Lesson plan

Contraction Action

Give your students a chance to create contractions and play with macaroni with this fun-filled reading lesson. Early learners will have a blast using flash cards to identify ways word combinations.
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First and second grade learners get in on the contraction action in this playful punctuation lesson plan. First, children learn that a contraction is a shortened form of two words (e.g. “do not” becomes the contraction “don’t”), and apostrophes take the place of the omitted letter. This word structure concept is then reinforced through a contraction word card matching game and guided practice turning two words into contractions, using elbow macaroni to stand in for apostrophes.

Students will be able to identify and make different contractions.

(10 minutes)
  • Explain to the students that a contraction is a shortened form of two words.
  • Write the words "do not" on the board. Skip a space and explain to the students that you are going to change these two words into contractions.
  • Tell them to always keep the first word. Write it.
  • Now be sure they are watching as you show them how to change the second word to finish the contraction.
  • Bring attention to the apostrophe to show that you omitted, or left out, a letter.
  • Read the new word: don't.
  • Make more contractions using is, not, will, are, and have.
  • Point out that will not is the only time the first word will change when you change those words into contractions.
(10 minutes)
  • Pass around the contraction cards. Keep two words that make a contraction, e.g. "she" and "is."
  • Say to the students, "I have the words "she is." Who has the contraction for these words?
  • When the student who has the word is identified, give them your word cards so they can place them together.
  • Write on the board, "She's is a contraction for she is." Highlight the apostrophe.
  • Continue in the same manner at least three more times.
(10 minutes)
  • Give each student half a sentence strip and a piece of macaroni.
  • Write two words that can be made into contractions on the board.
  • Let them copy it down.
  • Together, change the words into a contraction. Remind the students to keep the first word and change the second word.
  • List the changes on the board where the students can see them: is becomes 's. not becomes n't, have becomes 've, are becomes 're, etc.
  • Tell students to use their macaroni as apostrophes.
(10 minutes)
  • Give the students another half piece of a sentence strip and a piece of macaroni.
  • Write two more words on the board that can be changed into a contraction.
  • Tell the students to use the list on the board and to change the words into contractions.
  • Enrichment: Let these students make more contractions and use each in a sentence. Ask them to write them down.
  • Support: Have struggling students match up different contraction word card pairs for extra practice.
(10 minutes)
  • Check students' sentence strips for accuracy.
  • Give assistance to those who may need it.
(5 minutes)
  • Let the students turn and talk to each other about what they learned.
  • Encourage them to use words like contraction, omit, and apostrophe.

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