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Band aid or Lasso?

Do you have students who use apostrophes for everything that ends in s?

Band aid or Lasso? Do your students put an apostrophe in every word that ends in s? Here are a couple of cute tricks to help the kiddos remember when to use apostrophes and when NOT to!

I remind my kids to think: does 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 the 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! If you listen closely, you can hear the letters giggling.

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. (or nearby, in the case of an adjective) 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. It has these two stories to help the children remember when to use apostrophes, and has 4 activities to practice contractions, plurals, and possessives.

Explore the image or here: 

Band-Aid or Lasso?


 How do you help your students remember when to use the apostrophe and when NOT to use it?

Band aid or Lasso? Do your students put an apostrophe in every word that ends in s? Here are a couple of cute tricks to help the kiddos remember when to use apostrophes and when NOT to!

Dabbling in DIBELS

Last week I went to a two day training period for DIBELS Next.  DIBELS Next is an assessment program for early readers.  It stands for Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills. 

We learned how to deliver every part of the test for every level.  Typically the assessment is given 3 times a year:  the beginning, the middle, and the end.  Different levels are given different parts of the test.   Teachers are able to Progress Monitor children who don't meet benchmarks.  The best part?  All the materials are available online for free.

The tough part?  It takes about 10 minutes per child at my level.  The tests are given individually.  The tricky part is finding time to do this while keeping up with all our classroom responsibilities. 

But it's a wealth of information!  This is the first time in years our school district has used any kind of assessment that is standardized.  The older children have the state mandated tests, starting in third grade, and we've had the unit tests from the reading program we use.  DIBELS will be giving us specific information concerning what our students know (or don't know) about reading.

Why is this good?  Because it tells us specifically what we need to teach the children!  (I suspect you already knew this!)  With all the testing we've been forced to do over the past few years, it's a pleasure to have an assessment tool that helps us figure out what we need to do. 

DIBELS doesn't necessarily tell us what to do to raise the scores, but there are tons of resources,  many of which we explored through the 2 day training. 

So, I've started Dabbling in DIBELS.  During the last couple of days, I've Dibbled 4 of my students.  It's a little late for the beginning of the year baseline, and a little early for the midyear assessment, but I'm just practicing giving the test.  (And getting information about my kids!)  Honestly, there's not really anything I didn't already know about these kids, but it's valid information that I can bring up at meetings and share with parents. 

So far I'm happy dabbling in DIBELS!  Whatever keeps them reading!

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