1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Children who don't use full stops - any advice

Discussion in 'Primary' started by CB123, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. CB123

    CB123 New commenter

    Hi

    I teach year 4 and have have 5 children who never or very rarely use full stops. One child is of very low ability (1a) and 1 child is EAL but the other 3 can write fairly well (well if it wasnt for their punctuation they could be a high level 2, poss level 3). I am really struggling with this as not using punctuation has become a habit for them.

    We do punctuation games eg kung fu punctuation and during this time can use punctuation but they don't do it in their writing, even if I remind them at the end to check for capital letters and full stops.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. CB123

    CB123 New commenter

    Hi

    I teach year 4 and have have 5 children who never or very rarely use full stops. One child is of very low ability (1a) and 1 child is EAL but the other 3 can write fairly well (well if it wasnt for their punctuation they could be a high level 2, poss level 3). I am really struggling with this as not using punctuation has become a habit for them.

    We do punctuation games eg kung fu punctuation and during this time can use punctuation but they don't do it in their writing, even if I remind them at the end to check for capital letters and full stops.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  3. Not any advice I'm afraid but tagging along with you for any ideas off people. I have a whole class of year 3s who do not use capital letters and full stops. I've got children in my class who were given to me in September with a 3c writing level which is just not where they are working.
    My class are just the same, they can use punctuation without problems if you give them an activity on punctuation but cannot use it in their writing. They are also unable to spot where they have missed full stops and capital letters when they read their own work.
    Help!
     
  4. I am in Y5 and have the same problem with my low ability children. Here's what I do:
    * Going over how to end a sentence with a full stop, and working out when the sentence ends.
    * Lots of punctuation games;
    * Displaying children's work (those who don't us full stops) and highlighting great things they have done and something to make it "even better."
    * Working out whether they can't actually use full stops (i.e. don't know how to) or are just being lazy. If they can't use them, they get targetted support. If they are just being lazy, as most of mine are, they are constantly reminded.
    * I explain levels and targets to them, and explain that no matter how good a sentence is, it needs punctuation, particularly a full stop/other punctuation to end a sentence and capital letters to start them.
    * If children are being lazy and not use full stops, even though I know they can, I make them re-read their work and write out again at break times, using full stops.
    * I heavily reward the children that do use punctuation.
     
  5. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I have children in my year 6 class who arrived as a 3b or 3a (so should go on to get a level 4 this summer) who did not use a full stop anywhere except at the very end of their piece. Others arrived as a level 4 already (I should thus get them a 5) and yet couldn't use full stops entirely accurately and thought they were randomly interchangeable with commas! They did all however scatter capital letters liberally all over the place, including in the middle of words!

    I blame the fact that they have spent years doing 'worksheets' to teach them punctuation. So the only time they needed a full stop was at the end of their answer. Therefore they weren't taught how to make sentences into longer pieces of writing. If, in starter activities, I asked them to write a sentence and then another following on, they would rub out the first full stop and carry on writing, adding in a final full stop at the end. But LOTS of practise at that and at splitting two given sentences with a full stop means that most of the class (or those with a fighting chance of a 4) can now use full stops. Most even remember to do it in their writing. Some of them can even use question marks...

    Now just need to add in exclamation marks, commas, speech marks, apostrophes and finish sorting out capital letters and they might get a 4!


    Oooops sorry this was going to be useful, but it turned into a bit of a rant!
     
  6. How about asking the children to use a green pencil for capital letters and red for pencil for the full stop - just and idea!
     
  7. CB123

    CB123 New commenter

    Yes, Ive done that in lessons related to punctuation. It's just yet again Im marking their big write and although we have worked on punctuation there are still no / very few capital letters and full stops - arr!!
     
  8. I have Year 5 this year having moved up with them - around this time last year, having done lots of punctuation work with them, I had at least half the class not consistently using full-stops and capital letters, so I introduced 'Puctuation Boot-Camp'. It was quite tongue-in-cheek but if they made obvious errors in basic punctuation (e.g. no capital letter from someone's name) in any piece of writing then they had to come in at lunchtime and write the offending sentence out three times. Kept it up every day for about a month (which was a pain in terms of mssing own lunchtime!) and then about once a month. Now if the children see something missing in another child's work they do a sharp intake of breath and tell them they'll get sent to Boot-Camp! They have definitely improved at it and I can now give the whole class rewards if I mark a piece of work and no-one has capital letters or full-stops missing.
     
  9. CB123

    CB123 New commenter

    I like the idea of calling it boot camp. Although you are getting the children to practice their errors it sounds less harsh than just saying they're missing a break.
     
  10. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Because if they don't know where to put either you end up with loads of coloured pencil marks in the wrong places. I could have asked mine to do the full stops in any colour under the sun, but there would still have only been one at the very end as they simply didn't know where else to put one or that they should.

    Actually I also blame the idea of circling the bits that are correct as opposed the bits that are wrong. If I only circle the full stop at the end and nothing more, how does the child know there were 15 others that should have been in the work? If I add in all the ones that should be there, they get used to seeing lots of full stops and so begin to remember there should be more than one.

    I also got children to read their work to me and every time they paused for breath I stabbed at the paper with my pen, thus adding in a full stop. Gradually they got the idea.
     
  11. Punctuation needs to be taught sentence by sentence. If the problem is endemic in a schools, it could be that the infant teachers need to look at how they are teaching the notion of sentences and how they are teaching children to punctuate sentences.
    Wrongly, in my opinion, infant teachers are pressurised to teach genre writing at the expense of simple sentences and building up writing sentence by sentence.
    Adding punctuation at the end of a long piece of writing is not the correct thing to do. Is that we experienced adults do when we write at length? I think not. We will edit our writing to improve its quality and impact but it isn't likely that we just avoid all punctuation until the end.
    Thus, this should not be allowed to become habitual with young children and, I suggest, exercises to add punctuation in hindsight give children the wrong message entirely.

     
  12. There is a free online Dictation Course which is designed for Y6 children although I know of at least one school which uses it with Y5 children. The Dictation passages are completed at each child's own pace and should be written into a dedicated Dictation exercise book. I recommend that two of the exercises are completed each week. They provide practice at completing sentences with full stops and commas and have a built-in 'spelling Helper' They are freely available at www.schoolwork.bz
    and the access code is ure132ty They can be used by even the poorest readers. It is very useful that these resources can be offered to children as weekend homework assignments, provided that they have access to a computer at home. The resources are less sophisticated versions of those currently being used in a national research project called Every Child a Level 5 in English in 2011. The project is almost half way complete. A free copy of the more sophisticated resources CD is available by emailing me - there is no charge and no cost implications as all costs are covered by the research fund. Email me at eddiecarron@btconnect.com

     
  13. Oh, you could be me! [​IMG]
    Just done this with my class (got the idea off a collegue) and it seems to have helped (for the time being!) - with a guided group break up a well known story (ie the 3 little pigs or something) into a storyboard. Each picture gets ONE sentence to say what is happening. Then those sentences get put together into a paragraph including the magic full stops. Then they do it again on their own from the start with another well known story. Then again. Then they do it without the storyboard. It worked for most of them, as I say, for the time being (its only been a week so don't know if they will revert to no full stops in writing in the future, fingers crossed they won't!).
    I'd tried using physical things put in for full stops (like blobs of plastercine), etc etc - the problem seemed to be with mine, whilst they knew about them and when prompted they could tell you they needed to use a full stop they just didn't use them. The storyboard for some reason just clicked with them (perhaps they were so bored of it by the end they just gave in to me lol). Another idea for your bank at any rate, good luck! Heres to raising children 4 sub levels just to get them to where they were when I adopted them apparently, then the extra 2 sub levels of progress HAHAHAHAHAHA.
     
  14. Choose a bad example and, in class, read the work out to them.Pick something that is really good but for the punctuation, if you can, and warn the child. Say they are all doing it, but his is the best example that will help everyone understand what you are trying to teach them all.
    Scan it first and put in on your whiteboard - or use a visualiser - so the class can see it as you read it. Then read it out as it stands, with no punctuation.Make it sound awful!!! (important)
    Ask if the author would like to own up and tell you how they wanted it. You then go through it bit by bit, with them saying how they want it and you putting in the punctuation. Reinforce that you are demonstrating that punctuation makes it sound in the reader's head as it sounds in theirs.
    And that when it is punctuated properly, emphasize it is now a fabulous piece of writing!!!
    And do this more than once .... with different children ... be sensitive - it HAS to be done for the learning of all .... and comfort the ones who cry!!!

    I have seen HUGE improvements doing this a few times, Once is not enough!

     
  15. Hi, I find that getting the children to say their sentence and actually say "full stop" at the end helps them to remember to put it in their writing. eg I went to the park with Mum and Dad (full stop). You could also add I (capital letter) to the start if they forget those.
    Hope this helps .
     
  16. As a secondary teacher, still tackling this in some pupils' work, I mark drafts with big square brackets and write 3 missing full stops [sometimes shortened to 3 mfs with regular offenders] in the margin. They have to re-do it, or at least that section, putting in the missing fullstops. They have a better chance if they know how many to put in.
    Sometimes, if it is a short piece, I might stipulate how many sentences:
    eg "Write five sentences about the character of..."
    and refuse to accept it without the requisite number of full stops and capital letters.
     
  17. I put a bowl of counters in the middle of the table and they take one each time they use a full stop. I come round and if there isn't a capital letter after the full stop I take the counter back off them. At the end of the session they get to play tiddlywinks with their counters - the ones who don't have many don't get such a good game obviously. Just having the counter/full stops in the table helps them. When they see other people taking them, it reminds them to check for full stops too.
     
    lisabat likes this.
  18. Why not try using a talking word processor set so that the pupils get to listen to the sentence they have just written when they put the full stop in place? You can use Clicker grids for younger writers who are not at the word-building stage - it too will speak when a full stop is used. For young pupils not familiar with the keyboard use an on-screen keyboard and get them to spell out their words using the mouse.
    Possible resources:
    Textease, Clicker 4/5, Write:OutLoud, WordTalk........
     
  19. I explicitly tell students that I want them to be using full stops, so that they know it's a learning goal for them. I target their actual writing pieces by putting an asterix * at the beginning of each line that's missing a full stop. If it's missing 2 full stops, I put 2 asterixes. I also reinforce this work with worksheets of passages that need full stops put in. It's definitely an ongoing affair. Another thing I try is to read the passage to them, pausing at the full stops, and having them put in the full stops when they hear me pause. After a student has completed a writing piece, I will ask them to go back and put in the full stops (after I have used the asterix method a few times).
     

Share This Page