English teachers today lament the downfall of capitalization and punctuation due to the rise of texting and tweets. It takes extra effort now to teach the function and importance of punctuation. There are plenty of great punctuation exercises to help students understand these skills – and there are even exercises specifically for tweets. Now make these exercises extra fun and engaging by adding them to a crossword puzzle.
Ways to Turn Punctuation Exercises Into a Crossword Puzzle
When it comes to punctuation crossword puzzles, most teachers write clues for how each type of punctuation functions within a sentence. Crosswords like the one below offer a great place to start, but are not the only option.
By adding your punctuation exercises to crossword puzzles, students will have more fun and will feel more confident. These crossword puzzles often feature punctuation symbols or fill-in-the-blank exercises.
There are several ways to help students understand punctuation symbols through crossword puzzles.
First, write a sentence with a type of punctuation. The answer will be the name of the punctuation featured in the clue. For example, consider the sentence below.
“There are two choices at this time: run away or fight.”
The answer in the crossword then would be “colon.”
Or, start out with just the symbols. List the symbol for each kind of punctuation only. Then the answer will be the name of the symbol. This crossword provides a comprehensive example.
For this type of punctuation crossword, make a clue with missing punctuation, such as a comma. Then, instruct students to answer with the word the comma needs to go after.
Clue: “When they went to the park they saw a duck.”
You might also make a clue with a blank space for where the punctuation needs to go. The answer will be the type of punctuation that needs to go there.
Clue: “Some people write with a word processor ___ others write with a pen or pencil.”
Sometimes the answer will depend on the context of the sentence, so this type of crossword would pair well with a reading exercise.
Applying Punctuation To Writing
Once students gain a strong understanding of how punctuation works through punctuation exercises, then it’s time to apply that knowledge to their own writing. Self-editing and peer review is a great starting point. But you can also use examples from your students’ writing to make punctuation crosswords.
For example, did a student use a particularly clever semicolon? Did another one correctly punctuate a period with parentheses? Add both examples to fill-in-the-blank crossword puzzles with attribution to the students. They’ll remember how well they did, which will make the knowledge stick.
It’s easy enough to develop punctuation exercises for the classroom. With punctuation crossword puzzles, it’s just as easy for students to have fun while learning. Don’t wait: make your punctuation crosswords today!
Kristen Seikaly used her artistic background, research skills, and love for the internet to launch her first blog, Operaversity. Now she uses the skills to connect teachers, parents, and game enthusiasts with Crossword Hobbyist and My Word Search. She studied music at the University of Michigan, and now lives in Philadelphia.