Tricky apostrophes… even some adults struggle with the concept! Children are introduced to apostrophes in year 3 through contractions in the Australian Curriculum. Then, they revisit apostrophes again in Year 5 when they move onto the use of the apostrophe to show possession. However, throughout their reading and writing, the opportunity to discuss the use of apostrophes much earlier would be a missed learning opportunity. This blog highlights some easy apostrophe activities that can be used for a variety of age groups.
Apostrophe Activities and Resources
Contractions are a tricky concept to teach children. I used to say to my students that sometimes when we are speaking we get a little bit lazy and we shorten our words. A contraction helps us to do this. A contraction is two words that we shorten into one word. The apostrophe is used to signify the letters and space that we have taken out!
This is a popular apostrophe activity to use when explaining the concept of contractions. It shows the students how the two words are combined to make one word in a visual way!
Our publishing partner, K-3 resources, has uploaded this Contraction Concertina Activity that is perfect to include in small group rotations. Have students pick a contraction, then they can write the two words in their book and the contraction form of those two words to cement the concept.
Here’s the resource in action…
Apostrophe Detectives Activity
One highly effective way for children to understand the use of apostrophes is through exposure to children’s literature! Magnifying glasses were a staple item in my class. They can be used for so many reasons and being an apostrophe detective is one.
Have children find as many apostrophes as they can in books. A great extension for those students that have the knowledge, is to get them to sort the words into contractions and ownership apostrophes.
All you need is a good book!
Apostrophe Classroom Posters
When you start to introduce the different types of apostrophes, having clear definitions and examples is vital!
This simple yet effective Learning Apostrophes Poster provides a kid-friendly definition, plus an example sentence. It also provides some further hints and tips such as possessive pronouns and the use of the word ‘its’.
If you are looking for something that also includes other punctuation marks. This funky Punctuation Movie Show Reel will look wonderful in the classroom.
Print on A3, cut around the movie sign, showreels and punctuation signs and then laminate them or stick them to thick cardboard for added durability. The showreels go at either end of the punctuation signs.
Cute Apostrophe Anchor Charts
We know the benefits of Anchor Charts in the Classroom. When your students help to create the content on your classroom walls, they are more likely to refer to these posters and retain the information on them. And, how can they not when they have some of the cutest little chants on them to help understand the different apostrophes?
This super adorable pair was created by Mrs.Avugwi and her class! You can follow her here – @teachersandlearners.
Possessive Apostrophe Activity
This is a super simple activity using your students’ names! This is the key – kids love it when activities include their name (#teachertrick).
Simply create some cards (I used one of our Word Wall Templates) with your students’ names on them and then another set of cards with the names of various items. Your students can pick their name card first and an item card. The idea is that they will use both words in a sentence, making sure to remember the possessive apostrophe.
They can then keep picking a name and an item and writing them down in a sentence.
Apostrophe Puppet Fun
This super adorable cut and match resource is a great apostrophe activity for both contractions and ownership! Your class will love to use these cute puppets to help them fix these badly punctuated sentences!
This Fix the Punctuation resource includes all types of punctuation – so you can either use the whole resource or just the sentences that contain the missing apostrophes.
To extend your students, why not get them to write their own sentence missing the apostrophe for a partner to decide where the apostrophe puppet needs to go!
Apostrophes of Possession Card Game
Students take turns to create a phrase by flipping over a People card, an Apostrophe card and an Object card. They must discuss and decide whether the phrase created makes logical sense. For example, the phrase ‘my uncles’ hat’ does not make logical sense, as it is highly unlikely that many uncles would share one hat. However, the phrase ‘the woman’s car’ does make logical sense, as one woman is likely to own one car.
The first player to create three logical phrases (after both players have had an equal number of turns) is the winner!
Our collection of student worksheets also includes a number of apostrophe worksheets that would be a great individual task to check for understanding. Our Apostrophe of Possession Worksheet and set of three Apostrophe of Contraction Worksheets contain a variety of questions and activities, plus they also have answer sheets for the teacher.