I know that the Common Core standards don't address contractions until 2nd grade. However, life doesn't exist in a vacuum and our first graders will encounter contractions in their reading. They need to understand them to get the most out of their books; plus, they could easily write them as well, so I'm going to teach contractions to them so they can be successful readers/writers.
In today's lesson students will have to write an apostrophe to form their contraction. This addresses standard L2.2c. They will also have to understand that a contraction is like a short cut way of speaking, or writing because it's a shorter form of two words. This address standard L2.3. Finally, students will read the two words that make the contraction as well as the contraction itself. They will read these words as fluently as they can. This addresses standard RF1.4.
I always want my students to be active learners. I hate worksheets and if I can avoid them I will. In this lesson the students will be making Dinah Zyke's VKV's or visual kinesthetic vocabulary cards. Now, Dinah Zyke is a proponent for having the students make everything, but if you've been teaching first grade for a while like I have, you know that if the students have to do all the measuring and drawing of lines that it takes away from instructional time. I love sharing ideas with my teammates and when I showed them these VKV's they agreed that I should make a template. If you open the template, it will just look like a bunch of lines. I wanted to explain how to make these VKV's in further detail, so I made a video for you here How To Make VKV's.mp4. I know you will have a better understanding how to prep everything and how to do these with your students after you watch the video. I also have a few close up photos of work samples so you can see what the finished product should look like. View those samples here Contractions 1.JPG, and here Contractions 2.JPG .
For today's lesson you will either want the Smartboard Contractions Galore.notebook or Activboard Contractions Galore.flipchart lesson. I made these lessons for several different contractions lessons. Just keep in mind that you will only go up to slide 29 (contractions with am, not, and will) on these lessons for today. You will also want to make enough contraction templates Contraction Templates for your students. You want to decide how many contractions you want your students to independently write. Finally, you will want to have some construction paper for students to mount their VKVs on. I used strips of construction paper, but you can use a whole sheet of construction paper if you'd like.
I brought my students to the carpet to sit in front of the Smartboard. I said, "Today we are going to learn about contractions. A contraction is a short cut way of speaking reading, and writing a combination of two words. For example, I can say a sentence the long way like this: 'She is not nice to me.' Now I can say the sentence using my shortcut way: She isn't nice to me. Did everyone hear how I took the two words is and not and combined them into the contraction isn't?" I continued on. I said, " We're going to learn how to speak, read, and write contractions today."
I tried to set this lesson up by exposing the students to contractions in as many ways as possible. I purposely used a brace map in this activity. A brace map is always used to take the whole and break it up into it's parts. So in the Smartboard activity we took the whole contraction and broke it up into the two words that comprise the contraction. We also put a box with the apostrophe over the letters that get taken out of one of the words.
We continued through the lesson building our contractions, having partners use them orally in sentences, and then write the contractions in sentences. We spent a great deal of time with the activities on the Smartboard lesson and I know when students encounter these contractions in their reading they will be successful in decoding them.
We had never made VKV's before so I knew I would need to offer my students support. I decided ahead of time, I would differentiate this activity. I helped everyone write the first VKV. This way, everyone knew how to write the two words so that one or two letters would be covered up. Then we put the apostrophe on the front flap.
Then for my on-grade level and high students I wrote the list of contractions that I wanted them to make a VKV for on the board. I said, "Here is the list of contractions. Your job is to write the two words the make up the contraction on the bottom flap. Then you'll have to make the VKV so that it shows the correct contraction for your two words. Remember, when you are making your VKV you need to make sure that your contraction is written correctly and the apostrophe is in the correct place."
For my below-grade level students, I knew I would need to guide them with more support. Those students brought their work to the back reading table and we made our VKVs in our small group. We did all the writing of the VKVs together. We discussed the two words that made up the contraction, which letters to take out of one of the words, and how to read and write the contraction. Then I let them glue their VKVs to their construction paper strips.
I partnered my students up so they could practice reading contractions to each other. This is the type of activity where you can do varied groupings. If you wanted to put high students with lower students you can do that. Your high kids can help your strugglers.
It became very loud in my room and the quality of the video wasn't good, so I pulled 4 of my students and did a video that gives you an idea of how we read our contractions to our partners. You can hear this video much better and it gives you a better idea of how you might want to implement this in your classroom: Kids Reading VKVs.mp4.