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Teach Contractions in 4 Easy Steps with One Thanksgiving Read-Aloud

Contractions can be hard to learn or just plain boring for some students. However, this contractions word work activity, using a Thanksgiving read-aloud, is the bomb with second graders! They love working together to find the contractions and then using a foldable craftivity to record them. Take a look at the steps to teaching this fun contraction lesson at Thanksgiving time.

How to Teach Contractions Using a Thanksgiving Read-aloud and foldable craftivity

Step 1: The Thanksgiving Read Aloud

My favorite way to kick off our contractions journey is with a read-aloud of Franklin’s Thanksgiving. Franklin’s Thanksgiving is a delightful story about friendship and being thankful for friends. It leaves a message for young readers about the value of kindness. Definitely an added bonus!

The first time I read the story, it’s for pure enjoyment, but usually leads to a discussion about being thankful for our friends. Depending on time and my particular group of students, we write about friends we are thankful for and the ways we show our appreciation for them. You can download this free set of Thanksgiving writing templates that we use.

Step 2: Contractions Lesson

Now, back to how I use the Read Aloud text for our contractions study. Either later in the day or the next day, I present a mini-lesson on contractions. I discuss with them and demonstrate how we shorten two words by putting them together into one word to form a contraction. We discuss the apostrophe that takes the place of the omitted letters in the second word and practice using n’t, ‘m, ‘s, ‘re, ‘ll, and ‘d. Together we brainstorm and make an anchor chart with contractions made from the second word being “not, am, is, are, will, and had.” It’s amazing how excited my kiddos get and how successful they feel during this lesson!

Step 3: Paired Reading and Contractions Hunt

After I finish reading, I pair them up to read the text together and then record in their notebooks every contraction they find. Franklin’s Thanksgiving is perfect for this assignment, not only because it is a seasonal book, but because it is full of contractions! Here’s an example from one of my contraction detectives.

I LOVE pairing students up to work cooperatively on a mission like this. They take turns reading page by page. This helps them to stay much more focused when looking and listening with a set goal in mind.

Step 4: Contractions Foldable

I created this contractions foldable for the kiddos to use as extra practice. They can use it at a literacy center or as a post-lesson activity.

They can color the Thanksgiving turkey and write their name on one side…… and cut along the dotted lines and write the contraction that each two words make on the inside.

Using the free Thanksgiving foldable is a fun way to review contractions in whatever way you choose. You can get the template here:

I know your kiddos will have fun with this lesson, just like mine did. During the fall season, they always seem to be more easily excited about new fun activities like this. They’ve been in school just long enough to feel comfortable and ready to jump into new things.

November is a great month to review contractions, as well as many other important skills before Thanksgiving break. I especially like this Thanksgiving-themed I Have Who Has Contractions Game for another fun way to practice contraction skills. The kids LOVE it!

Also, these fun and meaningful November Math and ELA No Prep Printables are perfect to have on hand for quick and easy reviews during the month.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the free foldable template!

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Check out these resources:

First Grade Morning Work
Math & ELA Spiral Review
Second Grade Morning Work
Math & ELA Spiral Review
Math & ELA No Prep Printables
for 1st & 2nd Grade