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5th Grade Comma Practice Made Fun and Interactive with Work Mats



We are entering the last quarter of the school year, and keeping students engaged means keeping lessons fresh. Therefore, this week our comma grammar practice involved Play-Doh. Yep, you read correctly. Fifth graders got to 'play' with Play-Doh.

I had previously introduced commas to them using "Fold and Go" Interactive Booklets, had them implement the skills in an Italian Restaurant classroom transformation, and now they reviewed these skills even further using work mats and Play-Doh in a scoot activity.

It was such a quick activity to set up, and the students were so engaged, that I knew I just had to share this lesson with you.

First, I printed out 4 work mats for each of the comma skills we have learned in class (excluding quotation marks which we will review again next week), and placed each work mat in a page protector. (I could have laminated them, but I just flipped over the page protectors that we use as 'white boards' and inserted the mats.) Each skill was assigned a different color so I could easily identify which skill each student was working on.



The skills included, commas:

  • to set off introductory words (printed on orange paper)
  • to set off introductory phrases (printed on light blue paper)
  • with appositives (printed on teal paper)
  • in a series (printed on lime green paper)
  • to set off nouns of direct address (printed on dark green paper)
  • to set off tag questions (printed on yellow paper)
  • with conjunctions (printed on pink paper)
Next, I set up one work mat at each desk along with the answer key and handed each of them a piece of Play-Doh. Because I used comma work mats that covered several skills, I had the students prepare a sheet of paper as shown below to record their answers.


They started off the activity with the card that was at their desk. They would make a comma (or as many as they needed for their particular mat) with the Play-Doh, place it on the work mat, and check the answer key.

Other alternatives to using dough:

  • dry erase markers
  • dry macaroni pasta
  • small paper clips




If they got the answer correct, they would place a check mark. If they got the answer incorrect, they would place an X. This would allow them to keep track of which comma skills they had mastered, and which comma skills they still needed to work on. After about 30-45 seconds, I called out, "Switch," and they would move on to the next card.

Once we completed the rotation, students analyzed their checkmarks and x's to see if their were any particular comma skills they need to continue to work on.  I then consulted with those students to review the concepts as the others continued with other assignments.  That's it!

If you haven't tried scoot activities in your class, I highly recommend that you do. The repetition of practicing the same skill over and over again while self-checking has proven time and time again in my classroom that it is a perfect way for students to master skills they may be deficient in.

You can check out the bundled resource I used for this activity at my Teachers Pay Teachers store by clicking HERE.

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