Learning to use the correct punctuation is an essential skill for students. Last week, my son was having trouble with using commas appropriately. He was getting confused with the correct placement. His workbook page was filled with too many rules and it was hitting him all at once. So I had to stop and think about how to teach a lesson on using commas correctly. I put together an introductory unit on commas for second grade. Scroll down to access the free printable.
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Why do you need commas?
First, we explored the reason behind using commas. We read, “Punctuation Celebration” and learned that commas “separate clauses with essential pauses.” (My kids really loved this book-it’s a must to teach punctuation). We also learned that when we see a comma we slow down not stop completely.
Do Commas make a difference?
Then, we learned if commas really make any difference by reading Eats, Shoots & Leaves. The book had illustrated sentences with commas placed in different spots. My son was able to see the different meaning a sentence could take if a comma is misplaced. We enjoyed reading this book as well.
Commas are sneaky but they have to follow certain rules!
I also had E find commas in some of our favorite books. We looked at certain parts and figured out why the comma was placed in the sentence. And also what the sentence would be like without a comma.
The learning time was then divided into three sections: instructional, guided, and independent. I taught one rule at a time. After presenting the rule, I used one sentence at a time to demonstrate the use of this rule.
1) Present one rule one day at a time
2) Model and guide multiple times
3) Give enough independent practice to ensure mastery
For example, the first rule we went over was how to use commas to separate three or more items in a series. I read and explained the rule and then demonstrated it with a sentence.
To make this lesson more hands-on, we used wikki sticks as commas. Believe it or not, some students struggle at first with making commas. Wikki sticks are the perfect solution. Simply cut out small pieces and bend it to look like a coma. Included in the free comma packet is a comma tracing page as well.
After the guided lesson, I placed the independent work in a dry erase pocket. E had a choice to use wikki sticks or dry erase markers to finish the assignment. When he was done, he explained why he put commas where he did.
After learning all the rules, E’s assignment was to write a story and to insert commas in the correct spots.