Thursday, December 15, 2011

Band aid or Lasso?

Band aid or Lasso? Here are a couple of cute tricks to help the kiddos remember when to use apostrophes and when NOT to!
Do you have students who use apostrophes for everything that ends in s?

I remind my kids to think if the apostrophe works as a band aid or a lasso.  If it doesn't, it's not needed.

I don't claim the band aid story.  My students gave it to me, but it
sure is clever!  They told me the apostrophe is like a band aid in contractions.  Since the two words were squashed into one, some of the letters popped out, and the band aid is needed to heal the spot where the letters popped out. Of course, this story has evolved, and now I tell them certain letters were "surgically removed". They really enjoy saying "surgically removed", so I enhance the story to keep their attention! I also mention that the surgery doesn't hurt at all, in fact, it tickles!

I do claim the lasso story as my own.  When teaching possessives, I make sure the kids know the word "possess" means to own or have something.  I'll get into stories of rodeos, telling them how cowboys throw their lasso and claim their cattle.   I show them pictures I've googled of cowboys and lassos.  In a possessive, the noun with the 's owns the following item.  I even get into turning the apostrophe into a lasso and circling the next word.  They practice this on their whiteboards (I'm a whiteboard fanatic!) and love to draw the lassos. 

Naturally, if the word they're thinking about doesn't need a band aid or a lasso, they shouldn't be using an apostrophe. 

We know how these little stories help the children remember.  After 35+ years of teaching, I have lots of little stories and "tricks up my sleeve".  Recent brain research shows us these little stories help make the connections in the brain so the children can build their knowledge.  Plus, it's fun!

One of my favorite resources has this Band-Aid/ Lasso theme. Click the image or click HERE for the link!


  1. Wow! Thanks! It really bugs me when people use apostrophes in plural words, so I told my students the apostrophe is like a "owns" whatever follows in possessives. I even had some students come and put their arms around me because as their teacher, they can be possessive about me. I also showed them on the board "I am Alex's teacher." I LOVE the band-aid and lasso ideas. I'll be sharing those as well! Thanks again...

    Stapler’s Strategies for Sizzlin' Second Graders!

  2. This is fantastic. I'm having a drawing for a TpT gift card over at Hope you'll check it out.

  3. Thanks Melly, Lisa, Erika and Denise!
    I suspected I wasn't the only one who needed a trick to help kids remember when to use apostrophes!


  4. Hi Sally:

    Sixth graders need your help too! I am definitely trying the lasso idea when we return in January. A few weeks ago, I asked a child why he had included an apostrophe in a word. His response: "I just like the look of it."
    Oh my, we have a long way to go...

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  5. Thanks, Kim! Hope the lasso story helps your sixth graders! I know some adults who still use the apostrophe incorrectly!


  6. Love this idea! I know my kiddos will get this! Thanks for sharing!!

  7. Thanks Brian!
    Thanks Randy Sue!

    Glad you like this one!


  8. I just saw this today! Great little teaching tip!

  9. HA! A fellow colleague and I were just commenting on how our student's love to use the apostrophe EVERY time a word end's in "s". Thank you for this clever story! I will definitely use thi's story soon!

    1. Thanks!
      I'm always happy to know that my ideas make a difference!


  10. Wonderful idea!
    I am teaching possessive nouns to my students next week and this will be just how I introduce the apostrophe concept! :)

    Thanks for sharing - I'm your newest follower :)

    Joy in the Journey

  11. Thanks for this neat little story trick. I am sure my kiddos will get it after hearing your story.

  12. As I was reading your post, brain research popped in my head! What a wonderful trick. I love the bandaid story especially because the kids can relate to that. I will have to try the lasso story as well with a lot of visuals. I;ve been teaching the kids about "SUPER APOSTROPHE" (said in a dramatic voice). The other letters run away and he comes and saves the day by holding the word together.

    Thanks for linking up!

    I am your newest follower.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Format