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Archive for the ‘Capitalization’ Category

holi_phagwaThe majority of the students in my beginning writing class have a good grasp of capitalization and only have the occasional question. But a significant number (about a third) have little awareness of how capitalization is used in English. After years of teaching a student population for whom capitalization was almost never an issue, it took me a while to realize that for native speakers of certain languages even remembering to capitalize the first word of a new sentence can be a challenge. These students need to do a quick catch up in the first few weeks of the term, and this post is about one resource that I have made to help them with this.

I haven’t been able to find any software that is case sensitive, so in order to make a self accessible activity I needed to make something that had only one answer. I used the software SoftChalk to make 25 multiple choice questions. My inspiration was the children’s book Children Just Like Me: Celebrations! by Anabel and Barnabas Kindersley. This book has pictures and descriptions of festivals and holidays around the world. One characteristic that most language learners share is a beautiful curiosity about other cultures, and I felt that using this topic would be a good way to make something rather unexciting (capitalization) more interesting. I searched Wikimedia Commons (Photography) for photos that were free for public use and then I wrote sentences with capitalization mistakes. To complete the activity, the students need to count how many mistakes are in each sentence.

You may link to the activity Capitalization Practice and use it with your students if you would like. Because some of my students really need this practice, but some don’t, I simply assign it as homework. I have it on Blackboard and can track which students do the activity, but I don’t assess this activity. I have noticed, though,  that those who do it, perform better on the next quiz which, in part, requires students to use correct capitalization.

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