It might be my inner nerd talking (and with me, it almost always is), but nothing gets me quite as excited as my daily grammar lesson! I only wish my students felt the same. As much as I hate to admit it, for most students grammar is far from their favorite subject. Nonetheless, it’s vital that they acquire competency in grammar skills if they are to communicate effectively in writing.
So, as much as our students groan at the mere mention of FANBOYS (For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet and So), we must take the opportunity to make our grammar lessons rich, engaging, and rigorous. That’s right, no more “Let’s just get this over with” grammar lessons, folks. You’ve got to be as excited about this stuff as you want your students to be!
With the vast array of grammar objectives to cover, where should we start? In this article, I’d like to take on the humble, but ubiquitous comma.
That’s right, no more “Let’s just get this over with” grammar lessons, folks. You’ve got to be as excited about this stuff as you want your students to be!
Is an entire article on commas really necessary? I’m sure many of you are thinking…
With the advent of texting, snapping, tweeting, and the like, who even uses punctuation anymore?
With an ever-increasing catalogue of standards to teach, why should we devote precious instructional minutes to something that seems so rote?
If I’m going to really take my time to teach grammar, why start with commas?
All great questions! Now gather round.
Our students MUST develop proficiency with punctuation (especially commas) for many reasons:
Now that we’ve gone over why our students need to know how to use commas correctly, let’s explore comma usage practice and the resources available for download in the free Comma Usage Practice Kit.
In the Commas Usage Practice Kit, you’ll find three awesome comma usage worksheets for grades 3–5, 6–8, and 9–12.
The comma usage skill focus varies across grade bands in accordance with the State English Language Arts Standards as does the Lexile level of the chosen text:
In each worksheet, students are tasked with reading a grade-appropriate text that’s missing some important commas. Students must then add the commas back into the text in order to ensure the passage is grammatically sound once again. Additionally, each worksheet hints at comma placement rules that students need to remember when editing their particular passage. When complete, students can use the answer key to check their work.
The next resource in my free Commas Usage Practice Kit is the 5 Common Uses for Commas Anchor Chart. This colorful poster—and accompanying printable student reference sheet—lists and explains the five most common comma placement rules:
Hang it on the wall, review it before each writing lesson, or have students tape it to the inside of their writer’s notebooks—whatever you do, you’re going to want to snag this one!
But wait! There’s more, folks! The next resource in the Comma Usage Practice Kit is a commas in a series worksheet. This simple, but effective mini-lesson and worksheet will help students with…
Using a comma before FANBOYS (the following coordinating conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so.)
Using a comma to separate words in a series of three or more items.
Using a comma to separate two or more adjectives that come before and modify the same noun.
With a guided model and lots of opportunities for independent practice, your students will become compound sentence comma masters in no time (say THAT five times fast!).
Designed especially for younger students, the More Commas mini lesson focuses on applying the Conventions of Standard English and correctly using punctuation to set off nonrestrictive or nonessential information. With this mini-lesson students will practice…
Using a comma to set off introductory words
Using a comma after an introductory word or interjection
Using a comma before and after a noun of direct address
Using a comma after an introductory prepositional phrase
Using a comma after a tag question
With a guided model and plenty of opportunities for independent practice, your students will get the reinforcement they need to identify comma use and apply it to their writing.
Our students get a lot of information hurled at them every day, and sometimes it’s just hard to remember it all. The Big Three Comma Rules Activity provides easy-to-remember tips and tricks that will help your students commit the three most common comma rules to memory.
Stop your comma lesson from going in one ear and out the other—grab this activity in the Comma Usage Practice Kit!
Grammar might not be your students’ favorite lesson of the day, but it is vital nonetheless! Our students must master basic grammar skills if they are to communicate effectively in writing, compose stories and essays with clarity and flow, and establish credibility with their audiences (whether that be teachers, employers, or even adoring fans).
Help your students learn, practice, and retain their next grammar lesson by downloading the Comma Usage Practice Kit! It’s chock-full of comma usage resources for students ranging from grades 3–12.