Learning nouns at their age seemed absolutely ridiculous to me. How could these kids that were still learning to write their names and add 2 + 3, learn the complex idea of nouns. I do have to say it was a comedy act the way I was shown to teach it back then. I stared upon a sea of perplexed faces. My lessons looked good from an outsiders point of view, but I knew from the looks on their faces and their answers on their trusty "circle the correct answer" worksheet, they were not getting it.
That is one of the reasons I left traditional education after 2 years of teaching. Something just didn't seem right. I felt like I was standing up in front of the room, force-feeding the kids - and that is exactly what I was doing - I was taught to do it that way. It's not like I didn't try to do things differently, but my search was keeping me up until 1:00-2:00 am and I was still getting to school by 6:00am. I was exhausted.
When I found Montessori, it seemed so simple.... I couldn't believe that in all my years in college, no one ever mentioned it before. If I had only known then, what I knew now, learning about nouns would have been not only fun, but easy!
The Noun Game is one of my favorite learning experiences in Montessori. It also takes no preparation --- makes it a double winner in my book!
This is how you play:
1.Ask one or more children if they would like to join in the Noun Game.
2.Say aloud to the child or group, “we are going to play the Noun Game.”
3.Say to one specific child, “Bring me the cup.” When they bring you the cup, say thank you and then ask them to return it. If more than one child is playing, say to another child “Bring me the book.” When the child brings you the book, say thank you and then ask them to return it. If more children are playing, go around the circle and ask each child to bring you a specific item, then thank them and ask that they return the item.
4.After each child has had a turn bringing an item, you are going to request things a different way. Say, “Bring me a ……..” without telling the name of the object (which would be the noun). The child may look confused. The child may even start bringing you random items, say “No thank you, I did not want a …(whatever the child brought). Please bring me a pencil.”
5.Continue the game as long as children are interested.
The great thing about this is that all my children love playing, so we can play together, even though two out of three of them are already familiar with nouns. It is such fun!