Teaching grammar is not hard, but making sure students connect the lesson to their own writing is. I like to make sure that students create a project using the grammar concept we've learned to help cement the knowledge. Today I'd like to share how I teach about abstract nouns.
Abstract nouns are difficult for students because so often they have heard that a noun is a person, place, or thing. All of those things are concrete, so it's easy for students to create a mental picture of them.
It's important to teach students that there is another type of noun - an idea. These ideas are called abstract nouns. Here's how I go about it.
Step OneI introduce the concept by reading this book. (I can only find it available used. Click on the picture and it will take you to used book sellers on Amazon who are offering it.)
Each page of the book defines the word "serendipity" by giving examples of it in use, without ever giving the dictionary definition of the word.
I have students draw a slip of paper labeled with an abstract noun from a bowl. I prepare the slips of paper beforehand by printing and cutting up this sheet. I fold each slip in half so students draw at random. You can grab a copy of the list I use here.
Allow students time to brainstorm examples of the word, modeling after the examples in the book. I usually have students list these examples in their writer's notebooks. If students don't know the meaning of the word, they use the dictionary to help them gain an understanding.
Have students choose three of the examples from their lists. I have students fold a sheet of paper to make a 4-page book. The first page is the title page and then they put one of their examples on each of the other pages. I also ask them to complete an illustration for each page.
Allow students time to share their books. This can be accomplished by doing a gallery walk or by having students read their books to the class over several days.
After we have shared our writing, we create an anchor chart for Nouns, showing that they can represent a person, place, thing, or idea. I have students recreate the anchor chart in their writer's notebooks, as I do with every anchor chart we create.