Elementary Grade Lesson on Contractions (with Powerpoint Slides)

By Becky F

When we speak or say poetry or lyrics of a song, we often shorten words or combine two words because it rolls off the tongue more easily. These combined words are called contractions. In informal writing, we use an apostrophe in contractions to show a letter or two that has been omitted and that the spelling is intentional.

When teaching contractions to students, we show them examples of contractions used in modern English vocabulary, e.g., it's, and you're. However, some contractions are considered outdated, especially those used in older prose and Shakesperean texts, e.g., o'er and 'tis.

When it comes to teaching contractions, many people extend the use of an apostrophe in plurals because of the 's contraction. As teachers, we must teach students that apostrophes are primarily used for contractions and showing possession and rarely for plurals. However, this article will focus on teaching contractions and the correct placement of apostrophes.

Teaching Different Types Of Contractions

In written text, contractions are considered an informal way of writing. While it is okay to use contractions, formal texts and speech should preferably be more articulate and exclude contracted words.

A helpful way of explaining the concept of contractions is to describe the verb "contract." Contract means to "pull together" or "tighten." When we squish words together to make a contraction, there isn't enough space for all the letters. So, you put an apostrophe as a place keeper for the omitted letters.

Many resources, ideas, and interactive online activities can help you with teaching contractions. For example, this video teaches some basic contractions and provides practice examples.

Let's look at the widespread contractions used in English vocabulary.

Contractions With "Is"

When the word "is" is the second word in a contraction, we must remove the "i" and replace it with an apostrophe.


  • he + is → he's
  • it + is → it's
  • she + is → she's
  • that + is → that's

Contractions With "Are"

If the word "are" is the second word in a contraction, we remove the "a" from "are: and replace it with an apostrophe.


  • how + are → how're
  • they + are → they're
  • we + are → we're
  • when + are → when're
  • where + are → where're
  • who + are → who're
  • why + are → why're
  • you + are → you're

Contractions With "Not"

When the second contraction word is "not," you must replace the "o" with an apostrophe. However, there are some exceptions where more letters are omitted.


  • could + not → couldn't
  • do + not → don't
  • does + not → doesn't
  • had + not → hadn't
  • have + not → haven't
  • is + not → isn't
  • must + not → mustn't
  • should + not → shouldn't
  • would + not → wouldn't

Examples of Exceptions

  • can + not → can't
  • shall + not → shan't
  • will + not → won't

Contractions With "Will"

In contractions where "will" is the second word, remove the letters "wi" and replace them with an apostrophe.


  • he + will → he'll
  • I + will → I'll
  • it + will → it'll
  • she + will → she'll
  • that + will → that'll
  • they + will → they'll
  • we + will → we'll
  • you + will → you'll

Contractions With "Have"

When "have" is the second word in a contraction, remove the "ha" and replace it with an apostrophe.


  • I + have → I've
  • they + have → they've
  • we + have → we've
  • you + have → you've

Contractions With "Had"

For contractions with "had" as the second word, replace the "ha" with an apostrophe.


  • he + had → he'd
  • I + had → I'd
  • she + had → she'd
  • they + had → they'd
  • we + had → we'd
  • you + had → you'd

Contractions With "Has"

Finally, contractions with "has" as the second word follow the same rule as "have" and "had." Remove the "ha" and replace it with an apostrophe.


  • he + has → he's
  • it + has → it's
  • she + has → she's
  • that + has → that's

What's In Our Contraction Lesson Slides

“Contractions” PowerPoint slides are a complete lesson for teaching elementary grade students.

This teaching resource is designed to support primary grades teachers. Download the complete PowerPoint lesson slides that are ready to use. You can even customize them as per your needs.

You can preview the complete lesson here before downloading the powerpoint lesson slides.

Learning Objectives

Students should be able to;

  • demonstrate an understanding of making contractions
  • analyze different contractions

Learning Outcomes

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify and make contractions in text

Download ppt Slides For This Lesson

Editable Lesson Slides included

We hope that this teaching resource is helpful for you. Also, don’t forget to check our complete list of elementary grades PowerPoint lesson slides here.

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