In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about the grammar rules of contractions. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Contractions topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.
Classroom Activities for Teaching Contractions
Yes, You Can (and Can’t)
Have every student write two sentences about what they can or cannot do. They might want to write about what they would or would not do. One student might write that they don’t know how to swim, or they would climb Mount Everest. Encourage students to be creative. They should write one sentence with a contraction and one without a contraction. Then put their sentences into a hat or box and draw randomly. Say the sentence out loud and write it on the board. Have student volunteers write or say the sentence with or without a contraction. Then the class can guess who the sentence is about!
Write different contractions and their long forms on separate sticky notes or index cards. For example, one card might say could not while another might say couldn’t. Put them in a hat and have students draw one or more randomly. Then have students walk around the room and find their partners for their contractions. Then pairs can write sentences using their contractions in a sentence.
Family and Homeschool Activities for Teaching Contractions
Challenge your child and, if possible, the whole family, to not use a single contraction in speech. It’s a lot harder than it sounds! Provide an empty jar or bowl for every player. Every time anyone says a contraction, place a counter in his or her jar. You may want to use dried beans, raisins, beads, or paper clips. Count up the contents of the jars at the end of the day. You may wish to employ skip-counting strategies or create a tally chart or bar graph together as a math connection. Who is the winner?
Write a list of different contractions, such as should’ve, isn’t, wouldn’t, won’t, and he’s. You may also want to add the expanded versions of the contractions to the list as well. Then challenge your child to find every word on the list in different books and magazines. Have him or her write down where the word was found (don’t forget title and author) and the actual sentence it appears in. As a fun activity, you and your child can take all the sentences and make your own silly story by piecing them together.