I have written lessons to accompany Woe Is I, Jr., a grammar handbook for kids. You can read my introductory comments here.

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9

1.   Read chapter 10.

2.   Write a news story about a current, historical, or imaginary event. Incorporate the punctuation marks highlighted by you and your teacher on the Punctuation Checklist.

3.   If you need to be convinced of the importance of punctuation marks, read Lynn Truss’s picture books Eats, Shoots and Leaves, Twenty-Odd Ducks, and The Girl’s Like Spaghetti.

4.   Watch this video for fun.

5.   Practice punctuating with commas by completing the interactive exercises or handouts for Commas at www.chompchomp.com.
 
 
Grammar in context is explained beautifully in this teacher's reflections on a punctuation lesson. She includes a handout, so you can use the idea with your students, too!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
So I walked into the library to be inspired, and what was the first book that beckoned me?  A book with a smiling exclamation mark posing on the front cover!  I was immediately attracted to the book because, well, I majored in English. But it didn't take long to identify with this precious mark who begins the story, trying to fit in with the periods, and ends the book-- after a memorable encounter with a question mark--celebrating his newfound voice and purpose.

While your students are enjoying the witty text and celebrating !'s personal victory, they can absorb the roles of three important punctuation marks whom they may never see the same way again. (Did I just say "whom"?  Yikes. Personification is a powerful tool!)

Possible writing connection:
Ask your children to imagine and write a sequel to the book. Begin by encouraging them to brainstorm.  If they need guidance, ask questions, such as when and where do the punctuation marks meet again? What do they discuss? Who is the main character in the sequel? Once they have some ideas they like, writing may happily begin.

If your students do this assignment, please consider including it in the comments or submitting it to the Showcase.
 
 
Commas are important! 

If you question that statement, read Lynn Truss's picture book Eats, Shoots and Leaves. Each two-page spread has the same sentence. Well, each sentence has the same words, but the meanings are very different, depending on whether there are commas or not.

Here is one example:

"Look at that huge hot dog!"
"Look at that huge, hot dog!"

See the change in meaning just because of one seemingly inconsequential mark?

This book is simple, but it makes you think. In case you need a nudge to see the difference between the two sentences, the humorous illustrations and the explanations at the back of the book will help you.

Hand this book to your kids. Let it subtly convince them that commas really are important in conveying meaning.

Following the same pattern:
 
 
Type an excerpt—a paragraph or two, double-spaced—from any literature, excluding a
specific punctuation mark you want to review or, if your student is ready for more extensive editing, removing all punctuation marks.  Instruct your student to be the editor, inserting the proper punctuation marks where appropriate. Compare with the
original.

An Example from Johnny Tremain, page 43, without punctuation:

Weeks wore on September was ending a large part of every day Johnny spent doing

what he called ‘looking for work’ he did not really want to follow any trade but his own

he looked down on soap-boilers leather-dressers ropemakers and such he did not begin

his hunt along Hancock’s Wharf and Fish Street where he and his story were well known

and the masters would have been apt to employ him from pity he went to the far ends

of Boston

An Example from Johnny Tremain, page 43, with punctuation:

Weeks wore on. September was ending.  A large part of every day Johnny spent doing

what he called ‘looking for work.’ He did not really want to follow any trade but his

own. He looked down on soap-boilers, leather-dressers, ropemakers, and such. He did

not begin his hunt along Hancock’s Wharf and Fish Street, where he and his story were

well known and the masters would have been apt to employ him from pity. He went to

the far ends of Boston.
 
 
What would you do if punctuation marks the comma period question mark quotation mark and others left for a  vacation Or if, they! were running? wild"

Punctuation marks may seem random and headache-producing, but they are important in helping writers and readers communicate with each other. If they were absent or haphazard, reading would become a horrible chore.  I think my first "sentence" proves that, but if you--or your students--need a little more convincing, read Robin Pulver's fun book Punctuation Takes a Vacation and see both extremes.

Possible activities for students to do with this book:
  • Read it!  (That's a good start.)
  • After the punctuation marks are left in disbelief, they respond. Read their comments and observe the role each mark plays in the sentences.  What other roles do these marks have?
  • Read aloud the letter in the blue box. Punctuate it.  Read it aloud again. How do the two readings compare?
  • Look at the postcards the punctuation marks send from Take-a-Break Lake. Who wrote each of them?
  • Read the letter from Mr. Wright's class to Punctuation. Do the poor class a favor and put the punctuation marks where they belong.
  • Choose several punctuation marks and write postcards from each of them.
  • Write a brief piece three times, one with no punctuation, one with misplaced punctuation, and one with correct punctuation. (Better yet, type it. It will be easier to copy, paste, and manipulate.)