Understanding Contractions {Lesson and Resources}

Contraction surgery isn't a new concept. There are many wonderful bloggers who have shared lessons in the past. 
Can you see our smiles? 
Each year my kids are exposed to contractions with a lesson and centers. We usually host a  culminating event with surgery to produce an artifact from our week of learning.  Things are so very different this year. 
My kids need the full experience investigating word construction. Understanding the meaning of words has been an instructional focus for me this year.  
Before I taught contractions, I started with a mini lesson on expanding.  The dollar tree has a pack of expanding animals. They start in the form of a pill. After water is added, the animal expands into it's true shape. Once their animal expanded, we met back on the floor to continue our lesson...
Once the kids were settled on the floor, I gave each child a rubber band. The kids were asked to work to make the rubber band expand. Most figured this meant to spread or stretch it out. Then it was time to discuss the opposite of expand, contract. In summary, we came out of this lesson understanding that contract meant to make smaller. 

Once my students understood the word contract, we watched a brainpopjr.com free video, for this week, about Contractions.  If you are reading my post in later weeks, the video will no longer be available to you free until next year.  I encourage you to get a membership for one computer.  I pay a monthly fee of $8.  It's worth every penny.

The above video is only a few minutes long but the teacher in me won't allow the kids to watch uninterrupted.  I stopped and addressed each concept as it was introduced.  Brain Pop instructs with the words not, have, had, has, are, am, AND will.  I love how they form a sentence using the two base words for each contraction.  Once the words were highlighted red, I paused the video.  We worked to contract the two highlighted words by making a letter or two disappear in order to form a contraction.  Most of the kids use contractions orally but haven't made the connection until today.  Once we determined the contraction, I played the video to confirm our answer. 
Now we are at the meat and bones of the lesson. Our surgical gear is on. The kids were given letter tiles. I only gave the kids letters to manipulate he is and she will. At that point, we are at our desks. My students were asked to form the words he is. Using a Band-Aid with an apostrophe written on the back side of the pad, we manipulated the tiles by removing a letter and replacing it with the Band-Aid. We repeated the steps with she will. Once the contraction was formed, I had the kids remove the Band-Aid with the apostrophe. The kids pushed together the letters. It became the word shell. Now the kids have an understanding of why the apostrophe is SOOO important.
We traveled back to the floor for the introduction to our group centers. I used materials from First Grade Fever's pack called Contraction Surgery Center.  I printed five sets of the game which is only a few pages each. Each set has two blank cards and four blank Band-aids.  I used this to create a chart and model the center.  The only difference, I switched the order in which the kids were to identify the contraction.  In groups, they were to find the contraction written on the Band-Aid to the doctor with the two base words.  My chart had the contraction written on the blank doctor cards and the two words on the Band-Aids.  This gave them a separate but similar task to complete in groups.
The kids helped to answer our guided question and we charted a little detail about the apostrophe before the class assisted me in finding the corresponding base words.
Prior to sending the kids off to work in groups, we took the time and discussed the thinking questions and recorded a response.  This became the artifact we used while matching contractions in groups.

The energy was high as kids worked in teams to identify the contractions.  Each team created their own chart.  The center took approximately 20 minutes to complete.  The kids were engaged the entire time.
After the group centers were complete, I provided a split bone with two base words.  Each kid was given a different word to manipulate with the multiple pages provided in the above unit by Surviving The Little People.
After surgery was complete and an apostrophe is added, the kids glued their surgically repaired bones to our evidence of learning chart. 
What's ahead for me?  I truly feel giving up an hour and a half today was beneficial.  I gave the kids science, vocabulary, language arts, and centers.  Moving forward, we will work in our journals recording sentences by manipulating the base words and recording the contractions.  Students will be given various centers to be added in their literacy rotations.  I'll share a few books on topic and will include in my students' writing.

1 comment:

goobers51 said...

This was so timely...we just tried contractions and it didn't go well! Thanks for the great ideas!