We practice compound nouns a lot, but how often do we talk about open compounds? My students tend to have trouble identifying open compounds as nouns. They like to label them as two separate nouns or, more often, as an adjective and a noun. I created these games to help them practice some of the more common open compounds. Since there is sometimes controversy over whether a compound noun should be closed, hyphenated, or open I let Merriam Webster’s Dictionary be the final determiner. If that dictionary listed the noun as a single entry and did not close or hyphenate it, I included it. This is not an exhaustive list, but it is 24 of the more common open compounds. The games helped with their vocabulary development, as well as their parts of speech recognition. Here are the details for the sort cards and memory-style games that I use these cards for:
Print off the cards and cut them. I suggest laminating them for durability. If you want to make it a little easier for students print the picture cards on one color of paper and the noun cards on a second color. This makes the game move a little faster because you don’t end up turning over two noun cards or two picture cards.
1. Sort: give each student (or group of students or place in a center) a set of cards that have been mixed up. Students then match the noun cards to the picture cards. You can walk around the room and check them immediately, have stu-dents pair up and check each other, or have students write down their answers on the recording sheet for you to look at later.
2. Memory: put students in groups of 2-4 and give each group a set of cards that have been mixed up. Students lay the cards out face-down on the table. The first student turns over two cards and checks if they go together. If the cards do not go together they are turned back over and play continues to the next stu-dent. If the cards go together the student must say a sentence using the cards (ie: You wear a wet suit when you go surfing.). If the student is able to form a correct sentence he/she takes the two cards as a “point” and turns over two more cards. The student continues his/her turn until either two cards are turned that do not match or he/she is unable to state a correct sentence.