English Grammar Lesson Plan: Punctuation

Lesson Plan Objectives:
  1. After a dicussion of the coordinating conjunctions and comma usage, studetns will be able to identify when to use a comma and when not to.
  2. Given examples, students will be able to explain why a sentence does or does not need a comma.
  3. Students will learn how to use coordinating conjunctions and commas in their writing and will offer example sentences that demonstrate proper usage.

Lesson Plan Materials:

Sentence Fragment Cards

Lesson Plan Procedure:

  1. Ask if anyone has ever heard of a conjunctions, coordinating conjunction or subordinating conjunction to get background knowledge.
  2. Give the definition of a coordinating conjunction (a small simple word that connects two independent clauses)
  3. Give the list of coordination conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so)
  4. Show “Conjunction Junction” from Schoolhouse Rock.
  5. Explain comma placement as it relates to coordinating conjunctions.

If you have two complete sentences (subjects and verbs) and you would like to join them, you need to use one of the coordinating conjunctions. However, the conjunction alone is not strong enough to hold the 2 sentences together. The coordinating conjunction needs the help of a comma. It is placed before the conjunction.
EX. I love you, but we have to break up.

If you have one complete sentence and one incomplete sentence joined by a coordinating conjunction, the conjunction is strong enough to hold them together, so a comma is not needed.
EX. I am not going to Mexico or Canada.

6. Have three volunteers come forward to help demonstrate the comma placement on the sentence fragment cards.

Start with the coordinating conjunctions “but” and “or.” Show an example of each with and without a comma on the sentence fragment cards.

7. Divide the class up into groups of four and give each group a packet of sentence fragment cards with four sentences.

8. Each group should present their sentences to the class and explain why the did or did not use a comma.

9. For homework, have the students write two sentences using the coordinating conjunctions “for” and “but.” One
sentence should use a comma and the other should not.

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Creating Sentence Fragment Cards

Each sentence will require 4 cards:
On the first card write everything that comes before the coordinating conjunction.
On the second card write the coordinating conjunction.
On the third card write a comma.
On the fourth card write the remainder of the sentence.

Example: To be or not to be, that is the question.
Card 1: To be
Card 2: or
Card 3: comma symbol
Card 4: not to be, that is the question.

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Sample Sentences

Please dive or jump or get out of the way.
Should I listen to the radio or watch television?
You can have new shoes or get a haircut.
Did you hear what I said, or do you need your hearing checked?
I’m not going to Peru or New York.
Do all of you have money, or should we borrow some?
Do you want to go to the mall or swim in the lake?
Smile when you ask Mrs. Smith for a pencil, or she will be furious.
Chill the pudding before serving, or it will go bad.

Keep your eyes open, but close your mouth.
I will go to the play with you, but first I have to change.
She wrote the word on the board, but she spelled it wrong.
He seemed dead, but we noticed his hands were still warm.
You should leave now, or you will be late for school.
I told her about Tom, but she wouldn’t believe me.
I am going to Michigan, but I am going alone.
Do you want green eggs or ham?
Everyone but Steve had the flu.
Steve ate everything but the creamed snails.
All my friends but Ken went to the movies.

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