There are many different aspects of sentence writing that students in primary grades need to learn. It is important that a student knows the correct way to structure a sentence so that his writing makes sense. Developing sentence skills will also enable a student to make his writing clearer and more interesting. Teach students how to vary the sentences they write and make sure they know the correct terms for different parts of a sentence.
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Sentence of the Day
This is an activity that you can use to start the day to get students thinking and to help them improve their writing skills. Every morning, write a very simple sentence on the whiteboard. Divide students into groups. Try and have different students working together each day so they can learn different skills from each other. Ask students in their groups to discuss ways to improve the sentence to make it more interesting; perhaps they could add some adjectives or adverbs. Have students present their ideas to the rest of the class. You can write the most interesting sentences on the whiteboard.
Use sentence pyramids to teach students about sentence structure and to demonstrate how to improve a sentence. Write a short sentence at the top of the whiteboard. The length and complexity of this sentence will vary according to the age and ability of your students. Tell the class the proper terms for each part of the sentence. Ask them to suggest a word that could be added to the sentence. Re-write the new sentence underneath the first sentence. Tell the class the correct term for the new word. Add a further word to the new sentence and write this sentence underneath. Continue adding words to form a pyramid shape, asking students to identify the types of new words that have been added.
Make a Sentence
Spend several sessions compiling lists of different word types with your class. In one session, share a story and talk about the verbs used in that story, making a list of these verbs. In the next session, do the same with adjectives, then another session for adverbs, another for nouns and so on. Keep your lists. In a future session, divide your class into groups and give each group one of the word lists. Have them work together to choose the most interesting words on the list and then have them copy these words onto cards. Collect the cards. Rearrange students into different groups. Give each group two cards from each of the word groups, which they will use to make sentences. Explain that they may have to add some words such as "a" or "is" so that the sentence makes sense. Share each group's sentences with the rest of the class.
Teach students how to write more interesting sentences by having them think about the way in which they begin their sentences. Show your class that there are many different ways they can write a sentence. Read some examples from stories and write them on the whiteboard. Show examples of sentences beginning with a word ending in "ed" or "ing", or beginning with an adverb, simile or with speech. Model writing these sentences on the whiteboard with suggestions from students. Then have students look at some of their past writing and choose two or three sentences they could rewrite, using a more interesting way to begin.
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