My mom and grandmother administered the girls’ standardized tests while we were in Florida (in West Virginia, a parent can’t administer the official tests that we submit to the school board), and one thing I realized when I was flipping through the test booklets was that we haven’t really spent enough time focusing on language mechanics — specifically capitalization and punctuation.
We use First Language Lessons from Peace Hill Press, but we haven’t been as consistent with it as we should have been, and I thought they had a better understanding of both topics than they did. (More on our 2013-2014 curriculum plans coming soon!)
This is actually the part of standardized tests that I like: the chance to get an objective view of where they’re at and what areas might need more work (although I will say that the emphasis on capitalizing months of the year and days of the week seemed a little overstated in the tests!). While we won’t be “teaching to the the test”, I think punctuation and capitalization are important, so I was looking for a good way to cover these topics with the girls over the summer.
Our plan is to use these language mechanics cheat sheets to color code our daily copywork. The girls choose a few sentences from a book they’re reading to copy each day. With these printables, I’m going to have them circle the punctuation and any capital letters on their copywork in the correct colors. It should only take them a few more minutes but will hopefully give them a better understanding of where and how those are used. And I think it will be good practice for marking various parts of speech (nouns, pronouns, verbs and prepositions, for example), which I plan to have them do next year.
Since I was making printables for us anyway, I thought they might be helpful to you all as well! Click here to download or print the language mechanics printables. Hang ’em on a bulletin board or slide them in a page protector for easy reference throughout the school year.