Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Punctuation: It's Not JUST a Formality

This is me. On repeat. Every. Single. Day. 

Alright first graders! Think of what good writers do. You are good writers so you can do this! Close your eyes . . . Imagine you are writing a sentence . . . (the anticipation is growing, believe me) . . . think in your head . . . what are you going to put at the end of your sentence?

I know what you're thinking. With that dramatic performance, all of the children put a period at the end of their sentence. Well . . . um . . . not exactly. I am sorry to disappoint but that doesn't happen(well, hardly ever).

So I do what all teachers do . . . I self reflect. How can I help the children understand the importance of punctuation at the end of their sentences? How can I teach them why it is important? How can I teach them to instill this into their muscle memory when writing? Why isn't there a Starbucks in the teachers lounge? #totallyserious

In marches these three fabulous books (which are as entertaining for me as they are for the students). . .

These books are fabulous tools for teaching the importance of punctuation and I highly recommend them if you are trying to instruct on why punctuation is important. It also shows how punctuation changes the meaning of what we write and how we read it (this is where I talk about inflection on the first grade level).

Moo! by David LaRochelle is a hilarious book about one cow's adventures when he spots the farmer putting a "For Sale" on a car. The illustrations will capture your children's attention and will keep them completely engaged. The text is simple but emphasizes how to read when different punctuation marks are used. 

Ah Ha! by Jeff Mack is another action packed book about a frog. It will help teach the importance of utilizing the correct punctuation mark. The only letters in this story are "A" and "H." With simple text, the children can practice how to read it using the correct inflections based on which punctuation mark it used.

Punctuation Takes a Vacation by Robin Pulver is by far my most favorite book for teaching punctuation. This is a fun, interactive book that involves a classroom of students and punctuation marks who are unappreciated and decide to go on vacation. My children literally are bursting to help solve the problem. As I read this book the children are so eager to find out where the punctuation went and how they can get them back. 

Here comes the good part.
Wait for it . . . TA DA!
(or is it TA DA?)

I have compiled a mini packet on punctuation as a freebie for you!

Here's a look at the anchor charts that we build together as a class. 

These are all available in the freebie!

To conserve precious wall space, I hang them from the ceiling and let them dangle above the student's desks. The students love that I change up their table names throughout the school year and get so excited when new ones go up. This serves as a helpful *reminder* to me to keep referring to them so they are meaningful to the children.

I create my anchor charts during interactive writing lessons and refer to them with the children. However, like all teachers, I am a *bit* of a perfectionist and like things just so (you know the rest . . . that is where the typed anchor charts enter . . .).

This packet also includes a few literacy activities that correlate to the literature. My children get a kick out of each of them so I wanted to share. These are included in the freebie.

How do you teach punctuation to your littles? Have you discovered the secret to the punctuation madness or are you like me at the beginning of this post? Either way, I'd love to hear from you!

Thank you? Thank you. Thank you!

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