Experiences of an English Language Teacher

Teaching Compound Nouns: Lesson Plan

Last week, I was required to teach ‘Compound Nouns‘ to my current group of Chinese Young Learners.  They are intermediate students and are rather autonomous: they only require a little instruction or guidance.  Nonetheless, it was the first time that I had formally taught ‘Compound Nouns‘ in class and I spent one evening last week thinking what was the best way to introduce it.  I referred to English Grammar Today as well as English Vocabulary in Use which offered some guidance for lesson activities.  Again Sue Annan provided some invaluable advice and emailed me some possible material which was greatly appreciated.  In the end, I decided that preparing my own material whilst referring to the books and advice provided by Sue was more beneficial.

For the lesson, I decided that a matching exercise was useful.  I handed out strips of words to groups of three or four students and they then had to match compound nouns together (‘bus’ + ‘stop’, ‘mother’ + ‘tongue’, etc).  The matching worksheet is provided below but it requires printing, photocopying and cutting up (just a little more preparation than usual).  Once vocabulary was matched together, students transcribed their answers on the whiteboard and then into their notebooks.  Nearer the end of the first lesson, we played a quick game whereby I gave students a topic and they had to think of their own compound nouns.  Topics included ‘jobs’, ‘travel’, ‘kitchen’, etc.

To reinforce the teaching of compound nouns in the second lesson, I had prepared a wordsearch puzzle for the young learners and they were really keen to complete it.  They were seeing who could complete the puzzle the quickest.  In the wordsearch, the nouns which were introduced during the matching exercise were repeated.  Towards the end of the second lesson, I decided to do one more ten minute game.  To begin with, I demonstrated the game to all the students.  The students have to guess what compound noun is being acted.  The rules of the acting game included:

  1. No talking to the students
  2. You are only allowed to mime or act the noun
  3. Two students are invited to the front of class with one student being one noun and the other student being the other noun
  4. Students sitting at their desks must raise their hands if they know the answer
  5. The student that guesses correctly can choose who can go up to the front of class

The game was great fun with the students really getting into acting as a ‘bus’ and another student miming a ‘driver’.  This activity was suggested by a colleague at LTC Eastbourne and something that I will ‘keep up my sleeve’ for a future lesson on compound nouns/adjectives.

I really appreciate some of the tweets that I received from my PLN to help with preparing my lesson.  I would really encourage all my teachers to get on Twitter and extend their PLN.  Some of the tweets I received are below.

Some of the activities suggested above was not done but it will remain a possibility if I do a future lesson.  Please feel free to use the material that I have shared which is available below.

Matching Activity(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();
 (function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();


  1. sue annan

    Just did a lesson today on Environmental compound nouns. Useful too. Eg Global warming, greenhouse gasses, etc

  2. Ahmed

    This is a a very good integrated way to run the class effectively and dragging your students to share the work, in other words you did it” Active learning”
    Ahmed Amin
    ESL and NON- Arabic tutor> K.S.A

  3. Ahmed, thank you for the comment. It is greatly appreciated. I hope that you can make sense of some of my ramblings sometimes.

  4. Hi, your ideas are really good, going to use some of them in my next lesson. But your links don’t work any longer 🙁

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