Gems for the Classroom #1 – Phonetic Punctuation

I am not sure of the provenance of this idea, my memory isn’t what it was. I discovered Victor Bourge via a dear  old friend, Tom Crewe, the most incredible man I have ever known.  @Deputymitchell reminded me of it with this entry on a Heathfield CPS  blog, Human Punctuation.

He introduced me to this fabulous raconteur , Victor Bourge, a very funny man and concert pianist.  Victor was responsible for some very funny sketches such as ‘inflationary language’ , ‘page turner’ and the masterpiece ‘phonetic punctuation’. Mind you the ‘William Tell Overture backwards’ is also amusing.

I first tried this with a year 3 class in 1999 as part of a real push on getting them to think about the impact of punctuation in sentences.  The basic premise is that the punctuation has a sound and can be celebrated in a sentence with both sound and mime.

NB Just because the children are making movements, DOES NOT make this kinaesthetic learning. The fact that there is an added context for the learning of fullstops makes it helpful to most learners, all of whom process in a Kinaesthetic mode.

I can clearly recall the smiles on the children’s faces and the increased engagement when we focussed on it.  I also recall the need for some very clear boundaries.  I cannot say for certain that it had any impact, those records won’t exist now and anyway at that point in my career I was focussed on it ‘going well’ rather than the impact of my teaching on learning.  I have since come to understand that children can have a really nice time and still learn nothing. Fun does not equal learning.

So I leave you with the film of Victor, make of it what you will and please share any stories of impact in your classroom.

4 thoughts on “Gems for the Classroom #1 – Phonetic Punctuation

  1. One of my father’s favourites & quite misunderstood by many!
    As for the punctuation – have you heard of the Kung Foo punctuation? Not sure where I first saw it but the children do kung foo moves for each of the aspects.

    • I have heard of it now – but I reckon I was using in class as the strategy began – so I predated it. I’m not sure kong fu actions are something I would have employed in my class.

  2. I love this idea! A lot of the year three class i am working with, on final placement, have problems with remembering their full stops. We do a lot of talk for writing which has really started to help them increase the creative content in their writing. By introducing the phonetic punctuation i think there is a chance i may see some more full stops, at least, in their work 😀
    I will give it a go and let you know how it goes 🙂

    • Glad you like, the outcomes would be fabulous – PLEASE try to evidence it….pics of work before and after – how can the improvement be quantified?

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