Grammar Journals

Grammar Journals are a quick way to practice necessary punctuation and capitalization rules. They are an efficient way to see at almost a glance which of your students is having trouble with a particular skill and which is grasping skills immediately. In addition it gives the students practice using proofreader's marks. I use this activity during the first grading period with my sixth-grade class as a follow up to all the rules they learned in fifth-grade.


  1. I prepare a journal cover for each of my students by folding a 9" x 12" piece of construction paper in half and placing on it a computer generated label with each student's name.
  2. On the first day of school I have each student take ten pieces of loose leaf paper and fold them in half, slipping the paper between the folded cover and stapling them.
  3. Every morning before the students arrive, I write a sentence containing capitalization and punctuation mistakes on the chalkboard. I use the same rules during the entire week. The following week I add another rule to those reviewed last week.
  4. When the students arrive, they are to copy the incorrect sentence into their journal, use proofreading marks to show needed corrections, then correctly write the sentence. They are to have these completed before the day's opening exercises.
  5. Immediately after opening exercises we spend five minutes checking and discussing the sentence, reviewing the grammar rules incorporated in it.
  6. At the end of the week I administer a test to the students that covers the week's rules.

    A list of rules used during the first grading period for sixth-grade students:

    1. beginning and end punctuation for sentences
    2. capitalization of proper nouns and adjectives
    3. using underlining, quoatation marks, and capitalization in titles
    4. using a semicolon or a comma/conjunction in compund sentences
    5. using commas in a series
    6. using commas in dates and places
    7. using commas and semicolons in a series
    8. punctuating sentences with interjections
    9. using hyphens to separate a word at the end of a line
    10. using quotation marks and punctuation in dialog

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Last updated January 18, 1997