I am convinced there are two words teachers at the elementary level fear the most: fractions and punctuation (there may be others, but I feel strongly about these two). I can certainly have a series of posts on fractions alone, but this time I want to devote the next few paragraphs to punctuation – dialogue in specific.
Here is the thing, I am not just teaching my students to correctly punctuate dialogue in English (which at this point seems fairly easy when compared to Spanish), but also in another language…and the truth is…I find it a bit c o m p l i c a t e d. As I searched the internet for reliable resources on this topic, I found a few decent sites such as Alquimistadepalabras and Reglasescritura. I gathered great info and did more searching using literature to see how authors actually used dialogue.
After the searching part was done, I had to think about HOW I was going to present this to my students in a way that made sense. It was then that I remembered a book I used to use all the time for punctuation called Mechanically Inclined by Jeff Anderson. I was introduced to this book back when I was teaching in Florida. I thought if the strategies worked in the English-only classroom, then trying them in the dual-language classroom may work as well. I made a few tweaks and I am pleased with the giant-size poster I used to introduce dialogue this week.
A big chart showing examples of how dialogue in Spanish works (and natación is missing the accent)
Teaching dialogue is something takes time and plenty of practice, but I feel my class and I got to a great start. There are plenty of rules to remember! For example: when to use el guión largo at the end of a phrase and when NOT to use it, what type of punctuation to include, etc. Whether you teach in English or in other language, I highly recommend the book I mentioned above. There are other publications he has written, but I have not yet had the time to read or use them.