Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Punctuation Marks!

We have lots of fun learning punctuation marks in our classroom.  I found a new favorite book.  Yes I did! 
It is perfect for Kindergarten.  My kids love it.  I should say, "MY KIDS LOVE IT!!!!!"
It makes a wonderful Writer's Workshop mini lesson, because my kids are having a ball writing punctuation stories! The Ellipsis, The Question Mark, and The Exclamation Point are favorites. 
One of my little girls wrote this Question Mark Book for me today, FULL of questions.  
Here is her sweet dedication.  <3
 She shared it, and I answered the questions in it.  Notice on her, "What will you be when you grow up?" page, the illustration with the question is  me as a doctor. hmmm. 
 When she read it, she said, "Maybe you could be a doctor... Or a horse. " hmmm.
So then, a little boy saved her and said, "She already IS grown up, and she is a teacher!" I didn't have to say a word. :)  This will be in my library right beside My Exclamation Point book forever. 

We also  play Four Corners with punctuation marks.  I have a bag full of different sentences that require different punctuation: statements, questions, lists of things that need commas, and excited sentences. The four corners of the room are labeled with a paper  that says Period., Question Mark?, Exclamation Point!, and Comma, .  It is played like all Four Corners games.  The children choose and run to a corner. I pull out a sentence and read it.  Whatever punctuation mark it needs, is the corner that has to go sit down.  Then, the rest of the class runs to a different corner, and we keep playing until there is one person left. 

My kids are very good at telling me the name and use of punctuation marks, and are having fun experimenting with using them in their writing.  I think that is wonderful at this stage.  We keep reviewing when to use each punctuation mark, and slowly, they are getting into the right places!

Often, the children just love to stick a period at the end of a line of writing, not a complete thought.  This activity really helps them to hear when a complete thought ends and when they naturally come to a stop when reading.   I made up a paper with sentences but no periods. I did this activity at a small group and it worked beautifully.  Everyone got a pack of Smarties and 6 of these awesome little stickers. 

I found these stickers at a Teacher Store, and they just look like a hand saying, "STOP!"  Perfect for a period!

I tried to write simple sentences that did not always end at the end of the line, but sometimes in the middle of a line, so they could hear when a sentence ended and not just stick a period at the end of the page.  Learning that a sentence is a complete thought- and that a sentence does not always just end at the end of the page- is the trickiest thing about learning to use a period.  (Well, that and remembering to actually USE one! :) 
I have also used Fruit Loops for this activity, but Smarties seemed perfect.  Of course they need to eat one before they begin for Smartie Power!  Then, after we put on the Smarties, we read the sentences together and clap at each period (Smartie).  Next, the child can eat the Smartie and replace it with a sticker. 
Since they each got six stickers and only needed five periods, I dictated a sentence on the back so they could end that with their final sticker.  One group only wrote one dictated sentence, but for the others, I dictated a statement, a question, and one that needed an exclamation point.
Here is my  Kindergarten Writing Prezi.  I have this up on my Smartboard everyday during Writer's Workshop.  It is great for a quick reminder, mini lesson, or just to pull up a chart to talk about with the children to get us in the mood for doing our best writing! I also included links to lined paper that we put up on the Smartboard sometimes to practice forming letters, as well as links to Common Core Ideas for Teachers!
Thank you for visiting!
Happy Teaching,

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