Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Moved by Punctuation

Polly Base, Kelsey Willems | Published: February 26th, 2024 by K20 Center


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Moved by Punctuation

An ELA strategy that has students connect punctuation to different movements to aid in memory retention. This can be used for reviewing or exploring a new concept.

Moved by Punctuation


For this ELA strategy, make a list of punctuation you wish to review. Then, create a pre-made list of movements (or craft one from student input) that corresponds to the punctuation list. Next, have students practice recognizing and demonstrating the role of various punctuation within a text. The text can be crafted specifically with different examples of punctuation in mind or with something you are already reading in class. This can be used as a review of prior knowledge or as an exploration when introducing new concepts.


  1. This strategy has been inspired by the “Snap, Clap, Pop” strategy.

  2. Prepare a list of punctuation and movements (see the optional attached handout). For example, have students raise a fist for a period. Alternatively, you can create this list with your students in class. Consider posting the list permanently in your room for frequent reference. 

  3. Prepare a text. The text can be an excerpt from something you are already reading in class or a new text you find or create (see the Robo-Reads strategy for ideas). 

  4. Assign each student a different punctuation mark and action. Note: there may be duplicate pairings based on class size. 

  5. Read a text aloud and have students perform their action as the punctuation mark appears in the text. 

  6. Repeat steps 3-5, depending on how many different types of punctuation you want students to practice and for how long. 

  7. Facilitate a class discussion on what students learned about the role of punctuation in writing. 

  8. Encourage students to practice these movements during their personal reading time for retention.

Feldman, J. (2021, January 26). Active learning - punctuation with a punch!. Dr. Jean & Friends Blog.