Today’s Topic: Writer’s Workshop Minilesson
So, what I have for you today is actually a few little minilessons to get your students on track to write better sentences! I’m making it a freebie for now, so grab it here!
Build a Better Sentence!
I’m going to let you take a look at the cards and then explain a few things.
Is it really that simple? Why, yes it is! I love this approach to building sentences because it provides students with a “formula” for a good sentence, instead of having them rely on their own judgement, which for some students is quite faulty.
First, I break down each “part” into a minilesson and have students practice writing parts to simple sentences. For example, today we might be practicing writing “how” parts. Here’s the card for how:
Just start with a subject and a verb, then add a how to the end. The sentence might be about the story we read that day, a photo I’ve projected, or I might even give them the subject and verb and have them add to it. That’s it! Simple and quick.
Walk the students through the remaining parts:
Once your students have mastered writing the different parts, they can easily choose any 2 (I like to stress that why and how are the “better” parts) and build their sentence. This really helps with variation in sentence structure. Now you’re really rocking Common Core Standard L.3!
Another thing I do with my students is structured writing using the above cards. Here’s an example assignment:
Today, we read “Just Once” by Thomas J. Dygard. You will write 3 sentences about the story. They can be about any part of the story, but they must be true and they must be sequential. Use the following sentence patterns:
1. when part, + subject + verb + why part
2. how part, + subject + verb + when part.
3. where part, + subject + verb + why part.
Here’s what a student’s paper might look like:
After the football game, Moose asked his coach if he could run with the ball because he wanted the fans to cheer for him. Disappointedly, Moose played full back during the next few football games. At the homecoming game, Coach told Moose to play running back so that he wouldn’t have to listen to the fans shout Moose’s name anymore.
One more thing you should stress with your students when using this method: Use only strong verbs, present or past tense. NO helping/linking verbs, NO ing verbs, and NO be verbs. So your verb part should never be “He is running” but instead “He runs” or “He ran.”
Stay tuned for much more on this topic! I’m working on a whole unit for building better sentences, but I hope you’re able to find some use from this freebie!
In addition to being a wonderful way to teach Common Core Standard L.3, it also addresses: