How to teach students to spell the homonyms: there, they're and their:
1)THERE: THERE contains the word HERE. If you can substitute the word HERE in the sentence, use THERE.
Example: Put the chair over there. ("Put the chair over here" makes sense. Therefore, use THERE in this instance).
2) THEY'RE: Contraction for "THEY ARE". If you can substitute "they are" in the sentence, use they're.
Example: They're going to a party. ("They are going to a party" makes sense. Therefore, use THEY'RE in this instance).
3)THEIR: THEIR contains the word "heir" which denotes ownership. Make sure the student understands the definition of the word "heir". Use "heir: in a sentence. (The prince was HEIR to the kingdom)
If "they" own something in the sentence, use the word "THEIR".
Example: THEIR boxes were empty. What do "they" own ? They own boxes. Therefore, use THEIR in this instance. Also, remember that they begins with "T-H-E". This will help a student remember to begin THEIR with "T-H-E".
Some students spell the word wrong and put the "i" before the "e".
These homonyms seem to give students trouble in spelling. Try these explanations on when to use each word. Students usually catch on easily to this explanation.
Have fun teaching!