When kids practice capitalization and punctuation by proofing their own writing, they get to actually apply what they know. That’s a great way to learn! But even a high level activity like this one has its drawbacks. Certain capitalization and punctuation topics just don’t come up frequently in student writing – at least not enough to get the necessary practice.
Mini-lessons on capitalization and punctuation can easily focus on specific situations, but after initially learning these specifics, students need to practice each one too. But the first step is deciding just what specific topics you want to include. (There are so many to choose from!)
Possibilities for capitalization include when to capitalize –
- school subjects
- proper adjectives
For punctuation, here are some possibilities, beyond the basics, for middle grade students –
- using apostrophes
- using commas
- punctuating compound sentences
- punctuating complex sentences
- punctuating titles
- punctuating quotations
Since punctuation and capitalization proficiency relies on memory of many detailed rules, teachers often begin by wondering just what their kids already know, and just what they don’t know. For example, how many of these questions can your students answer?
- When, if ever, do you capitalize the words north, south, east, and west?
- Which of these should be capitalized – days, months, seasons?
- Should names of bridges and tunnels be capitalized?
- Should you capitalize the first word of a quoted sentence when it is part of a larger sentence?
- Should the names of school subjects be capitalized?
If you would like to check, the answers are at the bottom of this post.
When your kids are at the stage for practicing the specific capitalization and punctuation situations that they have learned, task cards are a great choice. Not only can you choose the particular skills you want your class to work on, but it is also easy to choose specific cards for specific students who might need a little more practice on just a few capitalization or punctuation rules.
For my task card set, most of the cards begin with a specific capitalization or punctuation rule spelled out for the kids; the cards are designed for practice, not for testing! Following the rule is a short passage, a sentence or a short paragraph, for kid to improve. For example, on various cards, kids are directed to add capital letters, commas, apostrophes, or quotation marks. For more of a challenge, on a few of the cards, they are directed to add all needed punctuation.
A few of the cards provide other activities – for a little more variety. There is one sorting activity and a card or two where kids must decide whether sentences are correct or incorrect (another challenging activity!)
Here you can see a few sample cards. The first two cards shown address capitalization and punctuation in quotes and letters. The following two are about capitalizing time words and titles. These images show the printable PDF which is included with either digital version of the cards.
Like all of my task cards, this set comes in a TPT Easel version and a Google slides version, both with the printable PDF included. Both of the digital versions are ready for student use with directions and answer boxes.
Answers anyone? Here are the answers to the five questions above.
1. only when they name a specific places
2. days and months
5. only specific course names, such as Geometry 3 and languages