Do your upper elementary students seem to get confused on when and where to add the apostrophe to a possessive noun? Mastering possessive nous rules definitely takes a lot of practice. It involves first mastering plural nouns then becoming aware of where to add the apostrophe. Whoa! This is why offering a variety of possessive nouns activities is so beneficial.
This post will give you several ideas on activities and resources you can use to make these lessons engaging, so your students can become masters at writing and identifying possessive nouns.
Two of my favorite websites to turn to when introducing a grammar skill are Brainpop and Flocabulary. My students absolutely love them, so it's a great way to engage them right away.
These websites require that you have a subscription, but most school districts or schools have subscriptions set up for Brainpop. Flocabulary gives you a free trial membership you can sign up if you do not have access to it.
- Brainpop has a four minute video on possessives. It covers possessive nouns until about minute 3:00. The last minute covers possessive pronouns.
- Flocabulary provides a video that is a little less than four minutes long. This video will probably catch upper elementary students attention better than the previous one. It provides examples for all of the different plural noun rules in a catchy tune that your students are sure to continue to sing throughout the day.
Whole Group Lesson
Providing students with visuals can be very helpful. Posters, anchor charts, or interactive notebook activities are extremely effective tools. They can be posted up on the walls of your classroom or displayed on a whiteboard as you teach the concept. Students can copy them into their notebooks, or you could provide them with mini anchor charts that they can glue into their interactive journals.
(You can grab this free anchor chart by clicking on the image below.)
Provide Practice Activities
As with any new skill being learned, practice opportunities are essential. They offer students the chance to master the skill. You can provide theses practice opportunities in a whole group setting or as individual work.
Whole Group Practice Activities
A quick whole group practice activity to informally assess students' understanding is always a good idea. There are a few engaging activities you can provide students with.
1. PowerPoint Slides:
Powerpoint slides allow you to move through a review quickly without having to spend a lot of time writing sentences on the board.
Display a possessive phrase slide on the board. Have students write the correct possessive noun on an individual response boards. At the count of three, have students hold up their answers.
2. Gallery Walk:
This type of activity gets the students up and moving which is always a great thing. It works wonderfully for multiple topics.
To set it up for this activity, set up three anchor chart papers on one side of the room and three on the other. Label one on each side "Singular Possessive Nouns." Label one on each side "Regular Plural Possessive Nouns." Label the last one on each side "Irregular Plural Possessive Nouns." Having two sets of each these will facilitate the activity because large groups will not crowd at one poster. If you have a very large class. You may consider doing more than two sets.
Create groups of students including no more than 4 students. Give each group a different colored marker. Have three groups work on one side of the room while the other three groups work on the other side of the room.
Send each group to a poster. Give groups about 2-3 minutes at each chart paper to write as many possessive nouns as they can. (They should not repeat other possessive nouns found on the paper. After 2-3 minutes, have them switch to the next chart paper. Repeat one last time. At the end of the activity, tally up the number of correctly written possessive nouns for each color found on the chart paper. Take time to discuss any possessive noun errors found on the chart paper.
Independent Practice Activities
1. Sentence Strip and Paper Clips
Write possessive nouns (without the apostrophe) on sentence strips. Number each one and laminate them. Place them at a center with paper clips. Have students work independently or with a partner to place the paper clips where an apostrophe goes to create a possessive noun. Create an answer sheet and make it accessible so that students are able to check their work.
2. Sentence Strip Converter
Write a possessive phrase on a sentence strip. Provide the answer on the back. Laminate the strip. Give students a blank laminated sentence strip, a dry erase marker, and an eraser. Have students convert the possessive noun phrase into a possessive noun on the sentence strip. Students flip the sentence strip over to check the answer and continue the process with the other strips.
An additional option could be to number the strips and give the students a recording sheet where they can write the answers and document whether the got it correct or not.
3. Interactive Booklets
Print and fold interactive booklets are one of our favorite ways to practice grammar skills. These booklets include the possessive noun rules on the cover and engaging practice activities inside including puzzles, games, and brain teasers. They also have a place for students to write in their own words what they have learned about the skill. This is an effective way to evaluate students' understanding of the skill.
4. Boom Cards
Boom Cards are digital task cards. Students love how engaging they are and the immediate feedback it provides. Teachers love that they are zero prep. Just provide students with a short "fast pin" link via email, Zoom chat, or any other way, and they are in and ready to practice.
5. Apostrophe Work Mats
Similar to the sentence strips, these mats are ready to print, place in page protectors, and a binder. Students can use dry eraser markers, Play-Doh, or pasta to add the apostrophes. I love the versatility of this resource because it could be used at centers or taken out of the binder to use as a scoot activity.
Assessing Students' Understanding
Some of the activities listed above can also be used to assess students' mastery of possessive nouns.
Other options for assessments are:
1. Provide students with a list of 15-20 possessive phrases (ex. the books belonging to the students), then have them write the possessive noun beside it.
2. Offer students exit tickets at the end of the lesson. Students can quickly fill them out before leaving class or moving onto another subject. This type of assessment can help you see if you need to continue to provide practice opportunities or intervention.
3. Standard Based Quick Check Assessments are the easiest to use because they focus on the skill and can be assigned either digitally or as a printable. Another convenience about this form of assessment is that they have the CCSS at the top corner making it an easy fit for standard based grading.
Hopefully this post on possessive nouns activities helps to support your as you plan lessons, activities, and assessments for your students. You can check out more topics in our grammar series by clicking on the topics below:
- Dependent and Independent Clauses Activities
- Subject and Predicate Activities
- Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases Activities
- Types of Sentences Activities
- Ordering Adjectives Activities
- Comparative and Superlative Adjectives Activities
- Common and Proper Nouns Activities
- Commonly Confused Words Activities