Lesson plan

Common and Proper Noun Scavenger Hunt

Students will take part in a scavenger hunt as they look around the school for common and proper nouns.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

This reading and writing lesson plan turns first graders into detectives as they embark on a common and proper noun scavenger hunt. After reviewing the difference between common nouns and proper nouns, children will gain practice identifying examples of the different nouns, placing them in the correct category, and then creating their own sentences. Young grammar sleuths will then begin their search, hunting down each kind of noun and recording them on their charts.

Students will identify and use common and proper nouns in complete sentences.

(5 minutes)
  • Tell your students that today they learn about different kinds of nouns.
  • Explain that they will become detectives and will search for nouns around the classroom and school.
(6 minutes)
  • Tell your class that they will be looking for examples of common nouns and proper nouns.
  • Define a common noun as any person, place, or thing. Give your class some examples. Great suggestions include park, street, teacher, lake, and book.
  • Define a proper noun as the name of a special or particular person, place, or thing. Give your class some examples of proper nouns, such as Baker Park, Main Street, Mrs. Smith, Lake Michigan, and Where the Wild Things Are.
  • On the whiteboard, draw a t-chart and label one side "Common Nouns" and the other side "Proper Nouns".
  • Remind students that the important words in proper nouns are always capitalized.
(9 minutes)
  • Choose an example of a proper noun, such as Chicago. Ask your students to tell you which side of the chart it goes on.
  • Choose an example of a common noun, such as city. Ask your students to tell you which side of the chart it goes on.
  • Record your answers in the correct columns.
  • Use some of the common and proper nouns in complete sentences. Ask students to turn and talk to their elow partner to use a common noun in a sentence. Then, have students use a proper noun in a sentence aloud.
  • Divide students into small groups.
  • Ask each group to come up with two common and two proper nouns that they see in the classroom.
  • Circulate while groups are discussing to check for accuracy.
  • Ask each group to add one of their nouns to the chart on the whiteboard and to use the noun in a complete sentence. Choose volunteers to share their sentences with the whole class.
(10 minutes)
  • Pass out a clipboard and piece of paper to each student. Alternatively, have each student take out a notebook.
  • Give each student a pencil.
  • Ask students to draw a t-chart on their paper or in their notebooks. Have your students title their charts just like you have on the board, with one side titled Common Nouns and the other side titled Proper Nouns.
  • Let students know they will now be going on a scavenger hunt around the school and they will need to be on the look out for common and proper nouns.
  • Walk around the school and find two or three areas to stop in, such as the library, cafeteria, or computer lab. At each place, encourage students to walk around and find proper and common nouns to list on their charts.


  • On their t-chart, have advanced students list the common noun for each proper noun they found, and vice-versa. For example, if their chart has "teacher" listed as the common noun, they can list your name as the proper noun.


  • Discuss the differences between common and proper nouns with students who are struggling.
  • Ask them to work on identifying the nouns on the Common or Proper Noun? worksheet to practice the concept.
(7 minutes)
  • Have each student list a common or proper noun on the chart you created at the beginning of the lesson.
  • Ask students to share in complete sentences where they found common and proper nouns.
  • Collect student scavenger hunt charts and review for accuracy.
(3 minutes)
  • Ask students to be on the lookout throughout the school day and at home for common and proper nouns.
  • Remind students that common nouns are any person, place, or thing and proper nouns are the names of a special person, place, or thing.
  • Encourage students to record their findings on a t-chart for homework.

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