Any brilliant ideas for teaching contractions?

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#1 JudoMom

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 12:08 PM

I've got a boy who doesn't understand contractions. I've explained and re-explained and given extra work on the topic. He still doesn't seem to grasp what I'm telling him.

Any ideas?

#2 Cindy in NY

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 12:23 PM

We use Sequential Spelling which has a couple of contractions in most days list of words. When we first encounter them I tell them a contraction is when we take two words, slam them together so hard that one letter flies out, and then we put in an apostrophe where the missing letter should be.

I tell them the word coming up is a contraction, remind them about the slamming together of the two words and then say the word. After they spell it i remind them what two words we slammed together.

After the first few weeks i can just say, "the next word is a contraction'" and they are good to go. All of mine have gotten it so I have, thankfully, never had to try any other explanation, I'm a one trick pony and that's all I got!

Edited by Cindy in NY, 07 February 2009 - 12:23 PM.
typo

#3 jcooperetc

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 12:38 PM

but ideas, maybe.

write the two words that make up the contraction on a strip of paper and then use three folds to fold the paper so that the words come together and the missing parts disappear into the fold. Works for most contractions but obviously not ones like will not to won't Practice saying the two words, fold the paper, say the contraction. Open, close, open, close. Some contractions are hard to even say, like the 'll ones, and need lots of practice.

Make up a chant for the parts to contraction - do not, don't, will not, won't, can not, can't...helps if it is kind of rhymey.

Find or write a little paragraph with a lot of potential contractions in it and read it both ways and let them hear that contractions sound normal and they are really just words we use all of the time. Without the contractions it sounds funny, to formal.

Worksheets with a list of the whole words down one column and the contractions down a 2nd column and then draw a line to connect the two words.

Explaining that the apostrophes job is to hold the place in line for the missing letters.

#4 AnnetteB

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 02:58 PM

Make a game of it. Hand off some object like a hot potato (not really a hot potato, maybe a Potato Head or some other small toy or stuffed animal) each time someone uses a contraction. I am sure that you are all using them and you know what they mean. They are useful language shortcuts.

#5 Karen in CO

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 03:44 PM

Does he not understand how to take them apart or how to make them? Have you taught him the 5 rules that make most of the contractions? He might be a rules guy. Or have you given him the full list of contractions and had let him know that that is all there is and then worked on learning those? Does he not understand that the apostrophe shows that a letter is missing? Or is he one of those who doesn't understand why you would need a contraction?

here is a link to the 5 rules of contractions. Alexis is rules girl, she likes to know why things are the way they are. I found an alphabetical list of contractions online- there is one in the spelling book we use too.

I think that once you figure out why he doesn't understand them it will be easier to teach them to him.

#6 JudoMom

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 04:20 PM

Does he not understand how to take them apart or how to make them? Have you taught him the 5 rules that make most of the contractions? He might be a rules guy. Or have you given him the full list of contractions and had let him know that that is all there is and then worked on learning those? Does he not understand that the apostrophe shows that a letter is missing? Or is he one of those who doesn't understand why you would need a contraction?

here is a link to the 5 rules of contractions. Alexis is rules girl, she likes to know why things are the way they are. I found an alphabetical list of contractions online- there is one in the spelling book we use too.

I think that once you figure out why he doesn't understand them it will be easier to teach them to him.

Thanks for the links, Karen. I think I'll drill him on the list. He understands why we need them and he understands the apostrophe takes the place of the missing letters, but when it comes down to forming them on his own or out of context of a "contraction discussion" he just starts making stuff up.