Do you like teaching capitalization? No? Try this! Teach kids the big capitalization rule. Then spend some time with each little rule. Engage your students with thumbs-up and thumbs-down practice. A slow and steady approach really works.
Ms. Sneed’s Kids Won’t Capitalize
Our favorite fourth grade teacher, Ms. Sneed, held her head in her hands. Her elbows rested on a stack of geography tests. “Why?” she moaned. “Why won’t they capitalize the names of oceans?”
That was just the tip of the iceberg. For weeks, Ms. Sneed had noticed lack of capitalization.
Suddenly, the teacher stood up and walked to her computer. “I’m going to take care of this once and for all.”
As she searched Teachers pay Teachers, her eyes fell on a comprehensive capitalization unit. With just a few clicks, she downloaded it.
Ms. Sneed Digs In
The Big Capitalization Rule
The next day, Ms. Sneed got started. “Can anyone tell me which words we capitalize?” she asked her class.
Surprisingly, almost every hand in the class shot up. A boy with glasses called out, “The names of people, places, and things!”
“And what parts of names don’t we capitalize?” she asked. No hands went up. Ms. Sneed had her starting point.
Parts of Speech
Over the next few weeks, kids in Ms. Sneed’s class studied parts of speech. After all, their teacher knew that we don’t capitalize articles, coordinating conjunctions, or short prepositions.
The Little Capitalization Rules
Finally, Ms. Sneed was ready to polish her students’ skills. She hung this poster set on the wall. Then, taking it slowly, she hit a few rules per week.
Each week she began with a PowerPoint presentation. After direct instruction, a series of terms appeared on the screen. Students put thumbs up if the term was capitalized correctly. If they thought it was wrong, their thumbs went down. Instant formative assessment! (And the kids really got in the action.)
Over the course of the week, Ms. Sneed followed up with capitalization worksheets and activities.
A Dull Subject?
As expected, students began capitalizing appropriately. But an unexpected thing happened too: Ms. Sneed found joy in teaching a boring subject. “When you teach something thoroughly, explicitly,” she told her colleague, Mr. Frank, “kids really learn.” Her eyes twinkled at the thought.
Over the course of her career, Ms. Sneed realized that there were 6 steps to enjoy teaching. In order to survive, she had to organize, plan, and simplify. Then, to thrive, Ms. Sneed needed to learn, engage, and finally – dive in! Follow the Fabulous Teaching Adventures of Ms. Sneed and learn how you can enjoy teaching too.