5 Tips for Teaching & Learning Nouns From Language Lady

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5 Tips for Teaching & Learning Nouns From Language Lady

#1

 

Nouns Are Not the “Simplest” Parts of Speech

Kids from second grade on can often tell you that a noun is a “person, place, thing, or idea.” We tend to think that nouns are “easy.”  However, that simply isn’t true. Nouns are one of the most difficult parts of speech to spot because nouns act like other parts of speech all the time.

Look at these “nouns” that are acting, either directly or with suffixes added, like other parts of speech:

Noun                                  Verb                                   Describer
Taking a walk…         I walk down the road.            Walking stick
Set the table.            Let’s table that for later.        Table tennis
She is a beauty.       Beautify our yard.                 Beauty pageant

#2

 

Nouns Are Often Preceded by Noun Markers (Articles)

Because of the difficulty in recognizing nouns, I focus my noun teaching on helping students recognize words that tell them that a noun is coming. One category of words that tells us that a noun is coming is the noun marker or article. (I like to call them noun markers because the name tells what they do—they mark nouns, or tell you that a noun is coming.) While a noun marker doesn’t necessarily mean that a noun is the next word up, it does mean that one is coming soon.

Thus, learning to recognize these three little words is super helpful. You can use my rhyme if you’d like. (Oh, and notice the order….when you have a and an together, and you have the word and between them, students think AND is a noun marker.)

              An, the, a….three little words…

            Tell you that a noun is about to be heard.

#3

 

A Preposition Tells You That a Noun Might Be Coming Soon

The next category of words that indicates that a noun might be coming soon is the preposition. The preposition is the first word of a phrase (group of words that is not a sentence) known as a prepositional phrase. A prepositional phrase begins with a preposition and ends with the object of the preposition. That is where nouns come in: The object of a preposition is usually a noun (to the STORE) or pronoun (to HIM).

Thus, a preposition tells us that a noun might be coming soon. Since my students (my personal ones and those using my books) learn prepositions early and often, it is a natural step to teach that when you see a preposition, a word or two or three over will either be a noun or pronoun: INTO the river; OVER the rickety, dangerous bridge.

#4

 

An Adjective Tells You That a Noun Might Be Coming

An adjective is a describer that tells you something about a noun or pronoun. It describes a noun when it comes before a noun (the KIND lady). It describes a pronoun when it is a predicate adjective—an adjective in the predicate part of the sentence (the second half of the sentence) that describes something in the first part of the sentence. Predicate adjectives can describe nouns (The boy is STUDIOUS—studious describes boy) and pronouns (He is STUDIOUS—studious describes he).

Some handbooks consider possessives, articles, and clarifying words to be adjectives. Regardless of whether you learned it this way or not, descriptive adjectives should be taught as signaling words for nouns. Students can learn quickly that when they see a descriptive adjective, a noun will usually be following. An adjective tells us that a noun is coming right away (pretty DAY) or that a noun is coming in a little bit (in the case of two or more adjectives in a row—the noun isn’t necessarily right after the first adjective): pretty, warm, sunny DAY).

#5

 

A Possessive Tells You That a Noun Might Be Coming

As mentioned previously, some protocols teach that a possessive noun (Donna’s) or possessive pronoun (her, its, our) is an adjective. Regardless of how you classify possessives, they tell you that a noun could be coming next (or soon, if there is a describer between the possessive and the noun. Thus, I teach my students that possessives OWN (or possess) something (often a noun). This could happen right away: It is HER bike. Or it could happen after a possessive and some describers: That is Donna’s pretty, smooth pen.

It might seem laborious to teach all of these types of “signals” for nouns. However, they are parts of speech that students learn in grammar and writing all of the time. So let’s teach all of the uses for them at that time and make finding nouns then matching nouns with their correct case of describers and even correct number of noun markers, etc., much easier. After testing my books with one hundred students a year for nearly twenty years, I am all about making concepts as easy as possible for our amazing students!

Thanks for Joining Donna to Learn About Grammar and Writing!

Check Out Other “5 Tips From Language Lady” slideshows!

5 Places to Find Language Lady/Donna Reish Teaching Grammar and Writing

Slideshow: 5 Beginning Preposition Tips

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5 Tips for Beginning Prepositions

#1

Start With Object Lessons

I start up my preposition teaching with young children by using objects to teach relationships. They learned that prepositions show position for recitation. Then I use an object such as a little Preposition Practice Pal. It’s a little toy,  like an army man, Polly pocket, or a character from a movie. They use this little character with a bathroom tissue  tube to show the position of the character to the tube.
A young student can learn up to one hundred prepositions with this method. For example as they manipulate their little character and a bathroom tissue tube, we say aloud,  “Birdie is UNDER the tube”; “Birdie is IN the tube”; “Birdie is AROUND the tube”; “Birdie is BETWEEN the tube”; “Birdie is AWAY from the tube”; “Birdie is THROUGH the tube.”

#2

 Use Rhymes and Mnemonics to Teach the Basics of Prepositions

I start all of my students out with the rhyme/recitation: “Prepositions Show Position.” One of the most important things that prepositions do is show a spatial relationship between one thing and another thing. We recite this rhyme weekly for several weeks and then do our practice with our objects.
Through the objects, as well as the rhyme, “Prepositions show position,” I am reinforcing the fact that a preposition has to have an object. I don’t even tell the students at this point that a preposition is the beginning of a prepositional phrase and that it has an object. They intuitively know that a preposition has an object that it is spatially related to. This makes it much easier later on to explain prepositional phrases. All of their positions with their toy and their tissue tube result in prepositional phrases naturally.

#3

Use Preposition Check Sentences to Teach the Spatial Relationship and the Time Relationship of Prepositions

Once students have learned the rhyme “Prepositions show position” and have practiced extensively with their objects to learn at least 20 to 50 prepositions, I move into the two Preposition Check Sentences that I use for all  levels from fifth grade and above. A Check Sentence continues to reinforce the spatial relationship: “The plane flew XXXX the clouds.” We have also used the sentence “The angel flew XXX the clouds” in our religious books. This first Check Sentence re-emphasizes what they have been doing with their little Preposition Practice Pals, except they start to do it in their heads rather than with physical objects. Most students can get up to 100 propositions memorized quickly with this check sentence alone.

The second check sentence that I use is one that shows the relationship of prepositions to time. While there is a small list of prepositions that have to do with time, there are enough to warrant their own check sentence. This Preposition Check Sentence  reads like this: “The boy played XXXX the break.” This check sentence accommodates the propositions that have to do with time: during, after, before, in the middle of, etc. 

#4

 

Don’t Rely on Songs or Rhymes Alone for Teaching Prepositions

Many students, myself included, have learned prepositions with songs or rhymes that have 30 or 40 prepositions in them. These lists are oftentimes  in alphabetical order, which helps with those many many propositions that begin with the letter A. However, since there are well over 200 preposition possibilities if you consider two or more words prepositions, compound prepositions, and prepositions that are used as other parts of speech at times, learning only thirty of them in a rhyme or song is not useful enough.
The other problem with learning them in only song or rhyme is that the song or rhyme has nothing to do with the usage of the propositions. While I use all types of songs, rhymes, mnemonic, jingles, and more to teach parts of speech, it is important that we use a mechanism that actually teaches students that use of that part of speech. Check sentence (for prepositions and for subordinators) teach students not only these lists of words, but they teach them these lists of words in the context of how they are used. In other words, they don’t just learn a list of prepositions, but they learn them in a spatial relationship sentence, which teaches them HOW they are used AND gives them a lengthy list of them in their repertoire. 

#5

 

Teach Students the Reason They Are Learning Prepositions As Early As Possible

As soon as students have an ample list of prepositions memorized, I teach them the reason that they are learning prepositions. The transition from learning a list of prepositions to finding prepositional phrases is a fairly easy one for students who have learned prepositions with a Preposition Practice Pal and Preposition Check Sentences. Just like in the Check Sentence when I asked the student “The plane flew in WHAT?” or “The plane flew around WHAT?” I do the same thing to teach prepositional phrases. First, students highlight prepositions in a paragraph, then we go through and put parentheses around prepositional phrases. We do this by my asking the question “Preposition WHOM?”  or “Preposition WHAT?” For example “By what?” (by the store) or “To who?” (to Joe). 

Once students can spot prepositional phrases easily, they learn that prepositional phrases are needed for two specific reasons. First, they are used as sentence openers. They learn that a prepositional phrase opener is often followed by a comma. They also learn prepositional phrases with in sentences are not followed by commas. Secondly, they learn to isolate prepositional phrases all throughout their sentences so that they can ignore the words in a prepositional phrases and match their subjects and verbs easily. For example, The girls (in the class) have straight A’s (not class HAS but girls HAVE). 

Thanks for Joining Donna to Learn About Grammar and Writing!

Check Out Other “5 Tips From Language Lady” slideshows!

5 Places to Find Language Lady/Donna Reish Teaching Grammar and Writing

Resources for This Slideshow:

1) Start With Object Lessons: http://characterinkblog.com/teaching-prepositions-with-facebook-live-teaching-video/#more-5345
2) Use Rhymes and Mnemonics to Teach the Basics of Prepositions:http://characterinkstore.com/product/beauty-beast-preposition-packet/
3. Use Preposition Check Sentences to Teach the Spatial Relationship and the Time Relationship of Prepositions: http://characterinkblog.com/preposition-practice-packet-product-intro-video/
4. Don’t Rely on Songs or Rhymes Alone for Teaching Prepositions:http://characterinkblog.com/beauty-and-beast-preposition-practice-new-digital-product/
5. Teach Students the Reason They Are Learning Prepositions As Early As Possible:http://characterinkblog.com/learn-teach-prepositions/

Short Story Character With Limited Senses – Video & Free Download!

 

In my experience, students either love story writing or hate it. They either have ideas floating around in their heads, waiting for the next story writing unit–or they feel that they have no ideas and hope for a stomach bug that week! This is one reason I use the Directed Writing Approach in my books–so that each step of each type of paper is laid out incrementally.

 

One common problem that students have when story writing is telling “first this happened; then this happened; after this, that happened; later on, this happened” by students. What could be an exciting, action-packed story becomes a narrative/retelling–or worse yet, an essay. Have you ever wondered how to help students from the start with this rambling problem?

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Slideshow: Five Tips for To, Two, and Too From Language Lady

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Five Tips for To, Two, and Too From Language Lady

#1

 

Start By Teaching the Numeral Two. 

This seems simple enough, but I am amazed at the programs that teach homophones in large groups or even with all of a word’s “confusing counterparts” to first grade students. 

The beauty of starting with TWO is that children as young as kindergarten are writing their first five or ten numbers in word form in their math books, penmanship programs, and spelling curriculum. (Yikes! Spelling programs for young students with spelling words based on common meanings {i.e. number words, beach words, food words, etc.} are not optimal.) However, young students who are non-readers have seen the word TWO quite often by kindergarten or first grade. 

#2

 When You Teach TO, Start With It as a Preposition. 

Have students learn that the word TO often shows position and comes before a THING. (Don’t worry about the technical terms of prepositions and nouns yet unless student is familiar with them.) This way, they can practice TO with phrases and short sentences–to the store, to town, to Mom, etc.

When you put TWO and TO together, do not use phrases for students to practice. It is rarely a good idea to teach parts of speech with phrases or words only. Parts of speech show FUNCTIONS of words within sentences. Thus, having students circle all of the verbs in a list of words is a VERY bad idea (ring, text, bike, watch, play—nouns AND verbs!). So…with the TWO and TO practice, have students fill in the blank or circle TWO or TO in sentences for practice. 

#3

 

Teach Tricks for Too for Older Students.

The word TOO can mean in excess (too much, too many, etc.) or in addition to (also). You can tell students that TOO means in excess when it has TOO many O’s!

Older students may be helped with the trick that AlsO has two vowels–and tOO has two vowels. (Whenever using tricks or mnemonics, if that trick is more confusing or not helpful to the student, drop the trick rather than causing further confusion.)

#4

 

Teach TO as the Beginning of an Infinitive (Verb) as Soon as Possible. 

When I start to teach second and third grade students simple preposition lists, rhymes, mnemonics, jingles, songs, and check sentences, I teach TO as the beginning of an infinitive right away. The purpose of learning those lists of prepositions is to spot prepositional phrases. The purpose of spotting prepositional phrases is to determine what a sentence’s subject and verb are. (The main subject and main verb are seldom found in a prepositional phrase.) 

Students are tripped up immediately in spotting prepositional phrases because of infinitives (to+verb). If we teach that TO is a preposition when it has a thing following it but is a special verb called an infinitive when it has a verb following it (to run, to jump, to be, etc.), they will be less confused when they encounter these (even if it takes a while at first to get used to looking beyond the TO for a thing or a verb). 

#5

 

Divide Practice for These Into Two Steps. 

First of all, have students practice writing V for Verb or P for Preposition beside infinitives and prepositional phrases that are bold fonted in sentence. You want to do the chunking of these for them. (Don’t ask students to do too many skills all at the same time–start with just telling whether each one is a V or a P in sentences such as The girl went to the store and The boy wanted to jump longer. 

Once the numeral TWO, the adverb (usually) TOO, and both TO’s are mastered, bring them together for final practice within sentences. (When they are all three together, I just have students fill in the blanks with the correct TWO, TOO, or TO—not tell each one’s function or type).  However, I continue to practice TO as a preposition and TO as an infinitive on into junior high in my books. It can be very confusing and elaborate in lengthy sentences. 

Thanks for Joining Donna to Learn About Grammar and Writing!

Check Out Other “5 Tips From Language Lady” slideshows!

5 Places to Find Language Lady/Donna Reish Teaching Grammar and Writing

Resources for this Slide

1. Start By Teaching the Numeral Twohttp://characterinkblog.com/the-spelling-notebook/

2. When You Teach TO, Start With It as a Preposition: http://characterinkblog.com/teaching-prepositions-with-facebook-live-teaching-video/

3. Teach Tricks for Too for Older Students: Learn how to use all kinds of Tricky Tricks to teach—http://characterinkblog.com/tricky-tricks/

4. Teach TO as the Beginning of an Infinitive (Verb) as Soon as Possible: http://characterinkblog.com/3-verb-types-tricks-to-teach-them/

5. Divide Practice for These Into Two Steps: http://characterinkblog.com/video-use-preposition-practice-packet/

Writing Boxes: Beauty & the Beast [Video]

Writing Boxes: Beauty & the Beast

Writing ideas. Writing prompts. Writing suggestions.

These are the things that cause children who do not know *how* to write to hate writing.

And it is often what we do to kids in an effort to get the writing. But they do not work for these kinds of kids.

So what works?

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Original Biographical Essay Live Lesson (Video and Download Included!)

Original Biographical Essay Live Lesson (Video and Download Included!)

 

Teaching writing is not for the faint of heart! It is the most subjective “subject” in school—and, consequently, can be one of the most challenging to teach. Oftentimes, materials designed to teach writing are more writing idea than writing instruction. They leave the student (and the teacher!) wondering exactly what to do to complete the writing prompt. This is one reason that after I write a book (one hundred in all!), test, test, and retest the book with real (or virtual starting this fall!) students to be sure that all of the steps are included and clear. Last week I shared a lesson from one of my books that I did with a mixed live/virtual class about writing from a given source. This week I’d love to give you another peek into my online writing classes for the fall with another cooperative “guinea pig” group!

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