Learning contractions is like discovering a secret language. It’s a shortcut to expressing more concisely and casually. Contractions add a playful and dynamic rhythm to communication, making it sound more natural and relatable.
Students interact with various people and things in their everyday life and they are likely to find many statements that use contractions and that’s when they should be exposed to the subject matter. It not only increases their knowledge base but opens a new area of learning and applying the same in practical living.
To do so, different activities can be used creatively. Activities can provide students with multiple opportunities to practice and reinforce their understanding of contractions. This can be particularly helpful for students who need more time to absorb and internalize the material. Here is your guide to exploring different easy activities for teaching contractions in a fun manner.
Engaging activities for teaching contractions
Teaching contractions with the help of activities boosts creativity and enhances the learning experience. Below mentioned activities are a combination of reading, writing, and understanding the core concept.
1. Do you Remember It?
Contraction memory activities are a fun and engaging way for students to practice and reinforce their knowledge of contractions.
- For this activity, write out pairs of words on index cards or small pieces of paper that can be combined to make a contraction
- For example, write “do” and “not” on one card and “don’t” on another card
- Shuffle the cards and place them face down on a table or the floor
- Have the first student flip over two cards to reveal the words
- If the words make a contraction, the student keeps the cards and gets the point. If not, the cards are flipped back over, and the next player takes a turn
- Students take turns flipping over two cards each until all the matches have been made
Such an activity is a helpful way to engage students in recognizing contractions and also building memory.
2. Is that a Contraction?
While most students understand the concept, teaching them how the root word differs from the actual contraction is important. The activity focuses on a speedy way to analyze this understanding.
- For this activity, make placards and write various contractions and non-contractions on it
- Divide the students into teams of 3 members each
- As soon as you raise the card, the teams need to raise their hand to answer if it is a contraction or not
- Make it more challenging by asking them the right pair that goes with the word
- For example, if the word is don’t, the group must give the pair do not to win a point
When students compete in a fast-paced activity, they are more likely to make silly mistakes, which allows them to relearn and understand it thoroughly. Kids can also be engaged in root word activities to give them more practice for the formation of different words.
3. Find Many More!
Contractions are used everywhere and only need observation to understand their usage. This activity focuses on creating relatability with everyday life and making the subject matter easier for learners.
- For this activity, ask students to carefully observe their surroundings, including pamphlets, billboards, outdoor advertising, and store names
- Now, give them a day’s time and ask them to note as many contractions as possible
- For example, they may notice how McDonald’s uses the tagline – I’m lovin’ it where I’m is used instead of I am
- Invite an open discussion from students about the learning experience
As students get an opportunity to connect with the real world, they are more likely to understand the concept in a practical way. These types of situational awareness activities make students aware of their surroundings and enhance observation skills. It also opens doors for queries and suggestions.
4. Contraction Bingo
As the name suggests, it is a classic activity that helps students stay alert and be attentive to say Bingo first. It also helps them recognize contractions in a fast-paced manner.
- Give each student a bingo card and a marker
- Give them a list of words, and they have the freedom to write them in any order on the bingo card
- Instead of calling out contractions, call out the expanded forms of the contractions, and have the students strike the corresponding contraction on their bingo cards
- Continue calling out contractions until a student gets a line with all struck squares in any direction (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally).
- The first student to get a line of striked-out squares calls out, “Bingo!”
- After this, check if the student has marked everything correctly
The activity promotes real-time learning as students also have to think, analyze, and mark the words. Since the words are jumbled, the activity also tests their presence of mind.
5. Let’s Hunt
Scavenger hunts are a popular way to engage students, but this activity is all about the contraction hunt. It focuses on real-time knowledge and readiness to find them.
- Divide the students into groups of 4-5 members
- Give each group a set of contraction cards
- Provide the scavenger hunt list to each group, and explain that they need to find expanded forms of each contraction on their cards in the designated locations
- Have the students move around the classroom or school, looking for examples of expanded contractions
- For example, if the contraction is don’t, they may find a sign board that says – Do not run in the corridors
- Invite an open discussion after the activity is over
It is a fun and interactive way for students to practice identifying and recognizing contractions in real-world examples. They can develop an ability to recognize expanded forms of contractions in different contexts quickly.
6. Think and Draft
Often, students have a conceptual understanding but might not be quick in forming sentences. This is a creative activity that helps students think critically and form sentences.
- Divide students into teams of 3 members each and choose a contraction for each of them
- After this, let the teams think and come up with 3-4 sentences with the usage of contractions
- Once done, call them to the center and let them read their sentences aloud
As students get an opportunity to write sentences with a contraction word, they are more likely to open their creative minds. It also encourages better participation in class.
The puzzling activity helps students recognize and understand contractions in a hands-on and interactive way.
- Prepare a set of contraction puzzles by writing the two words that make up each contraction on one piece of paper and the contraction itself on another piece of paper
- Cut the two pieces of paper into jigsaw puzzle pieces of the same shape and size
- Mix up the pieces and place them in a basket
- Invite students to work in pairs to solve the puzzles
- Each group selects a puzzle piece from the pile and tries to match it with the corresponding piece from the basket
- Make sure all teams get an equal opportunity to find the pairs
Teachers can make the activity more challenging by using less common or more complex contractions. You may also ask them to use contractions in a sentence after they have solved the puzzle.
8. Sort it Out!
The activity is designed to help students recognize and categorize contractions based on the words that make them up. It also helps them analyze and sort contractions with thorough understanding.
- Write a variety of contractions on cards, one contraction per card
- Write the two words that make up each contraction on separate cards, one word per card
- Divide the class into small groups and give each group a set of contraction cards and word cards
- Instruct the groups to work together to match the contraction cards with the corresponding word cards
- Once all the cards have been matched, have each group sort the contraction cards into categories based on the words that make them up, for example, contractions with “not” or contractions with “will”
- Invite each group to share their categories with the class and create a chart to display the categories
Just like other sorting activities, the activity gives an opportunity to identify the patterns and relationships between the different categories of contractions helping them to sort them. You may also challenge the groups to come up with their own examples of contractions.
How using contractions can enhance your students’ reading and writing skills
- When students learn to use contractions, they become more fluent in their writing and reading. Using contractions makes their writing and reading flow smoothly.
- Contractions provide students with an opportunity to learn new words and phrases. By breaking words down into their component parts, students can gain a deeper understanding of the meaning and usage of each word.
- By using contractions, students can experiment with language and express their thoughts and ideas in unique and engaging ways. Contractions can be used creatively to add interest and variety to writing.
- Using contractions can help students develop their own writing style. By using contractions, students can create a more conversational and natural tone in their writing, which can make their work more engaging and relatable.
Contractions are used frequently in everyday speech and writing, so it is important for students to be able to recognize and use them correctly. In such cases, activities can be designed to meet the needs of learners at different levels. For example, some learners may benefit from more basic activities, while others may be ready for more challenging exercises. By differentiating activities, educators can help all learners to make progress and succeed. Overall, activities can be an important tool for helping learners to practice and master contractions.
I am Shweta Sharma. I am a final year Masters student of Clinical Psychology and have been working closely in the field of psycho-education and child development. I have served in various organisations and NGOs with the purpose of helping children with disabilities learn and adapt better to both, academic and social challenges. I am keen on writing about learning difficulties, the science behind them and potential strategies to deal with them. My areas of expertise include putting forward the cognitive and behavioural aspects of disabilities for better awareness, as well as efficient intervention. Follow me on LinkedIn