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Teaching Cooperation with Semicolons, Cupcakes, and Cucumbers

I'm always happy to link up with The Reading Crew to bring mentor texts and ideas of how to use them in your classroom!  Today I am sharing how I use this picture book - Semicolons, Cupcakes, and Cucumbers by Steve Newberry - to teach not only conventions, but cooperation too!

The Book

Semicolons, Cupcakes, and Cucumbers
Written and Illustrated by Steve Newberry

Grades  1 - 4
Age Range  5 - 10
Pages  48
Publisher  The Innovation Press
Copyright  2017

If I had to pick one word to describe this brand new picture book, that word would be FUN.  Semicolons, Cupcakes, and Cucumbers follows the witty conversations of several punctuation pals - Question Mark, Exclamation Point, Comma, and Period - as they quibble over what to do.  A new friend, Semicolon, comes on the scene and brings along some great ideas about how they can combine their strengths to come up with even better adventures!

At the start of each school year, nurturing relationships with my students and creating opportunities for my students to form trusting, purposeful relationships with one another is Priority One.  I sure didn't expect a book about punctuation to turn out to be a wonderful mentor text for discussing cooperation and other team-building skills... but this one is!

Enjoy this book trailer to get a sense of the tone!

The author includes several pages of "Learning Time" at the end of the book, detailing the job that each of these punctuation pals plays out in well-written prose.  

The Freebie

I plan on creating additional resources to go along with this soon, but in the meantime I am sharing a FREEBIE that is as simple as printing, laminating, and putting in a folder for your 2nd, 3rd, or 4th graders to use with a buddy in a literacy center.  Click here to download and use!

Students work in pairs to match punctuation - period, comma, exclamation point, question mark, and semicolon - with sentences that need them to be complete.  Once they've matched all of the cards, students record their corrected sentences on the included worksheet and check with the answer key (also included).  Easy peasy, but good practice!

Hurricane  Harvey

As most of us are starting the new school year with everything we need, there are many classrooms that have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey.  Teachers and students across America have wanted to help, and here are several links I've found that will take you to various efforts all designed to help students and teachers restore what they will need to rebuild their classroom communities:

Win A Bunch of Books!

We've put together copies of the books we're highlighting in this linky, and all of them will go to one lucky winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much for stopping by!  Be sure to visit the other Reading Crew members' posts for mentor texts, lessons, and freebies!


  1. What a precious book! Loved meeting you at the conference!

    1. I loved meeting you too! You're every bit as nice in real life as you are out here in the digital world! :o)

  2. You sold me! I just ordered this book. It looks adorable and I bet kids will looooove it. Thank you :)
    The Techie Teacher

    1. Hooray! I think our kids will enjoy the dry humor!