Punctuation in a Series


With our Punctuation in a Series lesson plan, students learn about proper punctuation placement in sentences which contain a series of items.

Included with this lesson are some adjustments or additions that you can make if you’d like, found in the “Options for Lesson” section of the Classroom Procedure page. One of the optional additions to this lesson is to hold a “Comma Bee” where you read sentences with items in a series aloud and have students correctly identify comma placement.

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What our Punctuation in a Series lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Punctuation in a Series teaches students how to properly use punctuation when listing a series of items in their writing. At the end of the lesson, students will be able to use punctuation to separate items in a series. This lesson is for students in 5th grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the green box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. The only supplies you will need for this lesson are the handouts. To prepare for this lesson ahead of time, you can copy the handouts.

Options for Lesson

Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that lists a number of suggestions for activities to add to the lesson or substitutions for the ones already in the lesson. An optional addition to the lesson activity is to include more words, phrases, and clauses. You can hold a “Comma Bee” where you read sentences with items in a series aloud and have students correctly identify comma placement. If you’d like to incorporate students’ current reading material, you can do so by have students combine sentences using items in a series. Finally, you could have your students create sentences with a series of items without commas, and then exchange those sentences with another student for correction.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page includes a paragraph with additional guidelines and things to think about as you begin to plan your lesson. This page also includes lines that you can use to add your own notes as you’re preparing for this lesson.


Commas with a Series of Items

The Punctuation in a Series lesson plan includes two content pages. The lesson begins by reminding students that they’ve probably seen commas used in a variety of contexts. One of the ways we can use commas is to list a series of items. We use commas to separate three or more words, phrases, or clauses. The lesson then includes an example where you might list multiple things you did in a single day. The lesson also includes several other examples.

We use commas after all of the items in the series except for the last item (unless the sentence continues with a conjunction). Items in a series might include more than one word. These are phrases or clauses. Another thing to note is that you should maintain parallel structure when writing a series of words, phrases, or clauses. This means that each item in the series must match in structure. For example, if the first item is a noun, all of the items must be nouns. If the first item is a subordinate clause, all of the items much be subordinate clauses. You must use the same grammatical units. If any of the items in your list contain commas, you should use semicolons to separate the items.

Using Commas and Semicolons in a Series

When the items in a series already contain commas, you will separate the items using semicolons. The lesson provides both correct and incorrect examples to illustrate this rule. This rule makes reading lists much easier and less confusing. Using semicolons where appropriate will help readers understand the sentence.


The Punctuation in a Series lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.


Students will work with a partner to complete the activity worksheet. They will work together to use the provided words, phrases, and clauses to write ten sentences. Each word, phrase, or clause can be used more than once, but all of them have to be used at least once.

Students can work either alone or in larger groups for this activity if you’d prefer.


For the practice worksheet, students will read sentences and insert commas and/or semicolons where needed.


The homework assignment asks students to complete two short exercises. For the first, they will correctly rewrite sentences while maintaining parallel structure. For the second, they will follow the instructions to write their own original sentences.

Worksheet Answer Keys

This lesson plan includes answer keys for the practice worksheet and the homework assignment. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


5th 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.