Contraction Teams

Who goes with “did not”? “Didn’t”, of course! Match contractions drawn onto team t-shirts. Crayola Dry-Erase Crayons make this activity easy to enjoy again and again.

  • 1.

    A contraction is a shortened combination of two or more words in which some letters are left out. A punctuation mark called an “apostrophe” marks the location where the missing letters had been in the original words.

  • 2.

    Students create pairs of index cards with sets of contractions and their two-word counterparts, one on each card. Provide each child with a dry-erase board and Crayola Dry-Erase Crayons.

  • 3.

    Secretly give each student one index card. Tell students that the card is like a contraction “team name.” Ask students to draw a boy or girl wearing a t-shirt on their dry-erase boards. On the t-shirt they should write the “team name.” Remind students to do their drawing privately so no one can see what “team” is on the t-shirt they have drawn.

  • 4.

    When all children have completed their illustrations, invite children to move about the room silently, reading the other contraction “team names” on the other dry erase boards until they find the one that goes with theirs. Student partners with corresponding contractions should stand side by side with their boards displayed for their classmates to see.


  • LA: Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print.
  • LA: Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
  • LA: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • LA: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
  • LA: Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
  • LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
  • VA: Students will initiate making works of art and design by experimenting, imagining and identifying content.
  • VA: Students will investigate, plan and work through materials and ideas to make works of art and design.


  • See the Word Doctor lesson here on for a learning activity that can be adapted for practicing forming contractions from two words.
  • Share the book I’m and Won’t, They’re and Don’t by Brian P. Cleary as a read aloud or partner reading experience. Invite children to write contraction-filled stories, using colored pencils to write the contractions in vivid colors, as they are in the book.
  • Practice putting the apostrophe in its proper place by asking children to copy a list of contractions from the board onto individual dry-erase boards. Then ask children to add apostrophes to each word. Check answers together.
  • Contraction pairs you might use for this activity include: do not/don’t, will not/won’t, have not/haven’t, is not/isn’t, I am/I’m, I would/I’d, can not/can’t, we will/we’ll, he is/he’s, she will/she’ll, you are/you’re, you will/you’ll