Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Have you ever heard the saying, "If you give a child a hammer, he will find a million things to hammer?"  Well, if you give children punctuation, they will use it everywhere!  You know when the teacher has introduced a period because the students will use it after each word.  Here are a few tips for the standard:  "Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing."

-Capitalize the first word in a sentence.

Stand Up and Sit Down – Explain that a capital letter at the beginning of a sentence is like a green light.  It means go.  A period at the end is like a stop sign.  As you read books, charts, and other types of print have children stand up at the beginning of a sentence.  Remind them to sit down when they come to a period at the end of a sentence.

Cowboys and Cowgirls – Children get to straddle their chairs as if riding a horse.  They stand up at the beginning of a sentence and they sit down at the end.

Highlight – Children can use highlighter tape or markers to focus on the first word in a sentence.

Oops!  Children love to correct the teacher.  Occasionally as you write on the board forget to use correct punctuation.  Tell your students if they notice a mistake they can say, “Oops!”  Encourage them to correct your mistake.

-Recognize and name the punctuation.

Movements Make Meaning – Teach children movements for various punctuation marks.
Periods tell you when to stop.  Put your palm up when you see a period.                        Question marks mean you want to know something.  Put your finger by your brain when you see a question mark.
Exclamation points mean your are excited.  Put your fist up when you see an exclamation point. 
A comma reminds you to take a breath.
Quotation marks mean that someone is speaking.  Wiggle two fingers in the air.
As you read big books, charts, or other print invite the children to make appropriate movements.

Punctuation Sticks – Use jumbo craft sticks or paint sticks for this activity.  Draw a “.” “?” and “!” on the end of each stick with a marker.  Write simple sentences on the board.  Take one stick at a time and place it at the end of a sentence.  Children practice reading with that expression.

ABC?  Say the abc’s according to the punctuation marks.
            A  B  C?
            D  E  F  G.
            H   I  J!
            K L M N.
            O  P  Q?
            R   S  T!
            U   V  W.
            X   Y  Z!

*Write nursery rhymes and other familiar poems using unusual punctuation.

So What?  Read a story in a monotone voice without pausing to help children realize the importance of punctuation.