Sunday, December 20, 2015

Teaching Nouns with the Twelve Days of Christmas Song

I love it when traditional songs can be used with learning!  When it comes to Christmas songs, there's no lack of material.  Most of the kids love singing the songs and they quickly commit the words to memory.  In Virginia, one of the Standards of Learning for first grade is to demonstrate growth in oral language.  That includes singing songs

I used the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas to create a packet of first grade printable resources.  My previous post was about the math component (adding within 12 and adding within 18) of the file.  You can read about it here.  Today I'm going to write about the language arts portion of the file.  So let's get started with nouns!

When I was a school aged child, I heard over and over again, "A noun is a person, place, or thing."  Since then, my definition has changed to, "A noun is an animal, person, place, thing, or idea

Th definition of nouns seems straightforward enough (Except abstract nouns like an idea are tricky for kids to grasp.) but for many students its' a hard concept.  I think it's best to introduce nouns in segments instead of attempting to teach all categories of nouns at once.  My experience is that the "animals" category is the easiest for kids to understand.  It's the least hazy of the four groups.  The "person" group is uncomplicated when words like, boy, girl, man, and woman are used with the children.  Throw in words like, painter, jugglers, cook, and pipers and the confusion starts brewing in their little faces!  Should I mention that the word cook is a noun AND a verb?  Try explaining that to six and seven year old children!  It's no wonder that the concept of nouns takes a while to soak in.

The song, The Twelve Days f Christmas works beautifully with a lesson about nouns.  A new noun is added to each verse as the song progresses.  The sequence of "gifts" in the verses are 4 animals, a thing, 2 more animals, and the remaining 5 verses are people.  Those people happen to be musically or acrobatically inclined!

Pictures (not words) should be used when introducing nouns for the first time.  This is because the CONCEPT of nouns is being taught.  When words are used, there is an additional requirement posed on the children.  That is, their reading ability PLUS learning the concept of what a noun is.  The page shown below is a noun sort with pictures of animals and people.  I used 5 of the people from The Twelve Days of Christmas song for the sort.    

The next photo is a tad more advanced.  In this instance, words are used for the sort instead of pictures.  This will require reading ability as well as an understanding of the noun groups.  I wanted the sort to include a PLACE so I added the word "theater".  The song doesn't mention a theater!  But maybe the song could be performed is a theater?  But, maybe the song could be performed in a theater?  The fourth category on the sorting sheet is for the THINGS.  The song mentions "rings", a "pear tree".  I used the words "rings", "pear", and "tree".

Some children haven't developed spatial awareness when it comes to using the available space on a worksheet to glue pieces.  I've added a few duplicate copies of the page shown above with an accommodation that includes space indicators to guide the children with gluing.

The Twelve Days of Christmas song is perfect for showing examples of plural nouns.  I created a page for practicing one of the spelling rules that is taught with plural forms of common nouns.  The spelling rule is for changing the letter y to an i and then adding es.

Birds are popular pets in many places around the world.  It's interesting that the author of the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas chose birds as the only kind of "pet" that was gifted to the "true love".  Who knows why?  The birds represent fifty percent of the "gifts" in the song.  I used some of the birds from the song and included some other birds to make a simple alphabetical order practice sheet with nouns.

Verbs are another important part of the song.  The kids could act out The Twelve Days of Christmas song in the classroom as a movement activity about verbs.  I included one printable about spelling verbs in the file.  It's shown below.

This file wouldn't be complete without copies of the song.  I've included a few different versions.  I've also created a reading passage about birds with a quiz for students to take after reading the passage.

The paper dice for the math activity and the pocket chart cards for the alphabetical order practice are the only things that require preparation in advance of using this resource.  The children do the cutting and pasting themselves.  Everything has an ink-friendly, black and white version.  

EduClips did a beautiful job representing the characters to go with the song!

If you would like to view this file at my shop, click on the image shown below!

Here are a few ideas for teaching nouns:

1.  Introduce one noun category and practice it before introducing another category.  This should include one lessons or activity with animals, one with people, one for places and one for things.

2.  Use pictures to group nouns before proceeding to sorting nouns with words.

3.  Borrow a dollhouse from a kindergarten or preschool teacher.  Make word labels such as:  kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and living room.  Give each child a copy of the labels or make one classroom copy and set the labels next to the dollhouse.  Have the children place the labels in the appropriate rooms of the doll house.  

4.  Create noun lists for things that are relevant to the children's REAL lives.  Make a list of people at school such as:  teachers, principal, nurse, secretary, librarian and custodian.  Make a list of places at the school such as:  gym, library, office, classroom, clinic, and playground.

5.  Avoid teaching proper nouns and common nouns at the same time.

I've made a FREE file that will help with some of these ideas!  Click the image shown below to get all the pages.

© Lessons by Molly 2015.  All rights reserved.  

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