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Lesson Plan

And I Quote: A Punctuation Proofreading Minilesson

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And I Quote: A Punctuation Proofreading Minilesson

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Minilesson
Estimated Time One 50-minute session
Lesson Author

Traci Gardner

Traci Gardner

Blacksburg, Virginia


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



This lesson plan reviews the basic conventions for using quotations from works of literature or references from a research project, focusing on accurate punctuation and page layout. Students first discuss general proofreading strategies and the importance of checking quotations in their written work. They examine several passages and draw conclusions about the use of punctuation marks, including when various types of punctuation (comma, period, semicolons, colons, question marks, and exclamation points) go inside or outside quotation marks or after parenthetical citations. Students mark all the ending quotation marks on example passages and then check for correct punctuation, identifying which rules were used. Students are then asked to use this proofreading strategy on their own papers.

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Proofreading: This Website provides basic strategies students can use when proofreading their written work.

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Constance Weaver argues in Grammar for Teachers (1979), "There seems to be little value in marking students' papers with ‘corrections,' little value in teaching the conventions of mechanics apart from actual writing, and even less value in teaching grammar in order to instill these conventions" (64). Instead, learning about grammar, conventions, and text structures is most effective when  student writers "learn through language." Contextualized in the students' own writing and their need to communicate with their readers, self-editing activities such as the strategy taught in this mini-lesson allow students not only to learn through language but to learn through their own language.

Further Reading

Weaver, Constance. 1979. Grammar for Teachers: Perspectives and Definitions. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

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