Reading Lesson Plan: Contraction Caterpillars

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn contractions
  2. Practise contractions


  1. Lots of yellow paper strips about 2″ wide by 12″ long (about 10 for each student)
  2. smelly markers for drawing on caterpillar antennae, eyes and mouth, and printing the contraction and its long form. eg can’t (outside) and cannot (inside)
  3. chartboard list for brainstorming contractions  (see LIST at end of lesson)
  4. pointer stick for review


  1. Find out students’ prior knowledge, tell them about contractions and brainstorm a list with them on the chartboard.  Remind them to double check the list when printing out these words on their caterpillars.
  2. At left end of strip, trace head and antennae of caterpillar (teacher can do this part ahead of lesson for grade 1’s if desired).  Student cuts out head, then prints in pencil, in large, neat letters the full words eg. cannot, then folds the paper over the “not” part and prints in pencil the apostrophe and the t (‘t) on the outside of the fold.  Student then decorates the face with coloured antennae, eyes and mouth, and contraction and it’s long form.
  3. If student errs, remind them to double check the brainstorming list or have them checked by the teacher in pencil, before using the marker.
  4. When the contraction has been printed, cut through the folded paper, making the bumpy body of the caterpillar.  (The body looks like circles joined together, round bumps…)
  5. Post caterpillars around the board in a caterpillar parade.
  6. When the class has a few minutes during the day, have the student of the day use the pointer to point at caterpillars and have the class recite the contraction shown, plus the two words that make up the contraction

List of Contractions:

I’m, I am//I’ll, I will//I’d, I would//I’ve, I have//I’d, I had//

you’re, you are//you’ll, you will// you’d, you would//you’ve, you have//you’d, you had//

he’s, he is//he’ll, he will//he’d, he would//he’s, he has//he’d, he had//

she’s, she is//she’ll, she will//she’d, she would//she’s, she has// she’d, she had//

it’s, it is//it’ll, it will//it’d, it would//it’s, it was//it’d, it had//

we’re, we are//we’ll, we will//we’d, we would//we’ve, we have//we’d, we had//

they’re, they are//they’ll, they will//they’d, they would//they’ve, they have//they’d, they had//

that’s, that is//that’ll, that will//that’d, that would//that’s, that has//that’d, that had//

isn’t, is not//aren’t, are not//wasn’t, was not//weren’t, were not//haven’t, have not//

hasn’t, has not//hadn’t, had not//won’t, will not//wouldn’t, would not//don’t, do  not//

doesn’t, does not//didn’t, did not//can’t, cannot//couldn’t, could not//shouldn’t, should not//

mightn’t, might not//mustn’t, must not//would’ve, would have//could’ve, could have//should’ve, should have//

might’ve, might have//must’ve, must have//

who’s, who is//who’ll, who will//who’d, who would//who’s, who has//who’d, who had//

what’s, what is//what’ll, what will//what’d, what would//what’s, what has//what’d, what had//

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