In Grade 5, three comma rules are emphasized: commas in a series (L.5.2a), commas that separate an introductory element from the rest of the sentence (L.5.2b), and commas that set off yes, no, tag questions, and names used to directly address an individual (L.5.2c). In recent years, some fun, motivational resources have become available for these skills. Let's look at a few:
- A four-minute Comma Song from the Grammarheads focuses on how to use commas to separate items in a sentence.
- Monster Wrangler Mike has created a set of fun activities to reinforce comma placement called Let's Eat Grandma! How Command of the Comma Saves Lives.
- Author Lynn Truss has penned Eats, Shoots and Leaves.
- A Common Core Aligned Commas Review is available from The Fabulous Life of an Elementary Teacher.
L.5.2d asks students to "use underlining, quotation marks, or italics to indicate titles of works." This is relatively easy! Just remind your class to use quotation marks for small works and underlining or italics for large works.
- Punctuating Titles, a short video (2:09) by Cara Canfield, provides a clear, concise overview of the rules for using quotation marks, underlining, or italicizing.
- For a good worksheet, try mrshatzi.com.
L.5.2e reminds us that fifth graders must "spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed." By the time kids are in fifth grade, they should be able to spell many words. When dealing with unknown words, they should know to a) ask a friend, b) ask an adult, c) use spell check, or d) use a dictionary. Although many teachers ease off of spelling tests by this age, I believe in pinpointing, practicing, and testing words students do not know. Setting up a system in which students document words they don't know how to spell, practice them, and complete some form of assessment provides a means for growth in this area. Teachers can generate and share multiple lists on SpellingCity.com.
P.S. If you're like me, writing has pushed parts of speech, punctuation, and capitalization to the side. A new program, Mechanics: Your Daily Tune-Up, offers direct instruction, practice, and assessment of one set of related skills per week. Ten minutes a day for 18 weeks provides powerful perception about parts of speech and how they impact punctuation and capitalization. Give it a try!