I explained to student that we were going to learn about possessive nouns. Possession shows ownership. To show that something belongs to something or someone, you add an apostrophe + s. I displayed some examples from books on the document camera. In the title, Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes, the apostrophe s shows that the purse belongs to Lilly. In the sentence, Mulan’s father was too old and frail, it shows that the father belongs to Mulan. He is Mulan’s father. I read other examples and asked students to tell me what belonged to the nouns. We did this popcorn style, which means students just said the answers aloud without being called upon.
I told them they were going to create their own sentences with possessive nouns. Each student was given four index cards. They wrote their name on the first card, the name of a favorite place on the second card, their favorite thing on the third card, and cut the fourth card in half. They wrote a lower case s on one half and an apostrophe on the other half. I did the same on my own index cards. I modeled creating sentences with possessive nouns using the index cards. I used magnets to stick them on the whiteboard so that all students could see. I placed my name, the apostrophe, the s, and my favorite thing, chocolate, on the board. Next, I modeled writing the rest of the sentence. The complete sentence was, ‘LaTonya’s chocolate is delicious.’ I explained that the chocolate belongs to me. I modeled writing the sentence on a sheet of paper. I did the same with my favorite place. I placed the index card containing the word Spain, an apostrophe, and an s on the whiteboard and wrote the rest of the sentence to read, ‘Spain’s food is tasty and healthy.’ I asked students what belonged to Spain and they correctly said the food. Students were ready to begin crafting their own sentences.
Students worked at their tables to create ten sentences using the index cards to form possessive nouns. They were free to use their tablemates’ cards to make sentences. Completed sentences were written on a sheet of paper.
I assessed students on their ability to create possessive nouns by adding an apostrophe + s. I used a checklist to document students’ mastery of the skill. The checklist has three categories. One for creates possessive nouns, adds ‘s, and does not add ‘s. For the first category, creates possessive nouns, I was looking for whether or not students understood the concept of possessive nouns. If they created a sentence that clearly showed possession by adding an s, but did not add the apostrophe, they received credit. Lisas book is on my desk shows that the writer meant the book belongs to Lisa. Five apple’s are on the tree did not receive credit because the writer does not demonstrate understanding of possessive nouns because simply adding an ‘s does not make a noun possessive. The writer is misusing ‘s where the noun is meant to show plurality (apples).
Note: I gave credit for not adding the apostrophe, but the S because this is a huge leap for my primarily English Language Learners. Before this lesson, they would not add an S to show possession even when speaking. An example is, "My sister friend came over to our house last night." S was not added to the noun to show possession. This lesson improved their oral language skills as well as their writing skills.
In closing, students read their sentences aloud to a partner at their table. The partner had to tell them what belonged to the noun in the sentence. This gave students additional practice identifying what belonged to whom. This skill is particularly important for my English Language Learners, who regularly form sentences as they are spoken in their first language, which is Spanish. Instead of saying, “The book of Lisa,” they correctly hear Lisa’s book.