Lesson Transformed: Grade 1 ELAR

This is the fourth in the series, Lesson Transformed, in which traditional lessons are transformed into engaging experiences for students which exemplify the premises of the Visioning Document.

Lesson #4

Topic: Vocabulary Development

Grade Level: 1

Content Area: English Language Arts and Reading


Traditional Lesson

Objective: The students will be able to identify verbs and nouns.  

Warm Up: Before class, write nouns (persons, places, or things) to describe objects in the classroom on notecards.  Explain that nouns are persons, places, or things.  Pass out one notecard to each student and ask students to label the nouns in the classroom using the notecards.

Lesson: Play a game of Simon Says with the class.  Explain that the actions you do in the game of Simon Says are called verbs.  As long as the directions for each action begin with Simon Says, the students should follow the directions.  For example:

Teacher: Simon says jump three times.

Students: [jump three times]

Practice: Students complete the Noun and Verb Sort by cutting out the words and pasting them into the correct column on the worksheet.

Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 12.38.27 PM


Transformed Lesson

Objective: The students will create evidence of understanding of how to identify words that name actions (verbs) and words that name persons, places, or things (nouns).

Warm Up: Using sentence strips, such as these, ask each student to write a sentence about their favorite thing about school.  Example sentences may include: I love to play the triangle in music class.  My favorite books to read are Dr. Seuss.

sentence strips*Note: This portion of the lesson was written to include authentic input from the students, using sentences they provide.

Mini-Lesson: Use the Noun and Verb Sort as a whole class mini-lesson on how to identify words as nouns (persons, places, or things) or verbs (name actions).Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 12.38.27 PM

Formative Assessment: Ask the students to refer to the sentences they wrote earlier and raise their hand and share with the class if they have a noun on their sentence strip. Repeat for verbs.  Check for understanding and reteach if necessary.

Optional: Play a game of Simon Says with the class.  Explain that the actions you do in the game of Simon Says are called verbs.  As long as the directions for each action begin with Simon Says, the students should follow the directions.

*Note: This game of Simon Says is included to support tactile learning, to connect actions to verbs.

Learning Experience: The students should use scissors to cut apart their sentences, keeping nouns and verbs and throwing away (recycling) the rest.  Organize the words (nouns and verbs) onto a bulletin board or chart paper.

Students should use the camera feature on their tablet or device to take two photos – one of a one verb and one of a noun (it may or may not be one they contributed to the class).  Then, using a presentation app (such as Keynote,Haiku Deck,Explain Everything) or their own portfolio (using Seesaw,Bulbapp, Blogger, or other portfolio platform) students insert the photos and record their thinking to explain how to identify words as verbs or nouns. Encourage students to draw pictures or record videos to connect the definitions for noun and verb with the word they chose.  Circulate to facilitate and check for understanding.

*Note: This portion of the lesson has been included to provide opportunity to focus on the “how to identify” aspect of the objective.  How do the students know a verb is a verb and a noun is a noun?  They should explain this in their creations.

Debrief: Set up a gallery walk for students to rotate around the room and view the work of their classmates.

*Note: This gallery walk provides an opportunity for the work to be shared with an audience beyond the teacher or parents.  Creating products for others to see emphasizes the importance of the work.

Extension: Create QR codes for easy access to some/many/all of the student presentations or blog posts.  Encourage students to access these as necessary.


It is the goal of this blog series to equip teachers with skills to transfer understanding and transform their own lesson design.

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