Lesson Plan: Nouns and Adjectives Are Not Just Words

a lesson plan for all learners, with technology options

Grade level(s): K-3

Subject: Language Arts

National Standards: 
NCTE/IRA Standards for the English Language Arts *

Applying Knowledge
Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts. 

Communication Skills
Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.

Learning the parts of speech can be difficult for students, especially those with special needs.  This more visual and tactile approach to teaching nouns and adjectives can help make them successful.


  • Students will identify nouns and adjectives.
  • Students will share ideas about classroom objects.
  • Students will write sentences using the ideas from class discussions.


  • Student Chart (right-click and Save Target as to download)
  • board to write on (or see technology options)
  • 5 different tactile surfaces that can be glued on (cotton ball, sand paper, a penny, soft 
    cloth, egg shell, whatever you can think of!). Make group boxes of these objects for students to share.
  • Glue
  • Construction paper (enough for class)
  • Objects falling under the various forms of nouns with different textures.
  • Textures placed on a magnet (big enough for whole class to see)

Anticipatory Set:

Pass around objects that vary in texture and fall under the various forms of nouns among the students.  Ask the students “what is it?”  Write the word “What” on the left side of the board.  Encourage them to only answer with a noun (do not use the word noun at this point, though).  Once answers are more consistently nouns, ask them to describe the objects.  Once again, write “Describe” on the right side of the board, while encouraging them to only use adjectives (do not use the word adjective at this point). 

Tell the students that they will be learning about "what" words and "describing" words today. We will be learning that What words are nouns and Describing words are adjectives.


  • Under “What” on the board write, “noun,” under “Describe,” write “adjective.” 
  • Using the objects that you passed around to the students, place one under the noun side of your giant chart.  Ask them to remember the words they used to describe it. 
  • Using the magnets or objects, place it beside the object on the adjective side. 
  • Do this repeatedly using the words noun and adjective as much as possible.  Ex. next to the picture of a sweatshirt, put the cotton ball for “soft.” The definition is in the visual, so emphasis on the words will drive that home without overwhelming students. 
  • Repeat until the students appear confident and consistent.
  • Pass around a chart to each student, including the paper with all of the pictures. Ask them to cut out the pictures or have them already cut. 
  • Put the students in a group so that they share one box of objects that work as adjectives.  Make sure there are enough for each student to use one of each to describe their picture.  Each student is working alone, but is being supported by his/her peers. 
  • Have students glue pictures and objects to the chart page.
  • After gluing pictures and objects to the page in the correct spots, have them write a single word describing each right underneath their picture or object. 
  • Have each child write a sentence about one line (The dog is soft.) at the bottom of the paper.  Have them underline the noun in blue and the adjective in red.
  • When complete, have the students glue the chart on construction paper so that they may use it as a reference as you explore the parts of speech more in depth.

*This lesson can be made more difficult, by having each individual do it alone or using only objects without a chart. At younger grades, some students will not be able to write sentences on their own or may need assistance.


Students will identify both noun and adjective through their chart, their single word, sentence, and underlining each correctly.

Technology options and tips:

Use an interactive whiteboard. Download and use the blank chart (Microsoft Word document) or SMART notebook file from here. Or create a similar file using your white board's software (Promethean flip chart, etc). Get the students actively involved with the lesson on the whiteboard, perhaps as a reteaching activity or for a version of the lesson combining both physical objects and digital images.

Anticipatory Set:

Students can come to the board to write the what and describes on the board as the object is passed around. Use one color pen for the noun and another color for the adjective.

Procedure: (on whiteboard) 

Change the pictures in the blank chart (Microsoft Word document) or SMART notebook file to suit your class or needs or use as is. Add the words noun and adjective to the top of the chart. The students can drag and write the name of the picture, then write an adjective for the picture. Note that you can set the VIEW to dual page for students to drag pictures form one page to the other into the chart. Use the same colors for noun and adjective that you used in the anticipatory set. Set

After students complete their own printed charts, review the chart as a class while students self check their work.
After students write the sentences, have them share by writing the sentence on the interactive whiteboard. Use the same colors for the noun and adjective as used previously in the lesson.

Save the projected document and print for use as a reference later.

Option if an interactive whiteboard is not available:

Project the image on a dry erase board. Have students take turns using the computer mouse to move picture objects as they name the object. Students or teacher can use a dry erase marker to write the words to describe. Use one color to write the noun and another color for the adjective. You will not be able to save the completed lesson for later use.

*Standards for the English Language Arts, by the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English, Copyright 1996 by the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English.  Reprinted with permission.