As important as it is for kids to write and write some more, sometimes you also want them to practice their background skills so that they can incorporate them in their writing more fluently. Kids can always use more practice on skills like working with parts of speech and using the mechanics or writing such as capitalization and punctuation. These skills can be practiced in short mini-lessons or by group or individualized practice tailored to the kids’ needs.
Task cards are great for this type of work. The teacher can select cards based on the kids’ needs, and the kids can work at their own pace. Also, each “assignment” is really nice and short – much more appealing than a whole worksheet full of capitalization practice for example.
The beginning and the end of the year are my favorite times for this type of assignments. The beginning – when you are gearing up toward longer writing assignments, and the end – when attention spans are getting short and faster-paced assignments make more sense than long involved ones. An added advantage of using task cards to practice background writing skills in the beginning of the year is that task cards are a great vehicle for teaching kids routines and procedures for group work and working on individualized lessons.
Capitalization Rules – Seven cards. Each card is about one or more specific capitalization rules. Each of these cards includes the rule, an example, and student practice.
Punctuation Rules – Ten Cards. Each of these cards is about one or more specific punctuation rules, and also contains the rule, an example, and student practice.
Writing Quotations – Two cards about capitalization and punctuation rules that apply to writing quoted lines.
Writing Letters – One card about capitalization and punctuation rules for writing a letter.
Mixed Capitalization Practice – Four Cards.
Mixed Punctuation Practice – Four cards.
Mixed Capitalization and Punctuation Practice – Two cards.
The second one, Parts of Speech Task Cards, include three cards each about nouns, verbs, pronouns, adverbs, adjectives, prepositions, and conjunctions, and one card about interjections. In addition, there are eight cards that are each about several or all of the parts of speech.
The activities include sorting for parts of speech, adding a particular part of speech to a sentence, listing words of a particular part of speech and using them in a short passage, matching, unscrambling sentences, and labeling the parts of speech in a sentence