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Lesson Plans
Different Types of Nouns
1st–2nd Grade

CCSS Language
  • L.1.1.B: Use common, proper, and possessive nouns.
  • L.1.2.A: Capitalize dates and names of people.
  • L.2.2.A: Capitalize holidays, product names, and geographic names.
Materials Needed


Print out a noun sorting mat and a noun list for each student.


  1. Write the following two sentences on the board or chart paper:

    The girl walked her dog.
    Lucy walked her dog Rufus.

  2. Ask students, “What is the difference between these two sentences?” Allow them to give various answers (one is more specific than the other, one uses names, etc.).
  3. Explain that nouns can be either common nouns (people, places, things or ideas) or proper nouns (the names of specific people, places, things or ideas), and that we typically capitalize proper nouns. That’s why the names “Lucy” and “Rufus” are capitalized.


  1. Write the headings “Common Nouns” and “Proper Nouns” on the board or chart paper.
  2. One at a time, name several nouns and ask students to tell you which column each belongs in (e.g., street, Mrs. Smith, bear, Michigan, country, Park Avenue, zoo, Columbus Zoo, school, Flag Day).
  3. Write each word in the correct column as students identify its category, once again pointing out that proper nouns begin with capital letters.

Guided Practice

  1. Divide the class into small groups of three to four students and give each group a few pieces of writing paper.
  2. Tell students you are going to give them a few categories for each type of noun. Ask them to list as many nouns as they can think of in each category. (Categories of common nouns could include vegetables, things at the park, animals, etc.; categories of proper nouns could include famous people, cities, countries, etc.)
  3. After all groups have finished writing, discuss each list as a class to make sure all the words are in the correct category and that all proper nouns are capitalized correctly. You can make this into a game by awarding points to the group that comes up with the most nouns for each category.

Independent Practice

  1. Give each student a noun sorting mat and a noun list.
  2. Tell students that the noun list includes both common nouns and proper nouns. Point out that all the words are written in lowercase, even though some are proper nouns and should be capitalized.
  3. Challenge students to cut out the words from the noun list, sort them into common nouns and proper nouns, and glue them under the appropriate headings on the noun sorting mat.
  4. After they have finished sorting, encourage students to capitalize the proper nouns.

View the 1st–2nd Grade lesson plan. (Includes all printable materials.)
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