My focus for this week is going to be punctuation, so expect lots some ideas, videos and resources based around this topic! Here we go…

Have you ever noticed the sense of pride some students get when they correctly use a colon or semi colon in their writing?

I sometimes find that some students fear them so I make a point of teaching them explicitly at the start of a lesson (and then revisiting them a couple of weeks later for revision) then help students to build up their confidence in using them in their writing. Here are three ideas to tackle the initial teaching / revision of colons:

  1. Give students the start of a sentence (or, even better, ask them to write their own) to which they must add a colon then a further explanation. If they have written their own get them to swap with another member of the class.

Here are some examples I have successfully used in the past:

  • It was a dramatic lesson:
  • I have several hopes for the future:
  • I have several subjects which I enjoy studying:


  1. Model and personalise the listing colon for the class. For example, you could start the lesson with:


  • The following students are incredibly excited to learn how to use a colon correctly:
  • The following students will be really happy with the improvement in their writing when know they can use a colon correctly:

Disclaimer – you’ll need to have quite a good rapport with your class to get away with these!


  1. You could ask the students to write down their favourite quotation from a movie. They could then swap with a partner who has to try to add the character (with a colon of course) before the quotation. Alternatively, you could also ask students to write the character, colon and quotation then other members of the group have to try to match the quotation to the student who wrote it.


  1. I’m a big fan of table mats and I’ve had positive feedback about them form a vast majority of students I have taught. As an activity you could as the students to create their own mats for colon use. Short of time? I’ve added one to my free resources which you can find here.


I’ve also created a short video and quiz based on colons which can be found in my starter video section. I hope you find it useful!

Quick ideas for teaching colons

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