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ruby09
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ruby09
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How do i teach kids to use commas?
Old 04-19-2009, 10:27 PM
 
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Anyone have any ideas on the best way to teach yr 6/7 students how to use commas?


thnx


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I personally believe
Old 04-20-2009, 11:00 AM
 
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in teaching all punctuation rhetorically, not by lists of rules. So what I would do for first graders would probably be the same thing I would do for my sixth graders. I would teach this AS NEEDED rather than put the whole class through it, ready or not. When I see a child who needs a comma minilesson, they get that lesson, but only for the instance in which they need a comma today. So if I see a kid who needs a comma lesson, they don't get a run-down on every use of a comma there is. They get a lesson on what they need today (we use a comma before quotation marks). Tomorrow, maybe they'll need another one (we use a comma in the date: April 20, 2009).

We have known for years that teaching kids points of punctuation and grammar in isolation just doesn't work, regardless of whether it's a worksheet, or a game or an activity. These things just don't work. It makes no sense to give kids more than what they're ready for, so I would teach them what they need, at the time they demonstrate a need to know, and I would do it completely within the context of their own writing.
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Here's a fun book
Old 04-20-2009, 03:53 PM
 
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...that really illustrates how the placement of a comma can change the meaning of a sentence:

Eats, Shoots and Leaves: Why, Commas Really DO Make a Difference!
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Music
Old 04-21-2009, 03:21 PM
 
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I taught the kids that language is music! Listen carefully and you'll hear it - or lack of it. Then I'd read them a couple of LONG sentences minus punctuation. TAKE A DEEP BREATH. And read monotone!

Have a couple of sentence ready on the white board or an overhead presentation - without punctuation. Have student read them.

First graders will need this adjusted, obviously, but they will HEAR the necessity of commas. I told students that commas on paper are what our voice does naturally when speaking - give a slight pause so our ears and brains can catch up or separate. Commas are shorter breaks than periods and BOTH require music - talking at one tone of voice and as the punctuation appears, the voice lowers in tone. Question marks and exclamation points have a different music. You get the idea.

Try it - and listen. The kids - well, the older kids at least - catch on swiftly.

Of course, this doesn't address the reasons for the pauses. As the previous writer said, wait until that becomes necessary. Though I do believe in worksheets; it gives the teacher something to refer back to or for the student to pull out and review.
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I did this with my fifth graders...
Old 04-21-2009, 07:36 PM
 
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I made up sentences/phrases, on sentence strips using the different ways to use a comma. I laminated them. I gave each student one and then gave him/her macaroni (mspllg.). They were to put the macaroni where the comma belonged. I set a timer for so many minutes, for them to figure it out. To check if they were correct they could check their grammar book, and I also had preprinted rules at another area/station in the classroom. They loved it, it got them up and moving, and still learning, but in a different setting.

Just an idea.


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victor borge
Old 05-17-2009, 04:18 PM
 
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If you would like to use humor to motivate kids to learn punctuation, show them the video of Victor Borge explaining punctuation. It's hilarious. It's available online. The kids love it.
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