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Pendemonium: The Posse In Australia: Punctuation Pendemonium-The-Posse-In-Australia-Punctuation?

  • Subject: Grammar
  • |
  • Grade(s): K-5
  • |
  • Duration: 1 class period

Lesson Plan Sections

Student Objectives

  • Explore the use of commas and periods.
  • Compose a friendly letter.
  • Apply rules of punctuation for commas and periods.
  • Revise a composition.


  • Pendemonium: The Posse in Australia video
  • Paper and pencils
  • United States atlases, one per student
  • Print resources about punctuation marks


  1. After viewing the video, read aloudPunctuation Takes a Vacation , by Robin Pulver, or a similar book with a light-hearted look at punctuation.
  2. In both the video and book, clues helped characters find missing punctuation marks. Explain that in this lesson students will also write and solve clues about missing commas and periods.
  3. Encourage students to pretend that all the commas and periods in the class are missing, just like in the video and book. However, each student knows where some of the periods and commas are and will share clues to help others recover the lost punctuation marks.
  4. To find all of the class's commas and periods, each student will write a friendly letter to a partner. The letter will contain at least three clues to the mark's location. But since all the commas and periods are now gone, the students' letters cannot contain any of these punctuation marks.
  5. Begin the activity by having students select a state using a United States atlas. Their chosen state is where their commas and periods are located. Students need to note at least three features of the state to use as clues. Ask students to keep their state a secret. Their partners will have to determine the location based on the clues in their letters.
  6. Next, assign partners. Have students write a friendly letter to their partner. These informal letters must contain the following:
    • Salutation or greeting
    • Three clues about the state; clues can include its climate, relative location, important geographic features such as mountains, rivers, and lakes, major cities, and famous buildings or bridges
    • One list of three or more items
    • One command
    • Closing
  7. Remind students again that the letters cannot include any commas or periods.
  8. Then have partners exchange letters. Ask student volunteers to read their letters aloud. Remind students to read without pausing or stopping.
  9. Have students apply their knowledge of the use of commas and periods by revising their partners' letters. Ask students to add the missing commas and periods.
  10. After revising the letters, students should use the clues to determine the location of the missing punctuation marks. Encourage students to refer to their atlases to confirm their guesses. When students have solved the clues, allow partners to meet and verify the mystery locations.
  11. Bring the class together and ask volunteers to share clues that they found especially challenging or interesting because they were missing commas or periods, not because of their geographic location. Discuss how these punctuation marks helped readers better understand the meanings of their partners' letters.

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Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
  • 3 points:  Students composed a friendly letter with all the required components, consistently applied the rules of commas and periods, and found all the missing periods and commas in their partner's letter.
  • 2 points:  Students composed a friendly letter with most of the required components, usually applied the rules of commas and periods, and found the majority of the missing periods and commas in their partner's letter.
  • 1 point:  Students composed a friendly letter with few of the required components, rarely applied the rules of commas and periods, and found only some of the missing periods and commas in their partner''s letter.

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Definition: A shortened form of a word or phrase
Context: The rushing student text messaged BRB, a popular abbreviation for "be right back," to her friend.

Definition: A punctuation mark (,) used in a phrase or sentence to show a separation of ideas, items, or elements
Context: When reading a gripping book, the teacher would build suspense by taking long pauses at some commas.

Definition: An order
Context: The children gave the command to blow out all the candles on the birthday cake.

Definition: A search party
Context: The school quickly put together a posse of students to search for the missing basketball trophy.

Definition: A punctuation mark (.) placed at the end of declarative sentences and commands and after many abbreviations, which also indicates a full stop to a reader
Context: Instead of a simple dot for a period, the young artist drew hearts at the end of her sentences.

Definition: Marks and signs that separate words into sentences, clauses, and phrases
Context: The letter's missing punctuation marks made it hard to understand.

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Academic Standards

Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
McREL's Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education addresses 14 content areas. To view the standards and benchmarks, visit
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:
  • Language Arts: Viewing - Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media
  • Language Arts: Writing - Uses grammatical and mechanical conventions in written compositions
  • Language Arts: Reading - Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process
The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
The National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association have developed national standards to provide guidelines for teaching the English language arts. To view the standards online, go to .
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:
  • Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and non-print texts.
  • Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

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