K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • learn to arrange words and punctuation to create complete sentences.
  • learn to rearrange words and punctuation to change the meaning of sentences.
  • learn to rearrange words and use different punctuation to create declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

1 Hour

Materials/resources

  • Pocket chart
  • Word cards (various colors preferred)

Activities

  1. Use different color index cards or paper strips to list various categories of words: nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, articles, pronouns, etc. (Make the list as multi-level as needed by the words used and the categories added).
  2. On one side of the card write the word beginning with a capital letter and on the other side write the word beginning with a lower case letter. The punctuation cards ( ! . ? etc.) are printed on a different color and are displayed in the chart with the categories of words.
  3. Before beginning this activity, have the students, as a class, decide on a sound that the punctuation mark might make. (Most students enjoy making a big “POP” sound for the period, a big shrug with a “HUH?” for a question mark, and a loud “WOOH!” for an exclamation mark. For emphasis, students enjoy having a double exclamation card !! that is read “WOOH ! WOOH!”.)
  4. To begin the activity, one student selects a noun card and another student chooses a verb card. The students make a sentence with their two words. They arrange themselves in any order they like. They read their words aloud. For example, “Students dance” or “Dance students.”
  5. The teacher asks, “Is this a complete sentence? What is missing?” Students should recognize that the sentence needs punctuation.
  6. A third student chooses a punctuation mark to end the sentence. (This student makes the sound of the punctuation mark as he/she stands at the end of the sentence.)
  7. Once again, each student says his/her word and the punctuation person makes the sound of the punctuation mark. The class members indicate agreement or disagreement with the sentence by turning their thumbs up or thumbs down.
  8. The next steps involve asking the students if the words can be changed around and still make a complete sentence.
  9. The activity continues as other students choose adjectives and then adverbs to build on and elaborate the sentence. Students may change the word order and/or the punctuation to change sentence meaning and impact as words are added to the sentence. These changes involve decisions that the sentence team makes collaboratively prior to presenting to the class. This process requires students to use language arts, problem solving, and teamwork skills all at the same time.
  10. As this activity continues and students become familiar with the basics of the process, add commas, colons, quotation marks, articles, conjunctions, prepositional phrases, pronouns, and new vocabulary to the process as appropriate.
  11. Sentences can be as long as the teacher determines useful in modeling good sentence structure.
  12. Students then evaluate/search the words, their reading, and their writing for complete sentences, sentence fragments, run-on sentences, subject-verb agreement, correct pronoun use, etc.
  13. Selected students can be assigned the role of “Correct Sentence Police” or “Punctuation Police.”
  14. A teacher may also add frequently misspelled words to the chart. Students must choose the correct spelling to use in the sentence (ie., whent for went OR scool for school OR where for were, etc.)
  15. Students should also be encouraged to listen for the impact that word order and word choice have on a sentence or on a story.

Assessment

At the end of the lesson, students are able to:

  • arrange words and punctuation to create complete sentences.
  • rearrange words and punctuation to change the meaning of sentences.
  • rearrange words and use different punctuation to create declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Language

        • Grade 3
          • 3.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. 3.L.1.1 Explain the function of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in general and their functions in particular sentences. 3.L.1.2 Form...
          • 3.L.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing. 3.L.2.1 Capitalize appropriate words in titles. 3.L.2.2 Use commas in addresses. 3.L.2.3 Use commas and quotation marks in dialogue. 3.L.2.4...
        • Grade 4
          • 4.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. 4.L.1.1 Use relative pronouns (who, whose, whom, which, that) and relative adverbs (where, when, why). 4.L.1.2 Form and use the progressive (e.g.,...
          • 4.L.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing. 4.L.2.1 Use correct capitalization. 4.L.2.2 Use commas and quotation marks to mark direct speech and quotations from a text. 4.L.2.3 Use...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 4

  • Goal 5: The learner will apply grammar and language conventions to communicate effectively.
    • Objective 5.02: Demonstrate understanding in speaking and writing by appropriate usage of:
      • pronouns.
      • subject/verb agreement.
      • verb tense consistency.
      • subject consistency.
    • Objective 5.03: Elaborate information and ideas in writing and speaking by using:
      • simple and compound sentences.
      • regular and irregular verbs.
      • adverbs.
      • prepositions.
      • coordinating conjunctions.