Review by Patricia Monticello Kievlan, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2014
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Punctuation - End Marks

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Clever quizzes, charming characters explore rules for ending sentences

Subjects & skills
Skills
N/A

Subjects
  • English Language Arts
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
3-5
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (1 Review)

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Pros: Great story, detailed lessons, and tough quizzes make for a great cross-training in grammar.

Cons: Lessons on abbreviations and capitalization are equally important but less clearly integrated into the app's central story.

Bottom Line: A thoughtfully designed, consistently engrossing tool for learning key grammar points.

Have kids explore each department and learn about the different end marks solo or in small groups. Have kids play through all of the quizzes for each end mark, from easy to hard. Ask kids to name abbreviations they already know that they use in their own lives, like the name of their state, their street address, and abbreviations for addressing adults in their lives. Have kids create their own example sentences and quiz their classmates on which end mark would be most appropriate.

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Grammaropolis - End Marks is a tool for teaching elementary school students about the marks that end sentences. Like the Grammaropolis website by the same developers, this app features residents of the town of Grammaropolis, all of whom embody different features and rules of English grammar. At the start of End Marks, kids meet the Mayor of Grammaropolis in the Lineup Room at Punctuation Academy, and they're quickly introduced to the three members of the Punctuation Department who keep the town in order: Period, Question Mark, and Exclamation Mark, each dressed as a police officer. Students then visit each officer's department to learn more about that particular symbol and how it works. Each lesson features a narrative introduction, audio clips that show how end marks alter how a sentence sounds ("Sally left the house this morning." versus "Sally left the house this morning?"), and increasingly tough quizzes. 

Kids can play through two easy quizzes from each department to reach the end of the game, and can then elect to try medium and hard quizzes to further test their skills. From the main hall of the punctuation department, kids can also visit lessons and quizzes on abbreviations and capitalization. 

 

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The central metaphor here is terrific: The period, question mark, and exclamation mark enforce the "law" in sentences, giving them purpose and direction. The cartoon figures and corresponding examples are charming enough to reel kids in and memorable enough to plant solid roots for an important grammatical concept. The playful tone, encouraging feedback, and challenging assessments make this a powerful tool for learning and review.

The only area for improvement might be the organization of the quizzes and lessons. It's clear that kids should progress from the lineup room to each officer's departments, but it's less obvious that there are additional quizzes and lessons to be had by tapping the policeman's hat (to learn about capitalization) and a book (to explore abbreviations) in the foreground on that screen. Capitalization and abbreviations are both key concepts related to end marks, so making a clearer narrative connection between these lessons and the lineup room could help. It's also possible for kids to blast through just two easy quizzes for each end mark; teachers and parents should be sure to encourage kids to challenge themselves with the tougher quizzes whenever possible. 

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Charming characters and a compelling story help kids learn a powerful metaphor about end marks' function in a sentence.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Excellent lessons deliver thoughtful examples without getting too serious. Just-right quizzes increase in difficulty and present meaningful challenges.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Detailed walk-through and ongoing encouragement make for a supportive, easy-to-play experience. 


Common Sense Reviewer
Patricia Monticello Kievlan Foundation/nonprofit member

Teacher Reviews

(See all 1 reviews) (1 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Jessica L. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
An Engaging Way to Practice End Punctuation for Students Who Can't Seem To It Get It

I think that this can be a great resource to teach and/or reinforce end punctuation, which is most often taught out of context. The app allows for students to see the punctuation in context as well as get instant feedback on where to put the puncutation. I like that the medium and hard levels have the students fix more than one problem (capitalization and periods or periods and question marks). Basic end punctation is a first grade standard and so the grades 3-5 recommendation for this app seems a bit off. Most 3rd through 5th graders should be using end puncutation correctly. If they aren't, then this app would be useful. The issue for younger students is that they need to be able to read fairly well to use the app (or be able to guess unknown words. They probably can identify where to put punctuation without knowing how to read the entire sentence). This would also be an issue for English Language learners or students struggling with reading. While the directions are read aloud (with the text accompanying it), the examples aren't (since the inflection would give students a clue where to put the punctuation.) Thus, I will have to be strategic about which students use the app and which don't.

The first set of quizzes (the ones right after the examples) are fairly simple. There are additonal quizzes but you need to search them out. I would want to make sure that my students completed all the three levels.

You can erase the quiz results which allows multiple students to use the app (though the students need to keep track elsewhere of how far they get). In addition, my students enjoyed playing it the first time but weren't interested in playing again (since it was the same information/examples). Still, the app does a nice job of taking something that is often seen as boring (learning and applying end punctuation) and making it fun.

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