I Am A Word: Words as Names

Author: Paul Many
Lesson Plan:

Grade Levels: 1-2

Subject: Language arts, parts of speech, nouns

Description: This lesson introduces the idea that some words (nouns--if you are introducing this term) are the names of persons, places or things. Secondarily, it introduces the idea that words are conventions that are applied to things.

Goals: Pancakes are fun and familiar to children. In association with reading books with a pancake theme such as "If You Give a Pig A Pancake," "Pancakes, Pancakes," or (my own) "The Great Pancake Escape," establish the concept that some words (nouns--if you are introducing this term) are the names of persons, places or things. Secondarily, introduce the idea that words are conventions that are applied to things. In addition, establish familiarity with words for simple items and foods used in making pancakes.

Objectives: At the end of this exercise, students should be able to 1) show familiarity with the concept that some words (nouns) are the names of persons, places or things, 2) have a beginning understanding of the convention of naming, as well as 3) be able to identify a vocabulary list of simple names of items and foods associated with making pancakes.

Teacher Materials:
1) The children's picture book, The Great Pancake Escape, by Paul Many and Scott Goto (illustrator), Walker & Co, (NY, 2002) ISBN 0-8027-8795-9

2) Large pieces of poster board (min. 12" X 4") with names of objects, foods or other items associated with making pancakes. See sample list of words in "procedures" below.

3) (Optional) "Hello, my name is _________" badges, with one of the words below written on each.

Student Materials:
Paper and drawing materials: colored pencils, crayons, markers, etc.

1) Write the words below in large block letters in upper case, lower case or both (depending on the level of your students) on pieces of poster board large enough to be clearly seen by other students in the room. Words of this nature from "The Great Pancake Escape" include: pancakes, eggs, milk, flour, butter, frying pan, bowl, stove, batter, dishes, table, syrup, cookbook, flapjacks, platter.

2) Students sit on the floor in front of the teacher. Explain that some words--naming words or nouns--are the names of persons, places or things that people decide to give them. Ask who gave them their names? Ask them to repeat their names.

3) Write each student's name on a chalkboard or overhead, leaving a space next to it for one of the words they will choose from those you have written on the pieces of poster board.

4) Tell them that for the time you are reading a book to them, they are going to pretend to have a different name. Their pretend name will be a word for something mentioned in the book.

1) Place the pieces of poster board with the words on them face down on a table and have each student choose one and return to his or her place.

2) Ask each student in the group to pronounce the word that he or she has chosen.

3) As each student pronounces the word he or she has chosen, write the word next to his or her name on the chalkboard or overhead.

4) Explain that for the time you are reading a book, their new pretend "names" will be the words they have chosen. (Optional) Attach each student's new "name" to his or her clothing using the "Hello, my name is______" badges.

5) Explain that when they hear their new "name" in the book as it is read, they should hold it up so all may see, then stand up and walk to the side of the group, lining up in the order in which their new "names" were read.

6) Read the book out loud, prompting students, as necessary, to stand when their new "name" is called.

7) As each student stands the rest of the class should say "Hello Mr./Miss_______" with the blank being filled by their new "name." If a student's "name" is repeated, he or she should wave to the rest of the class.

8) When the story is done, all students should be standing.

9) Have each student repeat his/her pretend "name."

10) Students should then return to their places and write their new "name" out on a piece of paper, draw a picture of it and sign their real name on the bottom of the page.

11) Display all the pictures on a bulletin board.

Ask your students:

1) To pronounce the words on the board. (As each is pronounced, cross it out, explaining that you are now giving them their real names back.) (Knowledge)

2) Why things have names. (Comprehension)

3) How they use the names of persons, places or things. (Application)

4) What would be some problems if things did not have a name. (Analysis)

5) What would have happened if when you came to the word in the story that was their "name" you were silent. Read a verse or two of the book, leaving words blanks. (Synthesis)

6) How does it help that things have names? If you didn't have a word for "pizza," what would you use? (Evaluation)

Extended Activities:

Words involving pancakes may be used on "Pancake Day," (otherwise celebrated as Mardi Gras) during which other children's pancake picture books may be read. (For a list of these see www.utoledo.edu/~pmany/panbooks.html)

You may repeat the above with any set of words from any children's book you choose.

Consider keeping within a theme for coherence.