About Punctuation Playtime®
We begin the program by introducing the students to the 13 most commonly used punctuation marks: Apostrophe, brackets, comma, colon, dash, ellipsis, exclamation point, hyphen, period, question mark, quotation mark, parentheses, and semicolon.
We do this with large flash cards that have each individual punctuation mark and a sentence showing how it is used. We also refer to the four, 4-color punctuation posters that are part of the support materials the teachers receive from us.
Once the children are familiar with the 13 punctuation marks, we play our first game, The Punctuation Relay. In this game the kids are asked to identify punctuation marks on flash cards. They’re in three lines, and the children in front run down to a table, where a facilitator shows them a card. Once they identify the card (you can also ask where the punctuation mark is used in a sentence), they run back and tag the next child in line; the process continues until every child has had a chance to play.
Next, we sit the children down and talk about what they just learned and have a discussion about why punctuation is important. This leads into our second activity, in which we read the children a fantasy poem, Wynken, Blynken, and Nod. This is a wonderful poem about a boy who dreams his bed sails off into the night sky and becomes a fishing boat, with three fishermen fishing for herring.
We talk about the poem, and then we play our second game, the Wynken, Blynken, and Nod Poetry Punctuation Game. The children get in a large circle and, using flash cards that have the words to the poem printed on them, they punctuate the first verse of the poem.
Next, we sit the children down and talk a little bit more about the poem and about dreams, since that’s what the poem is about. Then we move into our last exercise, Pin the Punctuation Mark on the Sentence.
In this game we have prepared seven sentences on large poster paper, which we hang on the wall. None of the sentences has punctuation; spaces have been left for punctuation marks, and the children are asked to “pin” the correct punctuation marks in those spaces with tape. Once they have finished, we review each sentence with the children.
By this time the kids are excited about what they have learned and eager to show off their knowledge. They leave the activity area to the music of The Punctuation Rap, a song written especially for this program.