Educational Songs with Free Worksheets

Dots and Dashes (Punctuation)

An engaging rap song for teaching students how to use punctuation properly. Includes fun worksheets and multiple versions of the song to assist with scaffolding.

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This punctuation song teaches English grammar and punctuation rules. The song helps students learn basic punctuation including the period, comma, semi-colon, question mark, colon, and exclamation point, and how to use them. The additional materials including online resources, lesson plans and worksheets assist writing instructors, teachers, students and parents in further learning and offer ideas for teaching. Using this song and the additional resources, students will master basic punctuation.

The song is suitable for elementary school, middle school, and high school students.
What’s the deal with these dots and dashes?
Well, let’s slow it down like cold molasses.
You’ve got colons, parentheses, commas, apostrophes;
punctuation, it can help you a lot, you see?

Verse I
Whether you’re writing for school or just to correspond
you need punctuation, or else your sentence goes on, and on,
and on, and on, and on, and never stops…
so we can help you use punctuation in the right spots.

A period occurs at the end of a sentence,
and if you’re using initials, periods must be present.
For instance: “I went to the store.”
“I bought some milk, some O. J., and nothing more.”

A question mark goes right after—guess what—a question.
“Do you know what that means?” (Yeah, that’s the lesson.)
An exclamation point shows surprise, pain, or anger:
“Ow! I just pinched my finger!”

An apostrophe replaces the letters that get denied
in a contraction, that’s when you get two words combined.
Apostrophes also show possession: “That isn’t Mary’s pen.”
There are two apostrophes in that expression.


Verse II
Think of a comma like you think of a pause,
when a conjunction connects an independent clause.
A comma’s like a breath expressed in written form:
“I like the sound of thunder, so I love thunderstorms.”

Let’s say you got a list, maybe 3 or more things.
You better use that comma and place it in between, like:
“My favorite colors are red, green, and blue.”
You know there’s gonna be drama if that comma is never used.

Use a comma in a sentence with a contrasting phrase:
“I’m awake, I’m just a little bit dazed.”
You can also use a comma to set off some dialogue, like,
“The princess said, ‘I liked you better as a frog!’”


Verse III
If you’ve got conjunctive adverbs, like “therefore” or “however,”
or you’ve got two separate sentences you want to join together,
a semi-colon’s gonna become your mediator:
“I gotta get home; I’ll see you later.”

A colon is used in a few situations:
before a list, an example, or sometimes a quotation.
And speaking of quotations, don’t forget quotation marks,
and add a capital letter for any word at the start.


Grammar and Writing
Punctuation Marks
This site gives a thorough look at punctuation, separated into sections for each punctuation mark. Lots of information and extensive examples. Good for all ages.
Grades 3-12

National Punctuation Day
National Punctuation Day
This clever and fun site celebrates punctuation, and provides resources for better understanding its usage. Particularly good for younger students.
Grades 2-6

Lesson Plans & Activities

Education World
Be the Editor!
This exercise asks students to edit pre-made writing using sentences relating to famous African-Americans. The mistakes often have to do with punctuation.
Grades 3-5, 6-8

International Reading Association
Every Punctuation Mark Matters: A Mini-Lesson on Semicolons
By using Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” students get an in-depth look at the semicolon. Note that while this lesson refers to the “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” any text which features rhetorically significant
use of semicolons can be effective for this mini-lesson. Grades 6-10

New York Times Learning Network
Pause for Punctuation
In this lesson, students play with several methods to help them identify, use, and correct the improper use of punctuation.
Grades 6-12

New York Times Learning Network
Punctuate This! (teacher instructions) (PDF)
Punctuate This! (student worksheet) (PDF)
This is an editing activity that focuses on punctuation.
Grades 6-12

Capitalization and Punctuation
This teacher chat board has a variety of creative ideas for classroom activities involving proper punctuation. There are many clever and useful activities for young students on this site. A real gem!
Grades 1-6

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