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  The Proper Wimbledon
Updated 22 June 2004, 14.33
Tim Henman


Tim Henman, who has never got further than the Wimbledon semi-finals, is this year hoping to win the famous tennis tournament.

Using vocabulary connected with Wimbledon, students learn the function and features of proper nouns.

Learning aims

Students learn:

  • The definition of a proper noun
  • That capital letters are used at the beginning of proper nouns

Teaching ideas

1. Icebreaker

Distribute copies of the story:

Ask students what is wrong with the article.

Prompt: The capital letters at the beginning of the proper nouns are missing.

Explain to students what a proper noun is:

Proper nouns put names to faces;
They're used for people and for places.
If you're writing about Henman's sweater
Then Henman starts with a capital letter.

Ask students to add capital letters to the proper nouns in the story.

Ask students to list the proper nouns in the article under these headings:

  • Name e.g. Tim Henman
  • Place e.g. Wimbledon
  • Not sure e.g. French Open.

Ask class to read out their not sure list and ask other classmates to classify them e.g. French Open is the name of a tournament but students may think it should belong in the place list.

British player Anne Keothavong
Anne Keothavong was a British winner on the first day of Wimbledon 2004
Explain that France is a place but that French Open, like Grand Slam is a name of a tournament.

Also explain to pupils that adjectives describing nationalities also begin with a capital letter e.g. English, Swiss, American.

2. Main activity

Students invent their own fantasy Wimbledon tournament.

Click below for the top ten men and women competing against each other at Wimbledon.

Using these as examples, students create profiles for the top two seeded fantasy players in their tournament. They can be pop stars, TV celebrities, characters from computer games etc.

Students can create their fantasy players on this worksheet:

Students should include these categories:

  • Name:
  • Country born in:
  • Seed:
  • Age:
  • Birthplace:
  • Height:
  • Best tennis shot:
  • The goss:

Roger Federer with Wimbledon men's singles trophy in 2003
Roger Federer wins Wimbledon 2003 men's singles final
Students imagine that the two players they have described battle it out in the Wimbledon final on centre court. Who would win?

Students write a report of the match, making sure they use capital letters at the beginning of proper nouns.

Words and phrases they could include in the report are:

  • ... was in excellent form at Wimbledon this year. He/she ...
  • In the first set... / In the second set... / In the final set ...
  • The forehand / backhand / serve / volley of ... was outstanding.
  • A sudden injury in the ... set caused ...
  • ... took ... in prize money.

3. Extension activities

Students rewrite their Wimbledon final reports using lower case letters at the beginning of proper nouns. They pass them onto another student who adds the capital letters.

Students write an entry in an encyclopedia for an imaginary country or land. They create names for the capital city, other major cities, rivers and an adjective to describe the inhabitants' nationality.

Introduce students to other types of nouns using this poem:

A noun's the name of any thing;
A tennis ball, table or a ring.
Almost everything you touch or see
Is a common noun, like hand or knee.
Proper nouns put names to faces;
They're used for people and for places.
If you're writing about Henman's sweater
Then Henman starts with a capital letter.
A collective noun is a group of things;
A flock of sheep or a pair of wings.
The shape of an abstract noun you can't guess.
They are thoughts or feelings like happiness.

Ask students to make a list of tennis related nouns under the headings:

  • Common nouns e.g. ball
  • Proper nouns e.g. Roger Federer
  • Abstract nouns e.g. success

Ask students to match these collective nouns to the correct group of animals:

A float of crocodiles
1. A colony of ...
2. A blessing of ...
3. A gaggle of ...
4. A herd of ...
5. A litter of ...
6. A plague of ...
7. A shoal of ...
8. A nest of ...
9. A leap of ...
10. A float of ...

A. elephants
B. vipers
C. ants
D. locusts
E. crocodiles
F. kittens
G. unicorns
H. leopards
I. geese
J. fish


1C. A colony of ants
2G. A blessing of unicorns
3I. A gaggle of geese
4A. A herd of elephants
5F. A litter of kittens
6D. A plague of locusts
7J. A shoal of fish
8B. A nest of vipers
9H. A leap of leopards
10E. A float of crocodiles

4. Plenary

Recap on the teaching point:

Proper nouns describe people and places and begin with a capital letter.

Students take turns to read out their fantasy Wimbledon reports while their classmates make a tally of how many proper nouns they hear. Listeners then check with the reader to see if they were right.

More InfoBORDER=0
UKHenman hoping for Wimbledon win - worksheet
SportFull Wimbledon section
Find OutFantasy Wimbeldon worksheet
QuizAce the tennis quiz


Past StoriesBORDER=0
Tim Henman
What's tennis all about?


BBC Links
Full Wimbledon section



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