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Compounds vs. Contractions

To help students learn contractions and compounds, I have them become as hands-on as possible.  Students learn the difference between compounds and contractions by physically rearranging the words.

P1030649When learning comPOUND words, I have the students POUND the words together.  They choose different index cards that are cut to match each other.  They pound the word together and then write the new word on the whiteboard.  Students work with partners using a bag of index cards.  Students "pound" the word, write it, illustrate it, and use it in a sentence.

P1030648 When practicing contractions, I have students physically place a magnetic X over the vowel being eliminated and replace it with an apostrophe in the contraction.  Students work in pairs with magnetic boards to create contractions.


Alyssa Zelkowitz


I love your strategy for POUNDing words together! When I taught compound words to third graders with special needs, we made the letters for words out of two different colors of PlayDoh, combined the words (and mashed the colors together), and then formed the letters of the new word. For example,

butter (yellow dough) + fly (blue dough), mash them up to make a ball of green dough, and then form the letters for the word "butterfly."

Aside from being fun and kinesthetic, this really helped some of my struggling students understand that sometimes two words can come together and be a totally different word!


What a fantastic idea! I am actually going to try this next week with my after school English Language Learner class! Thanks for the great idea!

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