Punctuation Police - Mrs. B's First Grade

Punctuation Police

We are writing like the wind in first grade. It is thrilling for a teacher to see! My students are writing more and more with stories full of pages. There is only one thing that is missing on a lot of them...correct punctuation! The students and I both have been using our Lucy Calkins writing rubrics to assess writing. One of our standards includes using correct ending punctuation, capitalization and spelling. Working on this standard is not always fun...that is where the Punctuation Police come in!


I have seen the idea floating around Twitter and Instagram after teachers visited the Ron Clark Academy and watched a lesson by an amazing teacher, Kim Bearden. My student teacher and I knew we had to take our spin with it - especially because her Dad is the Chief of Police of our Village! I ended up finding an awesome product by Anna Brantley on TpT that took some of the "behind the scenes" work away from me. It was perfect!

While the students were at the library, we set the stage in the room. We put caution tape all around and hung a few signs. We created three "jails" for punctuation, capitalization, and spelling. We also changed our clothes - we HAD to dress the part!
We tried really hard to look tough...we couldn't!
When it was time to pick them up we came down in our police clothes. They were shocked! We told them there was a punctuation problem and we were called in to take care of it. We needed them to get their books right away and get down to the room.

When we got to the room we had Alvin and the Chipmunks "Bad Boys" playing on the speakers. They loved looking at all of the caution tape and excitedly listen to what we were going to do.


When we got to the room we had Alvin and the Chipmunks "Bad Boys" playing on the speakers. They loved looking at all of the caution tape and excitedly listen to what we were going to do.
I explained to them that they were going to be split into two groups - offenders and officers. The offenders would take a slip of paper with a sentence written incorrectly on it. The officers would find the offenders and issue them a citation. On the citation they had to check which type of error they made - punctuation, capitalization, or spelling - and re-write the sentence correctly. Then, together, the officer and offender went to the correct jail to talk to the officer there. I was the officer of spelling, my student teacher did capitalization and the Chief did punctuation. We had a blast talking to them about their citations and occasionally "throwing" them in jail for some crazy number - like four seconds. After they were released, the offender found a new sentence and the officer found a new offender. We even had official badges for the officers!
We played for a little while and then the students got to switch roles. They really got into it and played their parts well. They were so upset when it was time to finish.

To end the lesson, Chief Price read to use his favorite book "Officer Buckle and Gloria." It was perfect!
I am confident that our learning fun will lead to better punctuation in our writing. I might have to remind them that the Punctuation Police may come out to enforce if it is starts to become a problem again... ; )
 

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