Grammar, phonics, and parts of speech often vie for first place at the very pinnacle of the student boredom scale. When I was growing up, spelling and arithmetic also jockeyed for room at the top. Because my own level of boredom/failure was so high as a young student, I have spent a lot of working time as an adult looking for ways to teach these types of mind-numbing concepts in ways that are not only easy to learn but also hard to forget.
Personification really helps make abstract concepts memorable and helps to avoid the need for a child to just memorize and remember. We also use color, story, and visuals in this exercise; all of which are right-brain-friendly tools.
It makes sense to start with nouns when teaching parts of speech because very young children are first occupied with acquiring naming words for all the "things" they see and touch in their environment. Nouns are, for the most part, concrete and visible. While the young child is getting acquainted with what the object is called, they will also be exploring its physical characteristics.
Show the image of Mr. Noun to your students. Say, "Mr. Noun is wearing red and pointing to himself because he truly believes he is ALL THAT and more. Everything is about him! He is IT! A noun is a person, place, or thing."
Have your students act out being a noun, strutting around, pointing at their own chest, while saying, "I am a thing. I am i-t IT!"
Acting this out is especially helpful for active and kinesthetic learners who need to do something physical in order for new learning to stick.
SnapWords® Nouns 1 and Nouns 2 each include 59 nouns commonly used across the curriculum, including animals, landforms, space, people, geography, seasons, weather, body parts and clothing, school-related words, and others.
Verbs are great to follow up with after learning some nouns.
Show the image of Sir Verb to your students. Say, "Sir Verb is green for GO! He has wheels so he can have action all the time! Verbs are for doing and being, and Sir Verb is certainly that!"
Have your students act out being a verb, rushing forward a few steps while saying, "Verb."
Chat about verbs with your students, making sure they understand action verbs such as run, eat, sleep, walk, write, draw, sweep, etc.
SnapWords® Verbs includes 62 verbs commonly used across the curriculum when reading textbooks.
With just a few nouns and verbs displayed, you can begin to put phrases together with your students.
- Choose a noun. (i.e. snake)
- Ask your students for a word that tells what the snake did. He could slither, sleep, sun, eat, etc. A very simple idea is to use the word "ate."
- You could also choose the noun "fire" and the verb "make."
This is a fun and engaging activity that will help students excel with parts of speech. You will need a whiteboard and dry-erase markers in red and green.
- Choose a noun and have a student write it on the whiteboard in red marker. (Or have each student write on individual whiteboards, if available.)
- Next, select a verb together and have the student write it in green marker, to tell what the noun did.
Over time, you can venture into more abstract meanings of nouns and verbs, adding to the simpler words your students have already learned. These might include nouns you cannot really see such as dream, thought, idea, etc. With verbs, you can add being verbs such as is, am, was, etc.
Now that your students have an understanding of nouns and verbs, it is time to introduce Ms. Adjective.
Show the image of Ms. Adjective to your students. Say, "Ms. Adjective would never dream of going out without her fancy clothes, high heels, purse, and her hair in an updo. She just loves, loves, loves dressing up herself and everyone around her! She likes to ADD to objects and make them cooler. That is why she is wearing purple."
Have your students act out being an adjective, patting their hair while saying, "Adjective."
A simple way to remember what Ms. Adjective does is to say, "Ms. Adjective adds to the object!" Discuss some examples of adjectives such as big, funny, good, hard, kind, little, new, etc.
Practicing More Phrases
Now that you have accumulated three parts of speech, you can do much more in terms of sentence building.
Use the same process as above, adding adjectives to the phrases.
- Choose a noun. (i.e. snake)
- Choose a verb. (i.e. ate)
- Choose an adjective that adds to the noun, making it cooler. An example would be "big snake ate."
Repeat the whiteboard activity, adding a purple marker for adjectives.
- Have the student write a noun in red marker.
- Write a verb in green marker.
- Add an adjective in purple marker.
Teaching Adverbs & Prepositions
When you feel that your students are ready to advance in their parts of speech, you can move up to adverbs and prepositions.
Show the image of Uncle Adverb to your students. Say, "Uncle Adverb loves to make Sir Verb even more special than he already is. Notice he is holding a plus sign!"
Have your students act out being an adverb, making a plus sign with their hands while saying, "Adverb."
Discuss some examples of adverbs such as always, often, above, really, today, here, etc.
Show the image of Pop Preposition to your students. Say, "Pop Preposition is all about position! Pre means before, and the preposition comes before the article and noun in a prepositional phrase."
Have your students act out being a preposition, pointing to the floor where they are standing while saying, "Preposition."
Discuss some examples of prepositions such as at, by, in, for, near, than, etc.
Repeat the activities above adding adverbs and prepositions.
Have fun learning parts of speech while putting together phrases with your students. Have them illustrate the phrases as an added activity. See how much fun grammar and phonics really can be!
For ease of teaching, you can use these visuals of the parts of speech.
If you have any questions, please contact us today!