Apostrophes Activities & Games

Instructor: Abigail Cook
Learning about punctuation is an important skill children need to be successful writers. Let's look at some fun ways to teach your students about apostrophes.

Apostrophes

Apostrophes are used in writing to make contractions and to show possession. Contractions are formed when two words, such as I and am, are combined into one word, I'm. Possessive nouns, like John's or students', use apostrophes to show the relationship of belonging. Punctuation and grammar rules like this add detail and clarity for the reader. Students in elementary school begin learning about apostrophes and how to use them. As they get into middle school and high school, older students continue to practice using apostrophes in their writing.

The activities in this lesson can be adapted in a number of ways, based on your students' learning styles and needs. The ideas listed here would work well as different stations in your classroom. You could include one, or all of them at different stations to give your students a fun and quick way to practice using apostrophes.

Contractions

These games and activities focus on the apostrophes we add to change two words into a contraction.

Beat the Clock

Write a list of phrases on the board that can be changed into contractions. Set a timer for two or three minutes, and have your students rewrite the phrases into one word answers with apostrophes. Challenge them to beat the clock! Here are a few examples of phrases you might use:

  • We have
  • They are
  • Do not
  • Is not

This activity will help make adding apostrophes and recognizing contractions more automatic.

Equations

Your students can practice identifying which two words make up a contraction by building word equations. Prepare flashcards with different pieces of a word equation. For example, you would have five cards for each equation:

  1. I
  2. will
  3. +
  4. =
  5. I'll

Lay the cards out on the table, and ask your students to make word equations to make a contraction. Some examples are listed below.

  • I + will = I'll
  • I + am = I'm
  • He + is = He's
  • She + will = She'll

To add another challenge, you could then have the students write or say each contraction in a sentence to demonstrate their understanding of words.

Matching Game

Prepare cards with phrases and matching contractions and have students play a matching game. Mix up the cards and turn them upside down. Have students take turns flipping two cards over and reading them aloud. If they find a phrase card such as 'I am' and its matching contraction, 'I'm', they keep the match. Whoever has the most matches at the end of the game wins.

Possessives

The activities in this section give students practice in identifying and adding apostrophes to possessive nouns.

Multiple Choice Cards

Prepare a series of cards with a fill-in-the-blank sentence on each one. The sentences should be missing a word that includes the possessive apostrophe. Below the sentence, list three possible answers for your students to choose from. Have them circle the correct word. Laminating the cards and giving your students white board markers to write with will allow you to reuse these materials several times. An example is listed below.

'I am going over to _____ house.'

A. Marys

B. Mary's

C. Marys'

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