Eggcellent Contractions

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Have you ever walked by the clearance displays of plastic eggs and wondered, “Who’s going to buy all of those?” The short answer? Me. I use plastic eggs for a lot of different activities (such as scrambled words, described in Vocabulary Activities) and have been known to buy them in bulk. Since spring is just around the corner (according to the calendar at least, we northerners know it’s likely to be awhile before the weather catches up) I thought I’d share with you another great use for those plastic eggs which will soon be on sale.

Egg contractions is a perfect example of how teacher hoarding (keeping “trash” because you just know you’ll have the perfect use for it someday) can come in handy. I was helping Mrs. C., the wonderful woman who ran our school cafeteria, clean up after the entire school had finished feasting on green eggs and ham, and I just couldn’t bring myself to throw away the egg cartons. They were the large cardboard bases that held three dozen eggs each and I just knew they’d be perfect for an activity…I just didn’t know what activity (don’t judge, I know you have a similar stash of materials somewhere).

It was several months later and my students were working on contractions. Normally this is a fairly easy skill for my students and they master it quickly. This particular group was struggling and I was stumped as to what other practice activity we could try. I was staring into my resources closet, trying to come up with a new idea, when I saw the egg cartons and bag of plastic eggs. Inspiration hit and contraction eggs were born, or laid, as the case may be.

I grabbed an egg carton and a Sharpie marker and wrote a contraction inside each cup. I then grabbed the eggs and wrote the two words that formed each contraction, one word on each half of the egg, on each. I repeated the process to make a few more sets, separated the eggs, tossed the halves into a large shoe box, and was ready to go. The next day the students worked in groups to find egg halves that had the two words for each contraction on their cartons. They put the egg halves together and placed the eggs in the correct cup. The students loved it and I’ve been using the activity ever since.

There you have it, a real life example of how teacher hoarding is actually a good thing. Actually, this blog is full of examples of how I’ve used “trash” to teach (not sure if Paint Can Questions or Spin & Spell is my all time favorite). If you want more examples, stick around. In a couple of weeks I’ll tell you how my collection of old spoons came in handy for teaching collective nouns! Then in August I’m scheduled to do a webinar for Saddleback Educational Publishing that has even more ideas.

Want more contractions practice activities? Check out these fun possibilities: