Punctuation and the Mystery Play
Subject(s) & Grade Level: 2nd Grade Language Arts Teacher Name: Maggie Dodson
Length of Class Period: 60 minutes
Stage of writing process: Composing
Standards of Learning:
SOL #:
2.13- The student will edit writing for correct grammar, capitalization, punctuation,
and spelling,
b. - Use and punctuate declarative, interrogative, and exclamatory sentences.
2.1- The student will demonstrate an understanding of oral language structure
b.- Create and participate in oral dramatic activities
Applicable NCTE National Standard(s):
 Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions,
style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for
different purposes.
 Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a
variety of literacy communities.
 Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes
(e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).
General Objective(s):
Students will build on prior knowledge of sentence structure and use, adding variety to
knowledge of complete sentences and ending sentences with proper punctuation. Students
will use prior knowledge and newly learned punctuation techniques for the three sentence
types to compose a mystery play in groups and perform them for younger students.
***Before lesson: Teacher will arrange for student mysteries to be performed as reader’s
theatre for first grade and kindergarten classes of the school.
Specific Learning Objectives
The student will be able…
Instructional Procedures
The teacher will…
Intro and Questions (6 minutes)
1) Sit together, facing the teacher and board
3) Identify and share their knowledge of
4) Apply new knowledge by asking each other
5) Ask the teacher a question and recognize
why types of sentence other than questions are
Intro and Questions (6 minutes)
1) Start by asking the students questions, but in a
naturally flowing way. As if you would any other
conversation. However, ONLY use questions. For
“How has your day been? How was lunch?
Are you excited to be here? What do you think
we’re going to talk about today? “
3) Conversate with students for 2-3 minutes.
Then ask students if they notice anything different
about the way you are speaking today. A student
may have picked up on you only asking questions
and share. If not, simply guide them to the answer.
4) Once there, ask what kind of punctuation
would be used at the end of a question. Once
students arrive at a question mark, write one on
the board with the words “question” and
interrogative under it. While writing, have the
students ask each other questions.
5) Ask a student to ask you a question
(*optional: about something being studied in
another part of class). Answer the student with a
question, then explain why that was unhelpful. For
Teacher: Will one of you ask me a question about
Student: Do you need a period and a question
mark for the sentence?
Teacher: Did you only ask that because I told you
too? (Student may respond.) Did that answer his
question? No? Then there must be another kind of
sentence that sates something. What could that
Statements (5 minutes)
1) Students may have learned about statement
(declarative) sentences and may know the answer.
If not guide them to it as before.
Statements (5 minutes)
1) Identify and share any preexisting
knowledge of statements
2) Apply new knowledge by making statements
Exclamations (5 minutes)
1) Identify and share any preexisting
knowledge of exclamatory sentences
2) Apply new knowledge by exclaiming things
to each ohter.
2) Ask what king of punctuation would be used for
this kind of sentence. Once students arrive at
period, write one on the board with the words
“statement” and declarative written underneath.
Exclamations (5 minutes)
1) Ask students if statements would be
appropriate if they were really excited/happy or
even upset. Perhaps give a scenario, such as
getting a present or making a new friend. Ask
students if they were writing about this, would a
period be enough to express much they were
2) Once they arrive at no, introduce the
exclamation mark, and write it on the board with
the period and question mark, with exclamatory
under it.
3) Explain how using these different types of
sentences can improve writing and help guide the
reader to know what we mean, transition into
group activity.
*** Allow students to interact mainly while
writing on board for only a minute or two.
Main Lesson:
Activity Time Procedure (Remainder of class time)
Activity Time Procedure (Remainder of class time)
Desks should already be in groups of 3-5, with
students knowing where they are supposed to sit.
1) Explain the assignment to students if it has not
been done; if you choose to use a structured
handout, pass it out now.
Write a play using the three sentence types. There
should be one character for each student, but all
students should help writing the play in its
entirety, not just their own lines. (The play should
be around 10-15 lines.)
The catch: Characters can only use one type
of sentence. For instance, if the play had a mom,
dad and child, the mother could only ask
questions, the father only declare things, or make
statements, and the child could only use
exclamatory sentences. In groups with more than
three people, some students’ characters will have
the same sentence type.
Have each character has to speak at least twice
to be sure all sentence types are understood and
Each student should write a copy of the script
and once done, highlight their own lines for use
during performance. Only one script with all the
names on it needs to be turned in.
Students could be free to choose the genre of
the play, or it could be a required mystery, “The
Case of the Missing_______.”
Teachers could choose to have students write
the plays about another area of current study,
such as history.
2/3) Walk around, offering ideas and support and
keep students on task
2) Collaborate with group to brainstorm their
plays and use of punctuation. (10 minutes)
3) Compose a play using the punctuation learned.
(20-30 minutes)
4) Give students a notice that time is almost up
5) Have each group perform their play! *** (20
minutes give or take, depending on number of
*** If there is not time that day to perform plays,
going over lines can be part of homework and
plays can be performed the next day.
Compare punctuation, identifying the uses of
and differences between three sentences
Discuss sentence types and punctuation uses
with students
Perform their mystery plays!
Write a short prequel or sequel to your group’s play, using at least one example of each
type of sentence. This should be in the style of a story. For instance, if the play was the
case of the missing pie, a student may write a story about how delicious the pie was
after they found it and ate it, or about how the pie got lost in the first place.
Possibly go over lines of play, depending on performance date.
Accommodations/provisions for individual differences:
Can be made based on individual class dynamic and needs
Formative/summative evaluation:
Class time/ Play evaluation:
Students will be graded on the following:
 Were students able to use each sentence during mini-lesson student discussions?
 Did each character only use one type of sentence?
 Were the sentences punctuated properly on the script?
 Were they used effectively?
o Make sense
o Flow well within the play
Students will also receive a participation grade for cooperation during their performance
Homework Evaluation:
Students will be graded on the following:
 Was each sentence type used?
 Were they punctuated properly?
 Were they used effectively?
Self- and/or peer evaluation:
Students will complete a short group evaluation sheet rating group members on
how well they participated and if they contributed to the group’s work.
Products students will create: Mystery Plays
Texts students will read: n/a
TeacherWhite board or similar
Prepared short play example (See below)
Desks pre-arranged in groups of 3-5 (More is possible, but not ideal without
***Optional structured handout
Sources for ideas/materials in APA format: n/a
This lesson plan focuses on the composing aspect of the writing structure. Though students
may wish to spend some initial time brainstorming, composing will take the most time and
be the most crucial part of this activity. This lesson incorporates the theater day with
Rhonda Scarrow- students both write and perform plays. Proper punctuation of sentences
will follow students through life, and an early exposure to multiple kinds of writing and the
differences in formats (such as play writing ) is beneficial to students, giving them an
understanding of and a preparation for these formats in the future. Giving students the
choice of what to write their plays on gives a level of freedom and excitement for students.
Also, performing the plays for younger grades gives the students a real, authentic audience.
Short play example:
Sally: Is there going to be pie for dessert? (interrogative)
Grandma: It’s still baking. (declarative)
Sally: When will it be done? (interrogative)
Billy: Something smells like it’s burning! (exclamatory)
Sally: Is that the pie? (interrogative)
Grandma: It’s not supposed to be done until 6:00. (declarative)
Billy: It’s 6:30! We have it get it out of the oven! (exclamatory)
“The Case of the Missing
Character/Actor name
Character/Actor name