English - Punctuation with a kick

25th November 2011 at 00:00

What's it about?

For English lessons that pack a punch, try kung fu punctuation, writes Steve Eddison. Stretching out my arms and raising a knee, I assume the stance of a predatory flamingo.

With an oriental accent, I say: "Capital T. The fierce dragon . Aaii yah!" and aim a curved karate chop through the air. "Comma! Dressed in his scaly armour . Aaii yah!" I aim another viciously-curved chop.

"Comma! Breathes his fiery breath upon the people . Aaii huh!" - a punch to an imaginary midriff. "Full stop." Each seven-year-old ninja in front of me mimics my every action and word.

"Who wants to lead us in punctuating the next sentence?" I ask. This is an easy way to get children - especially those unaware of the consequences of one misplaced comma in a description of the eating habits of a giant panda - to understand and use punctuation.

The marks and squiggles become instantly child-friendly if you link each punctuation symbol to a karate-style move. For example, my class uses the predatory flamingo to indicate a capital letter and the furious dragon (a low punch) for a full stop.

Giving each move a kung fu-style name makes it fun. Getting pupils to use the right punctuation in the right place is the challenge. So explain that, in Chinese, kung fu refers to any skill learnt through hard work. Once the basics are mastered, write an unmarked sentence on the board and . Aaii yah! Start punctuating.

Where to go

Try kung fu punctuation with worktop04's PowerPoint in TES Resources. And a resource on writing from Caroline.a.moore.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now