Category Archive: punctuation

Talking to Caregivers about Conventions and Spelling

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More than other skills, most caregivers tend to worry about spelling and conventions when it comes to their child’s writing. I get it. Those skills are right there at the tip of the writing iceberg. Those skills are concrete and obvious. Those skills are the ones that they recognize and know how to fix when they sit with their child. So how do we talk to caregivers about spelling and punctuation? Here are three ideas that you may find helpful. 

When Conventions Aren’t Sticking–Some Tips and Tricks

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Disclaimer: you’re not going to find the miracle cure for getting students to use conventions in their writing within this post. I don’t have one. And I’ve read a lot, researched a lot, and tried a lot of things. That being said, you may come across some ideas that apply not only to conventions, but also to the writing process as a whole, and maybe even to life. (That might be a stretch…but maybe—)

Patterns of Power: Review + Giveaway

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At a time when  thoughts turn to sandy beaches and alarm clock-less days, it takes a very special professional book to make me wish (at least a little) that it was September and I could start implementing all these fabulous, fun and important lessons now! Patterns of Power: Inviting Young Writers into the Conventions of Language is a book that will make you happy to have the opportunity to be a teacher, working with young writers to help them explore, wonder, and apply the conventions they learn. It’s a book that I believe will transform how teachers and students look at conventions

How Many Stars? Tools for self-assessment and goal-setting

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The more we show learners what the work looks like at different levels and the reasons for that level, the better they are able to self-assess, set goals, and improve.

Conventions & Presentation: Solving Predictable Problems

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Proper use of conventions and the aesthetics of writing pose unique challenges in an elementary writing workshop. Here are solutions to eight predictable problems you may be facing with your students.

Powerful Punctuation!

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Punctuation is a pesky problem. Third grade students often forget their punctuation, writing an entire story without a single period in sight. As I launched writing workshop this year, I’ve been looking for ways to show my students that punctuation can add voice and meaning to their piece of writing.

Snapshots From the NYSEC Conference

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My time at the New York State English Council (NYSEC) Conference through snapshots!

Five Grammar Lessons With Sneaky Double-Duty Goals 

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Check out these quick, easy grammar lessons that will clean up and power up your students’ writing.

Where Do We Go Next? Use a Checklist!

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Do your on-demand writing samples go into a folder or do they help you plan your next steps?

Grammar Lessons: A Time and A Place

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Encouraging kids to make decisions about their writing, rather than blindly following grammar rules helps lifts the level of their thinking, and the level of their writing.

Best First Draft

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When students move from their notebook to draft, I encourage them to write their best first draft. (Click here to see other posts I’ve written about best first drafts.) Something that I’m always… Continue reading

How many exclamation points should one use to end a sentence?

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I changed the way I used exclamation points as a result of reading Dan Feigelson’s Practical Punctuation: Lessons on Rule Making and Rule Breaking in Elementary Writing. Prior to reading Feigelson’s book I was… Continue reading

Punctuating Dialogue

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Have you ever noticed how challenging it is for kids to punctuate dialogue correctly?  (Let’s be honest… there are many adults who have this problem too!)  I’m not in favor of utilizing grammar… Continue reading

Genre Choice

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Going into the last leg of the school year, I’d like to take a minute to encourage you to empower students to chose the genre they are going to write. It is important… Continue reading

Mentoring Primary Writers

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The past eight days have been exceedingly busy, while also being exceedingly great.  First, Ruth was here and we spent a lot of time planning out the final third of our book.  Then,… Continue reading

The Joy of Apostrophes

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Is there any joy when teaching apostrophes? Certainly! The only thing is that the joy doesn’t come from disseminating worksheets to kids… it comes from using books to demonstrate the concept. A couple… Continue reading

Commas and Conjunctions

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My class is still in the thick of our Conventions Unit of Study.  We’re nearing the end of our comma study, but have chosen to study how to use commas with conjunctions for… Continue reading

Punctuation Police

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Today was my first day back to the classroom after being under the weather and out for two-and-a-half-days. I hesitated jumping back in, realizing I had a lot to catch-up on in my… Continue reading

Thinking About Punctuation in Texts

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My students shared their findings about punctuation marks, from earlier in the week, with each other yesterday. The charts, below, were eye-opening for me since not all of the descriptions about why the… Continue reading

The “No Worksheet” Zone

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I started teaching a unit of study on Conventions yesterday.  (I really think I need a more dazzling name for this, but for now, it’s going to be known as the “Conventions Unit… Continue reading