Practice Punctuation with Conversation

If you’re still struggling to get students to utilize punctuation marks, then you’ll love this idea by sixth grade teacher Jane Strayer from Thomas Jefferson Middle School (Valparaiso, IN)! She has her students focus on their punctuation use when engaging in oral conversations.

When having a conversation about their weekend or what they ate for lunch, Jane will have them converse while articulating which punctuation marks they would use if they were writing down their conversations. For example:

Student A: What do you want to talk about question mark
Student B: I don’t know period What do you think we should talk about question mark
Student A: I’m thinking we should talk about either lunch comma recess comma or summer vacation period
Student B: Okay exclamation point Sounds good exclamation point

It seems a little awkward at first, but it doesn’t take long for students to get the hang of it. Of course don’t “speak punctuation” all the time; do it in short spurts. But Jane promises it makes a difference in students’ application of punctuation marks when initially crafting sentences. And that’s the goal! We want to see punctuation as they write–not as an after-thought.

Favorite apps and websites for the strategy listed above include:

Evernote appVoice Assistant
  • Evernote App (Knowledge-Base Article)–For those with an Evernote account, their corresponding free app turns an audio file (mp3, CD, video, speech) into text and then syncs it with Evernote.
  • Voice Assistant (Tutorial)–This 99-cent app sends your transcriptions straight to a wireless printer.
  • (Tutorial)–This speech-recognition website is powered by Google Chrome and transcribes words and punctuation.

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