Sticky Fingers is a simple way to demonstrate to your class whether a noun is countable or non-countable.
The idea here is that you begin by telling your class whether a noun is countable or non-countable. Then you have a visual sign for this along with telling them. Then you just use the sign.
There are several advantages to this:
- you speak less; less noise in the class
- the students need to pay attention to you to make sure they’re doing it right
- the students will begin to use the sign themselves
- it’s a silent, less intrusive way of correcting students
Talk about countable and non-countable nouns. When dealing with countable nouns, use your fingers to count them off:
One boy, two boys, three boys…
Then, when talking about non-countable nouns, show your hand as a clenched fist with no fingers showing; you are “unable” to count
* One water, two waters, three waters…
Every time you deal with countable/non-countable nouns in the classroom use this visual signal to demonstrate what each noun is. Then, when the students are speaking, use the sign to guide them. Finally use it – without speaking – when they make a mistake. If a student says:
* The spaghetti are tasty.
simply stop them and hold up the clenched fist.
Count and Non-Count Nouns in English Grammar – all about countable and uncountable nouns.