Teaching Contractions

For words that are supposed to make things easier, contractions can make things a whole lot harder until your students understand how to use and spell them properly. Here are some ideas that can help.

Be sure your students know what a contraction actually is. The word, "contract" meas to make something smaller - and that is exactly what a contraction does. Explain the the apostrophe takes the place of the letters that disappear when two words are made into a contraction. It also helps make sure they know that the first word doesn't change.

Consider making a poster for the wall showing common contractions and their two-word partners.

Try making large letter cards for students to hold (and also an apostrophe card). Have students come to the front of the room and give them each a letter to display two words to be made into a contraction, such as "DID NOT." Give another student the apostrophe card. Then choose a director. the director's job is to remove students(s) who are not needed and add the apostrophe in the correct place to form the contraction. Try with several different words.

Play Contraction Action: Make pairs of cards with contractions and the matching two-words. Distribute cards to students randomly. Then say, "Contraction Action!" and let them find their contraction partners.Once they are paired, they hold their cards up together to make little tent. When everyone has found his or her partner, start a new round by having kids move about the room switching cards with each other as they go by each other so that kids have switched their cards several times before you say, "Contraction Action!" again.

Have students go on a Contraction Hunt. This can be done around the classroom or at desks using a book. Students write down every contraction they find along with the two-word version.

Here is another idea about doing "contraction surgery." The post also includes a contraction song.

Contractions practice is perfect for centers. Here are some ideas:
  • Contraction Concentration - Write contractions and their corresponding two-words on cards and have students put them face down and then try to match them as they play. 
  • Any kind of matching game - ice cream cones and scoops, polar bears and Ice bergs, top and bottom halves of hearts etc. Contractions on one half, two word phrases on the other. After they match them, they can write them on an answer sheet and/or use the contractions in sentences.
  • You can also use Contraction Task Cards...and of course I have some if you would like to take a look: 

Do you have ideas to add? Please share with a comment. 


Sally said...

I tell my students two little stories, one about a little surgery (contractions) where letters were removed and a band-aid put in their place. The other story involves lassos to claim what the nouns own. See more in this blog post: www.elementarymatters.com/2011/12/band-aid-or-lasso.html

Sally from Elementary Matters

Chare said...

Did you realize that weren't is spelled wrong in the picture???

Rachel Lynette said...

Hi Chare...well no I didn't. Darn it. Thanks for letting me know. I fixed it.


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