Stage 1: Desired Results

Established Goals:
  • NCTE 4: Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g. conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and different purposes.
  • GA ELA9C1: The student demonstrates understanding and control of the rules of the English language, realizing that usage involves the appropriate application of conventions and grammar in both written and spoken formats.
  • Commas enable writers to clarify their meaning.
  • Using commas incorrectly can make our writing unclear.
Essential Questions:
  • How can using commas clarify our writing?
  • Why should we learn how to use commas correctly?
Students will know...
  • How to correctly use commas.
  • That comma misuse can change the meaning of their writing.
  • That comma misuse can make their writing unclear.
Students will be able to...
  • Use commas correctly.

Stage 2: Assessment Evidence

Performance Tasks:
You have been employed by Rogers Communications, Inc. to write a manual about comma usage for their employees after a comma mistake cost the company $2.13 million (Canadian). Employees will need a manual that is user-friendly, helpful, concise, but also thoroughly discusses the rules for commas.
Other Evidence:
  • Class discussions
  • Comma exercises in textbook
  • Quiz
  • Test (part of a larger unit on mechanics and a final exam)
  • Effective continued application of comma rules in remaining assignments.

Stage 3: Learning Plan

Learning Activities:
  • Read and discuss "Comma quirk irks Rogers." W, H
  • Class activity sentences without commas and with misplaced commas on board. W, E
  • Class induction of comma rules based on examples. E
  • Cooperative groups consult comma rules in text to verify inducted rules. R, E2
  • Comma exercises in textbook E, R, E2
  • Quiz over comma usage. E, R, E2
  • Read and reflect upon Pico Iyer's "In Praise of the Humble Comma" E, R, E2
  • Comma usage manual for Rogers Communications, Inc.
  • Students will apply what they have learned about commas to their remaining assignments. Should students make comma errors, they will lose points, per department policy, and have the opportunity to earn the points back if they explain why they lost the points and correct the error. E, R, E2
  • Students will be tested more comprehensively over mechanics on a larger "unit" test and again on the final. E, R, E2