It’s Writing Wednesday! And today’s topic is one that every teacher struggles with at some point or another. And it doesn’t matter what time of year it is, getting some of our writers to write complete sentences can be quite the challenge!
I have some tips and resources to help you meet that challenge.
Explicitly teach the parts of a sentence to write in complete sentences.
If your students (or even a small group) are struggling to write in complete sentences, then you most likely want to review the basics. Teach them to always look for a subject and a predicate. You can also teach this as topic + point. Or naming part + action part. Once the basics are established, you can move on to a wider variety of sentence structures.
Use anchor charts.
Give students a reference to use such as anchor charts. I like to use notebook anchor charts so that students can have their own tool. And I’ve got a free notebook chart for you below.
Practice, practice, practice!
You can have students practice in their writing notebooks as they are working in a unit. But you might also want your students to have explicit practice. Maybe you even have parents asking how they can provide support at home (woohoo!). I created two simple, but engaging resources to help with this.
Write a Complete Sentence Task Cards:
These task cards provide focused practice in a short amount of time to construct complete sentences. Each task card has a picture with labels. Students use the picture to write a complete sentence that describes the picture. This simple activity gives them an opportunity to practice writing complete sentences without worrying about a longer piece of writing.
Write a Complete Sentence Digital Activity:
This digital activity is a similar idea, but is digital ONLY (Google Slides + Forms) and uses a gif (animated moving image) in which the images show an activity. Students write a sentence to go with the gif.
Explicitly include this step in the editing process for complete sentences.
Teaching students how to apply this to their own writing is where the magic happens. Whenever you come to the end of a writing project or even shorter responses to reading, dedicate time to edit the writing. Model how you proofread your own writing. Use a piece of writing that has some intentional mistakes that your students are making – such as incomplete sentences. It can simply be a short paragraph. Then have students do the same with their writing.
Reteach complete sentences as needed.
The best way to support your students in a skill is to catch them in the moment. During writing conferences, you can use this as a teaching point or pull a small group of students with this issue. When it comes to grammar in writing workshop, always remember to tell your students that it is okay to make mistakes in our writing. All writers make mistakes. This is why we have a special part in our writing process dedicated to editing our work. We don’t want our students to lose motivation when it comes to writing because they’re afraid to make mistakes in terms of grammar. It’s all a fine balance!
I hope these tips are helpful for you if you have students that struggle in writing complete sentences. Here are the quick links for the resources mentioned in this article.
️ Quick Links ️
Write a Sentence Notebook Chart Freebie
- Write a Sentence Task Cards
- Writing Complete Sentences Digital Activity (Gifs)
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