November 27, 2013
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KISS Level 1. 7. Focus on Punctuation and Capitalization

 
     There is much more difficulty in pointing, than people are generally aware of. —In effect, there is scarce any thing in the province of the grammarians so little fixed and ascertained as this. The rules usually laid down are impertinent, dark, and defective; and the practice, at present, perfectly capricious, authors varying not only from one another, but from themselves, too. . . .  
-- Ephraim Chambers [Quoted by Joseph M. Williams at the beginning of Chapter Ten (on punctuation) in Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity ? Grace. Scott, Foresman and Company, 1981. p. 184.]
Notes for Teachers
The KISS Approach to Teaching Punctuation
Exercises in KISS Level 1.7
[Instructional Material (includes material beyond Level 1)]
Ex. # 1 - The Importance of Punctuation
Ex. # 2 - Punctuating Sentences
Ex. # 3 - Capitalization
Ex. # 4 - Commas in a Series
Ex. # 5 - Commas in Addresses and Dates
Ex. # 6 - Apostrophes to Show Possession
Ex. # 7 - Apostrophes in Contractions
Ex. # 8 - Quotation Marks
Ex. # 9 - Replacing Lost Punctuation and Capitalization
Ex. # 10 - Creating an Exercise
For additional punctuation exercises, see KISS Level 6.1.
Notes for Teachers

        When it comes to writing, punctuation (especially commas) probably worries many good writers more than anything else. We need to realize, however, that the "rules" of punctuation are not essentially about etiquette -- although too many people think they are. The rules are about helping the reader understand what words go with what other words in a sentence. Put differently, punctuation lets readers understand which words chunk to which other words. (Remember the KISS Psycholinguistic Model.) In speech, this is easily handled by intonation and pauses. Readers do not have access to intonation and pauses, and written sentences are often longer and more complex than are spoken sentences. As Chambers (above) observed, many textbooks present "impertinent, dark, and defective" rules. They do so in part because many people want the "rules," so that is what textbooks give them. But rules without context are often meaningless.

     The rules in most textbooks are often meaningless because they focus almost exclusively on the simple, easily understood rules. Most students easily and quickly learn to begin a sentence with a capital letter, to use capital letters for the names of specific people and places, to use commas in a sentence, and even to use quotation marks to set off the words spoken by someone. Apostrophes give many students problems, but those problems probably result from the fact that most textbooks do not teach students how to identify adjectives and subjects and verbs. (Possessive nouns always function as adjectives; contractions almost always contract some part of a subject/verb pattern.) These simple rules are what KISS Level 1.7 is primarily about. In essence, it is a basic introduction.

     In the KISS sequence, the most important instruction about punctuation appears as part of the study of specific constructions. For example, the punctuation of main clauses (a major problem for some students) is a focus of KISS Level 3.1. There the exercises go beyond what you will find in most textbooks because KISS first teaches students how to identify main clauses, and then shows them how punctuation (including semicolons, colons, and dashes) can be used to suggest the logical relationships between those clauses. The use of the comma for restrictive and non-restrictive punctuation is introduced in KISS Level 3.1.2 -- Subordinate Clauses. Similarly, the various ways in which appositives can be set off is a focus of KISS Level 5.4. (Note that in the on-line books, punctuation exercises have a yellow background.)

      The primary KISS punctuation exercises are in the "Practice/Application" sections. There you will find exercises based on short passages from which the punctuation and capitalization have been stripped. Students are asked to "fix" them, and then to compare their versions with the original. Also indexed in Level 6.1 are exercises about "Bending and Breaking the Rules." (Exercise Nine is this book is an example; most of these exercises are indexed in KISS Level 6.1

An Overview of the Exercises in KISS Level 1.7

     Note: Most of the exercises in KISS Level 1.7 either include, or can be adapted to include, analytical directions (prepositional phrases and S/V/C patterns). These can, of course, be ignored, or the students can follow them to improve their analytical ability. Most of the analysis keys include a complete analysis of all the sentences.

     Exercise # 1 is a study in the importance of Punctuation. Students are given a passage to punctuate. After doing it, the class should discuss how the punctuation affects the meaning of the passage. These are not easy to do, but that is the point--punctuation clarifies meaning.

     Exercise # 2 presents students will relatively simple sentences that lack final punctuation marks. Students are asked to use a period, exclamation point, or question mark to complete the punctuation. 

     Exercise # 3 addresses the use of capital letters.

     Exercise # 4 explores the use of commas in a series.

     Exercise # 5 focuses on  the use of commas in addresses and dates.

     Exercise # 6 addresses  the use of apostrophes to show possession.

     Exercise # 7 addresses  the use of apostrophes in contractions.

     Exercise # 8 asks students to identify the words that were said by placing them in quotation marks “  ”. 

     Exercise # 9 is an introduction to most of the punctuation exercises that students will meet in later KISS Levels, especially in the Practice/Application booklets. As noted above, students are given a short passage from which the punctuation and capitalization have been  "lost." They are asked to fix it. These exercises are most effective if students discuss their "fixes" with their classmates.

     Exercise # 10 invites students to make an exercise like the one above. Students can then do one another's exercise and discuss the results.
 
Exercises in KISS Level 1.7

Ex. # 1 - The Importance of Punctuation
"Elizabeth, Eliza, Betsy, and Bess" Text AK ToC G3; IG3
"Fingers and Toes" (A Lesson in Poetry and Punctuation) AK ToC G4
G5; IG 5

 
"Dear John" -- The Importance of Correct Punctuation AK V1 AK V2 ToC G6 - 11
L1.7;
IG 9

 
Another Perspective of the Psycholinguistic Model:
The Purpose of Punctuation  Overhead #1 Overhead #2 Overhead #3
Two Men, members . . . . AK    
     Because this "exercise" involves three semi-reduced clauses, I was going to put it in Practice/Application for Level 3.2 in grades five through eleven. Then I remembered 1.) that some teachers will not like it because the men want to smoke, 2.) the effectiveness of the "exercise" depends on showing students first "Overhead # 1," then "#2" and finally "#3." (This won't work if everything is in their printable book.) Finally, 3.) reprinting it in each of the books would require a lot of space. I therefore include it here for anyone who wishes to use it.
    Note that, in part, the initial ambiguity in the text depends on which main clause "while walking in the garden" chunks to.
Ex. # 2 - Punctuating Sentences
Punctuating a Sentence Ex # 1 (from Blaisdell's  "Billy's Slide") Text AK ToC G2; IG1
Punctuating a Sentence Ex # 2 (from Blaisdell's "Billy's Slide")  " AK " G2; IG1
From "Dick Whittington" AK ToC IG 2
Punctuating Sentences (Maxwell L1 06 01) AK ToC G3
Punctuating Sentences (Maxwell L1 06 02) ToC G4
From Charles Kingsley's The Heroes AK ToC G6
Ex. # 3 - Capitalization
Instructional Material
An Exercise (#1) AK ToC IG2
An Exercise (#2) AK ToC  
Adapted from Campbell, Voyages in English  (# 1) AK ToC G3
Adapted from Campbell, Voyages in English  (# 2) AK ToC G4
Adapted from Campbell, Voyages in English  (# 3) AK ToC G5
Adapted from Campbell, Voyages in English  (# 4) AK ToC G6
Adapted from Campbell, Voyages in English  (# 5) AK ToC G7
Adapted from Campbell, Voyages in English  (# 6) AK ToC G8
Adapted from Campbell, Voyages in English  (# 7) AK ToC G9
Adapted from Campbell, Voyages in English  (# 8) AK ToC G10
Adapted from Campbell, Voyages in English  (# 9) AK ToC G11
Ex. # 4 - Commas in a Series
Commas in a Series AK ToC G3
Commas in a Series - Adapted from Voyages in English AK ToC G4
From Charles Kingsley's The Heroes AK ToC G6
Punctuation - Commas - Mixed Constructions AK ToC -
Ex. # 5 - Commas in Addresses and Dates
* From Growth in English: Seventh Year AK ToC * G3-5
* From Voyages in English (#1) AK ToC * G6-8
* From Voyages in English (#2) AK ToC * G9-11
Ex. # 6 - Apostrophes to Show Possession
Instructional Material
Ex # 1 From Blaisdell's Bunny Rabbit's Diary AK ToC G2; IG2
Ex # 2 From Blaisdell's Bunny Rabbit's Diary AK ToC  IG1
Ex # 3 from Potter's The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck Text AK ToC G3; IG2
From Vredenburg's My Favorite Fairy Tales AK ToC G4
From Campbell's Voyages in English (# 1) AK ToC G5
From Heidi by Johanna Spyri AK ToC G6
From Campbell's Voyages in English (# 2) AK ToC G7
L1.7, Ex. 6 from A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens AK ToC G9

For Post Level Three
[These are exercises that can be used after students get into Level 3, Clauses]

L1.7, Ex. 6 from A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens AK ToC 1yrm
Ex. # 7 - Apostrophes in Contractions
Ex # 1 from Blaisdell's Bunny Rabbit's Diary AK ToC G2; IG1
Ex # 2 from Blaisdell's Bunny Rabbit's Diary AK " G2; IG1
Ex # 3 from Blaisdell's Bunny Rabbit's Diary AK " G2; IG1
Ex # 21 from Potter's The Tale of Samuel Whiskers Text AK ToC IG2
Ex # 19 from Potter's Pie and the Patty-Pan Text AK ToC G3
From Vredenburg's My Favorite Fairy Tales AK ToC G4
Adapted from Campbell's Voyages in English (#1) AK ToC G5
From Heidi by Johanna Spyri AK ToC G6
Adapted from Campbell's Voyages in English (# 2) AK ToC G7
From A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens AK ToC G9

For Post Level Three
[These are exercises that can be used after students get into Level 3, Clauses]

From A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens AK ToC 1YM
Ex. # 8 - Quotation Marks
From Ben and Alice AK ToC IG2
From Blaisdell's  "Bobtail’s Kite" Text AK ToC G2; IG 1
From Potter's The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies Text AK ToC -
From Campbell's Voyages in English (# 1) AK ToC G3
From Campbell's Voyages in English (# 2) AK ToC G4
From Campbell's Voyages in English (# 3) AK ToC G5
From Campbell's Voyages in English (# 4) AK ToC G6
From Campbell's Voyages in English (# 5) AK ToC G7
From Campbell's Voyages in English (# 6) AK ToC G8
From Campbell's Voyages in English (# 7) AK ToC G9
Ex. # 9 - Replacing Lost Punctuation and Capitalization
     Many more of these are in "Level 6.1 - Punctuation" for the Practice/Applicatoin Sections
Adapted from Lesson 20 in First National Reader  AK ToC IG1
Adapted from "The Heron" in Chit-chat Stories for Little Folks AK ToC IG1
Adapted from "The Canary" in Chit-chat Stories for Little Folks AK ToC IG2
From Blaisdell's "A Summer Shower" Text AK ToC G2; IG 2
From Blaisdell's "Sammy’s Flying Machine" Text AK ToC G2; IG 2
From Blaisdell's "The White Rabbit" Text AK ToC G2; IG 2
From Holbrook's  "First Woodpecker " Original  AK ToC G3
From Holbrook's  "The Oriole" Original  AK ToC G4
Marshall's Stories of Robin Hood Chapter 1 Original AK ToC -
From Heidi by Johanna Spyri Original AK ToC G6
Ex. # 10 - Creating an Exercise
[This exercise is the same in every grade level.]
     Select a short passage from a book. Remove all the capitalization and punctuation to make a punctuation exercise for your classmates. Do at least one of your classmates' exercises.