My litte pigeon and I have been working tirelessly with my little second graders to improve their writing and it is slowly but surely working! I noticed that my kiddos have SUCH good ideas as to what to write about, but our sentence conventions are holding us back!
We are big into goal setting in our classroom, so we set a goal for ourselves to improve the use of our punctuation. This means that not only are we going to make sure our sentences all end with punctuation, but we are also going to vary our punctuation to use more question marks and exclamation points.
So I started out by showing my kiddos Rachelle Smith's Punctuation Perfection pack that is FREE on TPT. It is an awesome resource to introduce the "ending marks" as I call them, and show the kids when you should use them. It also gives you posters for apostrophes, quotation marks, and commas if you need them as well!
Then, I gave my students this packet I made called My Little Book of Punctuation. This is an interactive book in which students learn about the definitions of each type of ending mark punctuation, practice writing them, practice identifying which sentences use which type of punctuation, and writing their own sentences using different ending marks.
Then, we read a few books that have lots of examples of the various punctuation so we can notice when good authors use them.
The first book I read is More Bears! by Kenn Nesbitt. This book is HYSTERICAL! If you like shared reading, this book is wonderful! It has all kinds of examples of the use of question marks and exclamation points.
In addition to reading this story, we also made a cute little craft to go with it! In this story, the author is the narrator and the story is written like he is talking and interacting with you, and on every page is the statement "MORE BEARS!!" for one reason or another. The story is all about adding more bears to the story, but in the end the author decides the story needs more chickens.
So I had my kiddos make a little bear that looks similar to the bear on the cover with construction paper. The kids make their bear, and then choose something that the author should have "more" of. They are then responsible for explaining why. In addition to explaining why, they are responsible for using each type of ending mark in their explanation at least once. They may need 2-3 of the lined writing speech bubble. You can get the craftivity here!
Here is an example of one of my kiddos projects :)
These are really great books for students to listen to expression. Sometimes they can tell me what type of ending mark punctuation is used in the sentence, but they don't really understand why the author would want to use it. For this activity, I read the first story (either book would work first) on one day. Then the next day, I give students this paper, and tell them to listen closely to my expression as I read the second book.
Hopefully this will help you in your punctuation journey! I know that it is slowly but surely helping mine :)
Enjoy the calm today, and good luck tomorrow. I know my class is going to be "batty!" (Haha)