Friday, October 18, 2013

Pasta Apostrophe Catastrophe

Say that three times fast.

The apostrophe is SUCH a hard working piece of punctuation. To review how it's used in contractions and to show possession my son and I grabbed a great book and some elbow macaroni.

I wrote a fun story for my son about Punctuation Pete who acts out by stealing apostrophes from Marley's town. By showing kindness to him, the apostrophes are returned and grammar is restored to the city. Friendship mends the apostrophe catastrophe!

The story was segmented into 15 cards and the apostrophes were eliminated from the text. A number (i.e. 1, 2, or 3) was added to each card to indicate the number of apostrophes that are missing. I printed, cut apart, and scrambled the order of the cards.

Download a 5-page PDF of these segmented
story cards from Google Drive here.

Before all this grammar greatness could ensue, we read an incredible book, which served as the inspiration for this activity.

The Girl's Like Spaghetti: Why You Can't Manage With Apostrophes! shows kids how the use (or lack of) an apostrophe changes the meaning of a sentence.

For example, one 2-page spread shows the difference between "Those smelly things are my brother's", where children stare and point to a pair of filthy sneakers, and "Those smelly things are my brothers", where a group of children with clothespins clipped on their noses run away from two young boys playing among dirty trash.

My son spent a long time studying the pictures and the sentences to really understand the way one simple punctuation mark could make such a huge difference.

After we were finished reading Lynne Truss' book, I pulled out the segmented story cards. With some school glue and dried elbow macaroni (the pasta apostrophes), my son added the missing punctuation. 

And then put the story in order as best he could.

This was a simple review of one very important piece of punctuation. It was fun too!


  1. This looks amazing! When I try to download it, I get a message that my access is denied and I need permission. Am I doing something wrong?

    1. I just changed the sharing permissions, Jen. Thanks for the heads up. If you still have trouble, let me know and I'll re-upload and change the link entirely and/or email you the PDF file.

  2. This is wonderful- making grammar FUN! What a great idea!!!

  3. I love your creativity, and I want to look for this book. My second grader just got the first Editor-In-Chief for her birthday - she loves finding mistakes in somebody else's writing. One day maybe she can focus on her own too :)

  4. This looks like a lot of fun! What a cute story!

  5. My daughters spelling words were all contractions - wish I would have seen this post earlier - it would have been great to help her remember where to put it!