Tricky apostrophes… even some adults struggle with the concept! Here in the United States, children are introduced to apostrophes in contractions in 2nd grade and possessives in 3rd grade. However, throughout their reading and writing, the opportunity to discuss or review the use of apostrophes would be a missed 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 speak, we get lazy and shorten our words. A contraction helps us to do this. A contraction is two words that we condense into one word. The apostrophe signifies 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 visually how the two words are combined to make one word!
Our publishing partner, K-3 Resources, has uploaded this Contraction Accordion Activity that is perfect for including in small group rotations. Have students pick a contraction, and then they can write the two words and the contraction form of those two words in their journals to cement the concept.
Here’s the resource in action…
Apostrophe Detectives Activity
One highly effective way for children to understand apostrophes and their use 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 apostrophes in their independent and whole-group reading. A great extension afterward is to have them sort their findings based on whether it is a contraction or a possessive.
All you need is a good book!
Punctuation Puppet Fun
Your class will love using these cute punctuation puppets to help them edit poorly punctuated sentences (including apostrophes)!
Print out a set of puppets for each student and either attach them onto craft sticks or strips of paper to turn into finger puppets. Write a sentence that is missing a punctuation mark (including apostrophes) on a sentence strip or on the whiteboard. Then, invite your students to hold up the punctuation puppet to show which punctuation is missing.
To extend your students’ learning, why not have them write their own sentence missing the apostrophe for a partner to decide where the apostrophe puppet needs to go!
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 word ‘its’.
If you are looking for something that also includes other punctuation marks, this funky Punctuation Movie Show Reel will look fantastic in the classroom.
Print out the pages on cardstock and cut out the pieces. Then hang them up on your wall with the showreels on either end of the punctuation signs.
Cute Apostrophe Anchor Charts
We know the benefits of Anchor Charts in the Classroom. When your students help create the content on your classroom walls, they are more likely to refer to the charts when they need a little reminder. Plus, how can they not when they have cute chants on them like these below?
Mrs.Avugwi and her class created this super adorable pair! You can follow her here – @teachersandlearners.
Possessive Apostrophe Activity
This is a super simple activity using your students’ names (which we all know students LOVE)!
Create two sets of cards – one with your students’ names and another with the names of various items. We used one of our Word Wall Templates to create our cards. Then, as a class or independently, choose a student name and an item card and make a sentence that shows possession.
Alternatively, place the cards in a writing center and have your students create sentences and write them in their journals.
Apostrophes of Possession Card Game
Students take turns creating phrases by flipping over a Person, Apostrophe, and an Object card. Then they must decide whether the phrase they create makes logical sense. For example, the phrase ‘my uncles’ hat’ does not make logical sense, as it is doubtful 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 all players have had an equal number of turns) is the winner!
Our collection of student worksheets includes several apostrophe worksheets that make an excellent individual task to check for student understanding. Our Apostrophe of Possession Worksheet and set of three Apostrophe of Contraction Worksheets contain various questions and activities, plus they also have answer sheets for the teacher.