Commas, Colons, and Semicolons

Commas, Colons, and Semicolons explains some of the rules for how to use each of these punctuation marks. Students will learn to identify which punctuation mark is missing based on the structure of a sentence.

The “Options for Lesson” section on the classroom procedure page outlines a suggestion that you may want to incorporate into the lesson. Because this topic can be rather dull, you could have students play interactive games. There are three web pages listed that help students learn how to use commas, colons, and semicolons. And they will have a good time while learning! You can explore these sites for additional games for other lessons as well.

What our Commas, Colons, and Semicolons lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Commas, Colons, and Semicolons teaches students the rules for using each of these punctuation marks. Students will discover how they differ and when and where to use each one. They will especially learn when to use colons and semicolons.

This lesson contains three content pages. The first present six different rules about comma usage. Students will learn to separate independent clauses with commas. They will then learn to put a comma after an introductory clause. Another rule is to use commas to separate words in a series. They will also learn how to use commas with dates and quotations.

The lesson then describes three rules for using a colon. The most common and first rule students will learn is to use a colon in lists. Then students will discover three rules for using semicolons. One rule is to use a semicolon to connect independent clauses with a transition.


For the activity worksheet, you will need to provide all the students with three large cards. Students will draw a large comma on one, a large colon on another, and a large semicolon on the last. Display on the board all 20 sentences that are on the worksheet. As you go through the sentences, students will raise the cards that indicates which punctuation mark they believe is missing in the sentence. They will have to describe both where it should go and why it is the correct mark.


The practice worksheet lists 10 sentences. Students must read the sentences and add a comma where it is necessary. On the line below each sentence, they must explain why they put the comma in that location.


Similar to the practice worksheet, the homework assignment lists 10 sentences. Students will read through the sentences and figure out where to put either a colon or a semicolon. They will write why the put the punctuation mark where they did on the line below each sentence.

Additional information


5th Grade, 6th Grade


Language Arts

State Educational Standards


Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.