Patterns and Punctuation by Elizabeth Schlessman appears in the most recent issue of Rethinking Schools. It is clearly the best lesson plan I’ve ever heard about for teaching punctuation.

I’m not going to go into depth on it since the article is available for now and is not behind a paywall. In summary, it Elizabeth used inductive teaching and learning to have students identify punctuation in what they were reading, identify patterns, and then apply what they learned to their own writing.

In many ways, it’s similar to the inductive learning strategies I’ve often discussed in this blog and in my books. I’ve constantly used “data sets” — a list of 10-30 examples of writing — that students categorize and then expand. I’ve just never thought before about using them to teach punctuation, but it makes perfect sense. In fact, as soon as I’m done writing this post I’m going to create a simple data set to use with my Beginning English Language Learners on Monday.

The article is just the latest reason why I’ve read Rethinking Schools for many, many years….