Find what you need fast!  Type in your keyword and search.

Punctuation Exploration

Context for this Lesson


TEKs: 21(B) Use complete sentences with correct subject-verb agreement
22(B) Use capitalization for the beginning of sentences
22(C) use punctuation marks including ending punctuation in sentences

Focus Questions: When do we use capital letters in our writing? Why is it important to use punctuation marks in our writing?  What do the different ending punctuation marks mean?

Materials needed:

  • Brief case for Cassie, the newspaper writer
  • 3 sentence strips, each having a headline with different punctuation
  • Short newspaper story about Blackshear’s black history month program written on chart paper
  • Copies of the newspaper story for each student


Students will gather in a circle to prepare for our artifact activity.  Teacher will explain that a new visitor will be here today, she is a newspaper writer who needs help with her story.  However, before we can help her, we must review the key punctuation marks and how they affect the meaning of a text.  Teacher will display three headlines (one with a period, one with a question mark, and one with an exclamation point).  As a class we will review when to use these punctuation marks and how our voice changes with each ending punctuation mark.   

Transition: Now that we know the emotion and change in voice with each ending punctuation mark, we’re going to make a frozen image expressing what each headline says.

Frozen Image

Teacher will read the headline with a period.  Teacher will ask “since this is a statement, what kind of face might we have in our frozen image?”  Teacher will call up 3 volunteers and together, they will create a frozen image expressing what the headline states.  Teacher will repeat the same process with the headline that has a question mark and an exclamation point. 

Transition: Great job interpreting the headlines based on what punctuation it had!  I just noticed that it’s about for our newspaper editor to arrive.  Let’s remember some respectful tips for when our visitor arrives.



Transition: "When I put this costume piece on, I am going to become Cassie, newspaper writer for the Austin Express Newspaper." 

Teacher puts on costume piece to signal that she is becoming Cassie. Cassie introduces herself to the class, and tells the students that she recently came to Blackshear for the black history month program and wrote an article that will be featured in this week’s paper.  But, she has a BIG problem.  Her article is due to her boss this afternoon and her editor has been out sick for the past week! She heard that some of the students from Blackshear are “experts” at editing and needs their help to proofread her paper.  “Do you boys and girls think you could be the editors of my paper so that I can keep my job? Great! Now this paper is a mess.  I have great material for my stories but I’m very bad at using punctuation marks and complete sentences.” 

Image Work (Teacher still in role)

“Before I show you the story I wrote, I need you all to help me create “body images” to represent the different punctuation marks so I can remember them next time I have this problem.” Cassie and students will brainstorm different images to represent the period, exclamation point, and question mark.   “Ok I think I got it, period, exclamation point, question mark.  Now here’s the short story I wrote.  Let’s read it together.” After reading the short story together, Cassie will divide the students into the same three groups from the frozen image activity.  These groups will work together to edit Cassie’s short story.  Cassie will explain to the students that after they edit her paper, they must read the story to her using the body movements they came up with for the period, exclamation point, and question mark. 

After about 5-10 minutes, Cassie will ask the students to gather back together to hear each other’s edits. 

Transition: (in role) "Oh my gosh! Thank you boys and girls so much for helping me save my job.  You all did a great job editing my paper and I will give these to my boss so that she decides which one to publish in this week’s paper.  I gotta run now before I’m late to my meeting!"


Describe: What do you remember from what we did today?

Analyze: How did we use our bodies to remember the different punctuation marks and what they mean? How do we know when to insert a punctuation mark in our writing?

Reflect: Why is it important to use punctuation marks in our story? When should we use a capital letter in our writing?