I love to teach writing! The kids get so excited when they can sit in the author’s chair and share their work. You know what I don’t love? Teaching capital letters. It’s so frustrating! Teaching capitalization is probably the most uninteresting thing in a writing block. So let me show you how to make teaching capital letters interesting!
Teaching students to remember capital letters is like teaching my kids to take their socks upstairs after they’ve been sitting on the steps for an embarrassingly long time. It’s not that they don’t WANT to, they just overlook that job to get to where they’re going. This is the same thing with capitalization. They want to get going and tell ALL the things in their heads that they skip over the capitalization to get to their stories.
I’m not going to kid you, this takes FOREVER for them to remember to do. Our goal is for them to naturally use correct capitalization, like muscle memory. We shut the garage door without thinking about it, we want the same for capital letters.
Use An Anchor Chart To Teach Capital Letters
I’m a huge fan of anchor charts! Check these beauties out! I’ve separated them by capitalization rules so it’s not overwhelming.
Grab A Capital Letters Mentor Text
Make A Million Mistakes
Where are my Hamilton fans at? Don’t tell me you didn’t sing this line! Mistakes happen OFTEN in my classroom, and mainly by me. One of my favorite things to say when I mess up is “You guys! That’s the first mistake I made today!” I love teaching my students that making a mistake is sometimes the best thing they can do.
When modeling writing, as all of you probably know, you make mistakes on purpose. And in your most dramatic, Oscar-winning performance, you say, “Look at my sentence boys and girls! Just look at it! Isn’t it wonderful that I wrote this?” They’re clambering to tell you that you forgot to capitalize the first letter. I do this ALL the time. Your kiddos helping you correct your mistakes will show them that it’s okay to make mistakes, and how to go back to check if they used their caps.
Use Cool Blue Capital Letters
I have a set of blue Crayola markers that I bought, that I ONLY allow for this reason. That way they’re special!
I bust these babies out when I’m teaching capital letters. And in my best smooth-jazz voice I tell my kiddos how COOL it is to use capitalization. If they capitalize all their words correctly, they can trace over their capital letters with a blue marker.
After a while, I’ll put them away when the novelty wears off, but I’ll bring them back out with a cool-blue flourish if I notice that my students are forgetting their caps. Click on the image to see the markers on Amazon.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Now it’s time for them to practice. Repetition and reminders are the key. I know that we get SO busy and we can’t revisit skills we teach at the beginning of the year, so I use these worksheets and digital activities. I also do a lot of work with partner revision. Have the kiddos partner up and check each other’s work.
I’m not a big worksheet teacher, but in this case, these are great to help with capitalization, sentence structure and even handwriting! These can be used for whole group instruction or to place in your writing stations. Grab a set here!
I am, however, a HUGE fan of digital resources. Especially those that are engaging and fun! Here are some capital letter activities that are on both Google Slides (for your Google Classroom) and Seesaw.
Assign these to all your students for your whole class mini-lesson, or use them for writing stations.
The best part? Each activity has a VIDEO.
That’s right, a video mini-lesson to back up your amazing teaching. I’ve started to include these for my lessons, and it makes a huge difference with the quality of work that I see the students do. If you want to see how I do this, here’s the article!
Have fun teaching those cool capital letters!