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Gretchen Bernabei shares this great strategy to help our students beef up their sentences. Do you read sentences like these from your students?
I went to the store.
My friend likes my shoes.
He walked home.
Those just don't cut it. Especially in 4th grade!
How about this version?
The young boy sauntered through the park on his way home, when suddenly he saw something glinting in the dry grass. He thought to himself, "Could it be?"
I wish I had some examples of my kids writing from last year. We did this and I couldn't believe the difference! You start with a blah sentence, think about where your feet where, what you saw, and what you were thinking. Kids can try to put it all in one sentence or write several. I don't want to constrict them, since it is all about making their writing more descriptive and full.
Now, how am I going to use the graphic above? It is a flip book for their journals. The yellow piece stays whole, but you cut the flaps apart, so you can lift them like tabs. We will write the blah sentence at the top of the page, then lift the tabs to write what each means underneath. That way they have a reminder of what each symbol means. We will then beef up our blah sentence!
This is something we are going to practice quite a bit at the beginning of the year. I have decided to go back to the basics and build our writing muscles slowly. So we will start with writing sound sentences. You would hope that 4th graders would start the year with sentences that started with capital letters and ended with punctuation, but that hasn't been my experience.
I am also going to share this with my kids. I found it on Pinterest!
It didn't link back to a website.
We will move on to paragraph writing by October. Stay tuned to see my strategy for teaching paragraphs.