Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Use Your Noodle

Avoiding Comma Blunders

Margaret Salesky, Brandy Hackett, Lindsey Link | Published: November 18th, 2022 by K20 Center


Students will model their writing using mentor sentences and use the mentor sentences to understand how and why authors use commas to make their sentences clear and grammatically correct.

Essential Question(s)

How does sentence structure and punctuation impact an author's words?



Students view and discuss grammar memes.


Students examine sentences with missing commas and insert commas where they belong.


Students examine mentor texts and compose their own writing.


Students use the Shopping List Edit to examine their original composition.


Students share writing with a partner and provide feedback using Two Stars and a Wish strategy.


  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • Macaroni Noodle Comma Sentences (attached; optional; one per student)

  • Macaroni Noodle Comma Sentences Jamboard (attached; optional; one per student)

  • Shopping List Editing (attached; one per student)

  • Computer or personal device

  • Wifi or internet capabilities

  • Paper

  • Pencil or pen

  • Macaroni noodles (optional)


Use the attached Lesson Slides to guide the instruction. Begin the lesson by displaying slides 3-4 to present the essential question and the learning objective.

Display Grammar Memes on slides 5-9. Make sure students know that these images are meant to be funny.

After each image, ask students to turn and talk with an Elbow Partner. Ask these starter questions to get them started in a conversation about grammar and meaning:

  • Why are these images funny?

  • What makes them funny?

  • What are they saying about grammar/punctuation?

Display slide 10. Ask what common theme they notice among these images.


Display slide 11. Instruct students to use the macaroni noodles as commas.


Show slide 12. Share the mentor text with students.  Ask them to read the text.

Display slide 13. Ask students to use the strategy, I Notice, I Wonder, to share out their observations of the mentor text.  You may choose to track this on the board or chart paper. Alternatively, you may choose to have students share out digitally using Jamboard.

Display slide 14. Instruct students to write a paragraph-length text.  (An average paragraph is approximately 150-words long.) Inform them that they will have 10 minutes to write. Encourage students to use a variety of sentence types.

Display slide 15. Share the mentor text with students. Bring their attention to the highlighted commas used in the text. Ask them to share what they notice about how commas are used in the paragraph.

Share with students that authors use commas in a variety of different ways, but those covered in this lesson are just a few specific ways that the author chose to use commas in our mentor sentence and why he chose to do so.


Display slide 30 and pass out the attached handout, Shopping List Editing. Direct students’ attention to the Shopping List column of the page. Instruct students to complete the Shopping List Editing for the items/substitutions in their own writing and identify their existing commas or add the missing types.

Display slide 31. Ask students to explain what they did in the items/substitutions column of their shopping list.


Display slide 32. Ask students to share their revised writing with a partner and participate in the strategy Two Stars and a Wish. Their two stars should include what they did well and the wish should include what they could do to improve in their next writing task.

Display slide 33. Give students enough time to reflect on their partner’s feedback. Ask them to complete the reflection at the bottom of their Shopping List Editing handout on their own writing and experience.