

Say: That sentence only explains that the object is on their desk, but it doesn't describe the object. Our new sentence is, "The (object) is (color of the object)."

Do: Write the sentence on the board.

Say: Great! Now we know more about the object. But what we can't tell from that sentence is who owns the object. We need a possessive noun. For that, we would write, "(name) 's (object) is (color of the object)."

Do: Write the sentence on the board.

Say: What do you think is the possessive noun here?

Do: Allow students to answer.

Say: It's (name) 's! We can tell because a noun (name) has an apostrophe s at the end of it. This is different than when a word ends in an s with no apostrophe. If a word ends in an s with no apostrophe, that means there is more than one of it; it's plural. Any questions? 

Do: Allow students to ask some questions.

Say: Let's do some examples together to practice finding and writing possessive nouns.

Do: Ask your students to choose a student who has another one of the objects you brought in on their desk. The specificity or uniqueness of the object chosen will make it easier for your class to see the item clearly. The more interesting the object, the more interested and engaged your class will be. Once your students have agreed on an item, use that item to create sentences that demonstrate the difference between plural and possessive nouns. Below are some examples of sentences you may use to compare.

  • "Sally has a yellow hat."
  • "Sally's hat is sunshine yellow."
  • "Jared has purple glasses."
  • "Jared's glasses are violet."

Say: Now that we have done some examples together, does anyone want to come forward and give us some examples that they have come up with?

Do: Encourage your students to come forward and share their sentences. Any positive action or correct sentence structure or grammar, praise highly. Any mistakes or missteps, gently correct and guide them into placing the apostrophes in the correct locations.

Say: Thank you so much for working together to learn about possessive nouns today. Not only did we learn how to use apostrophes, but we also learned some new definitions, all while having fun! Are there any questions about today's lesson?

Do: Allow for some raised hand questions or open discussion on the lesson. If any student needs further explanation, take this time to do so.


Possessive nouns are a skill that may take some students time to grasp. Possessive nouns are very similar to plural nouns, and therefore can be confusing when beginning to learn about them. Be sure to continue to emphasize apostrophes through your coming lessons and homework.

Say: When you go home tonight, find five unique objects in your home. Write two sentences for each object. In the first sentence, write who has the object. In this case, it would be you. So you would write, "I have" and the object you have. For the second sentence, describe that object you have using a possessive noun like we did today in class.

Written by Amber White

Education World Contributor

Copyright© 2021 Education World