Punctuation Lessons for Beginning Writers

In my combined first and second grade, along with individual help with punctuation and editing, there were many short sessions of whole class instruction. These early mini lessons were in the afternoons on the blackboard.

Some of the afternoon mini lessons used charts and lessons on the blackboard followed by a favorite – a paragraph written on the blackboard, eliminating all punctuation, as they watched while trying to decide upon changes. Then various children volunteered to suggest the corrections and to see if others agreed with them.

Two Samples:

mrs broadbent put a collection of rocks in our science center do you know they come from all over the world did you also know that they are all different colors some of the rocks are hard and some are soft some are large and some are small some are smooth and some are rough

periods  5                     question marks  2                     capitals 7

did you know that this year I have gone on six field trips in october I went to dead man’s gap a man named mr steele was our guide I also went to the civic center in october to see a play at the end of october i went to stickley furniture company our class went there on a       tuesday in january I went to the eraser company in february i went to see syracuse stage

periods  8                     question marks 1                      capitals 33

Later in the year dictated sentences were corrected on the back of the weekly spelling tests.

Learn more about the writing program and teaching the techniques of writing in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success. Included is a web site where programs and activities can be downloaded for use in a classroom. Also, see 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

Punctuation for Beginning Writers

In my combined first and second grade, help and guidance with punctuation took place all year long with all writing. The first exposure for punctuation began with the beginning writing of first graders. When making only first drafts, after ideas for the plot were established and noticing a good amount of motivation, during early morning conferences with pencil and occasionally an eraser, corrections with explanations were made. Initially, it would just involve capitals and periods but as time went on, depending upon the maturity of the author, corrections might include much more – exclamation marks (called excitement marks), commas in a series, quotation marks, and sentence combining – perhaps for writers who were also readers and ready for that much complexity. Part of my job was to determine how much or how little to teach at any given moment. Usually, second drafts were in process for beginners by mid-year. Once involved in second drafts, for both first and second graders, corrections were made on first drafts after school hours using a red pen followed by explanations and agreement from a child during early morning conferences. This first draft was viewed as a working copy – with all corrections expected on second drafts. And most were, but sometimes a few would slip by, usually with no comments from me. Perhaps they weren’t ready. There was always time with the next story.

Learn more about story writing and teaching the techniques of writing in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success. Included is a web site where programs and activities can be downloaded for use in a classroom. Also, see 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

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