Make Teaching Contractions Memorable and Fun!
Contractions Without Worksheets
If you're an elementary school teacher then you have probably seen some really poorly written contractions in your students' work. Sometimes long forgotten, contractions really need to be taught and reinforced from first grade up to third (and even fourth) grade! But don't rush to get out worksheets that bore both you and the students. This time around I would like you to give this lesson a try.
- Blackboard/White board/Overhead projector - to write examples on the board.
- Whole class set of a comic strip.
- A blank comic strip - you'll make this yourself and suggestions are mentioned later in this article.
Explaining Contractions Without the Yawns
Start off by introducing what contractions are with a discussion of common contractions. Most of them say the words, but don't always know how to write them or why they exist. I would also review these contractions on the board. You can make this as creative as you want! Try to avoid keeping it too dry, if at all possible. You can't lose the attention of a class quicker than with a dry grammar lesson.
Comics are one of the most fun real life examples of contractions. Because of the limited space in the comic strip, comics are jammed with contractions! Before teaching this lesson, find a great (school appropriate) comic strip. I have used Garfield in the past, but it doesn't matter which one. Try to pick one that will not only show a variety of contractions, but one the students will also find enjoyable.
Read the comic strip aloud and talk about how contractions are used. Give the students some paper to brainstorm what they would like to write/draw about in a comic. You can ask them to write about a specific topic or you can make it more general. I find it works better when you give them a topic since some students get overwhelmed trying to come up with what to write.
Then you'll give them a paper for them to make their own comic. My strong suggestion is to create your own comic strip by making 5-6 boxes and even block off a section at the bottom of each box to force the students to leave some room for a caption. As an alternative you can have students create their own comics online on ArtisanCam.
The Finished Product
The best part of this lesson plan is that students get to produce a piece of writing and art. It is very rarely that educators get to do anything more with grammar than drill and practice. Students can tap into their artistic and verbal intelligence, and share their work with classmates and family. I hope you have a great time with this lesson! It is brought to you by teacher experience.