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hands on proper noun activities



I am looking for activities that are hands on to teach proper nouns. A problem I am having is that most of my students have great difficulty reading. Any ideas? Thanks!

K/1 Teacher

Full Member
proper nouns

You teach first grade? If your children have difficulty reading, I'm wondering why you're teaching proper nouns. Do you think they're ready for learning about proper nouns? I teach K/1 and my students are still mixing up capitals and lower case letters throughout their writing. Some don't even know how to write lower case letters yet. I wouldn't teach them proper nouns yet. I don't think they're developmentally ready for it, but with that said, if you still want to teach it go ahead. You could have pictures from magazines cut out that they have to identify if it's a common noun or proper noun. Or they could make collages using pictures (one for proper nouns and one for common nouns). They could do this together in groups after you introduce the concept. Good luck with whatever you decide.


Full Member
I know in our district, we are pretty much told what and when to teach things so even if we don't think our kids are ready, we have to be within a certain deadline for each topic. It really stinks because you don't get to spend more time on things you really feel the students need more time on...you don't have time.

The only idea I have is to have pictures cut out of magazines (perhaps that the kids have cut out from the prior poster's suggestion) and have 2 boxes, "common" and "proper" and the children take turns putting their picture in the correct box. Good luck!

cdg-1st grade

Junior Member
Proper nouns

I just had to spend the last week teaching about nouns because that's what my curriculum called for, but we did not dwell on the subject. Some caught on right away, while others did not. I thought my students caught on best when I said that "proper nouns" that needed to be capitalized were usually "names". They already understood that a person's name is always capitalized, so I went off of that. When we talked about a "boy" or a "girl" it wasn't capitalized, but when we talked about them by name, we had to capitalize Bill or Mary, so-o-o-o-o when we talk about a "month", it's not capitalized, but when we call that month by it's "name" we have to capitalize it. The same thing with the days of the week, stae names, etc. If we are talking about a teacher or a principal, it's not capitalized, but when those words become the "name", they must be capitalized. We practiced by making up simple sentences that I wrote on the overhead showing common nouns & then proper nouns with both proper & improper capitalization. They had to decide if it was correct or not. This may not be the "hands on" idea you're looking for, but I thought the "name" idea may be a helpful approach.


Hands-on activities for proper nouns

We just covered this, too, and yes, the naming idea does work. Some hands-on activities I did that proved very helpful are the following:

Pair up students and have each make a name poster for the other- writing the proper name with an uppercase letter, and decorating with things/colors that other person likes. This also fosters a positive interactive time.

After checking with about four children in the class if it would be alright to use their names in an activity, write the names properly and improperly on the board. Have children select the proper form (with an uppercase letter), write it and draw a small portrait to go with it.

After a lesson on the months of the year, display placards for each month and allow the children to select their two favorites, write it correctly and give a picture to illiustrate what special things happen that month. If time permits, allow for sharing and explanation with a partner who will check for proper capitalization.

I hope this helps!:)


introduce proper nouns

Last year I sat on a curriculum committe that reviewed grade level expectations. In my state grades 2 to whatever are tested on their knowledge of "whatever." It was interesting because even in kindergarten teachers are being told that that they need to introduce topics that seemed crazy to introduce to a 5 year old.

Introduce means just that, just make mention of it. You can say a noun is a person place or thing. Then look at their nametags or other identifiers and tell them their names are special so they're proper nouns. That would be it, end of lesson, unless they're being tested on it next year.