Semicolon Activities & Games

Instructor: Nora Jarvis

Nora has a Master's degree in teaching, and has taught a variety of elementary grades.

Teaching punctuation doesn't have to be boring. Use this lesson for ideas for activities and games your students can play to practice correct use of the semicolon.

Punctuation Can Be Fun

Unfortunately, teachers often resort to boring worksheets when it comes to teaching grammar and punctuation. But it doesn't have to be this way! Games and other activities are great ways to build engagement and excitement about a lesson on punctuation.

Keep in mind that games should be used as practice for students. Before you begin a game, make sure that you have taught the content first. Students should have knowledge of the subject and then be able to apply that knowledge in a game in order to practice. And remember to have fun while doing it!

Try these activities and games with your students to help them practice using semicolons.

Semicolon Games

Trick the Teacher

Materials: note cards, document projector

  • Challenge students to try and trick you by writing a sentence that uses semicolons either incorrectly or correctly. Give students a few minutes to write their sentence. Students write their sentence and then write either ''correct'' or ''incorrect'' on the back of the card.
  • Call volunteers to put their sentence under the document projector. Model your thinking process aloud as you determine whether the sentence is correct or incorrect. You might say, ''Well, this sentence has a conjunction right after the semicolon, so that seems incorrect to me.''
  • Have students vote on whether they think the sentence is correct or incorrect, and ask for reasoning.
  • Flip the card over to reveal the answer.
  • As students understand the concept more, encourage them to make their sentences more and more difficult for you to solve.

Two Truths and a Lie

  • Divide students into pairs.
  • Tell students that they're going to write three sentences: two that use a semicolon correctly and one that uses it incorrectly. They should try to trick their partner and make their sentences as difficult as possible!
  • Students switch their sentences and try to figure out which sentence uses the semicolon incorrectly.
  • Circulate while students work and ask for justifications about how they knew which sentence used the semicolon incorrectly.
  • If students use a semicolon incorrectly (when they thought they were using it correctly), use this as a learning experience to fine-tune their knowledge. Have them re-write their sentences to correct the problem.

Semicolon Activities

Comma, Semicolon, or Period?

Materials: copies of a scene from a play with two characters of your choosing, enough for each student

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