Sunday, April 24, 2016

sentence of the week

Hi all! I've been busy this month working on grammar stuff. After seeing my cousin Mike at Easter (he's a High School English Teacher) and talking to him about the papers he was grading (we're always grading, aren't we?) we got to talking about Kelly Gallagher's Sentence of the Week, which may or may not be like the Mentor Sentences I've seen around the teaching blogosphere. Since then, I've been busy trying this out with our third graders, and it's been awesome!

Sentence of the Week is a strategy used for the purpose of having students construct knowledge about grammar and mechanics. The principle behind this is that we want to show students correct sentences (rather than incorrect sentences that you might find with Daily Oral Language (DOL) activities). Don't use those crazy, error-ridden sentences with your kiddos!

If you teach with a Writing Workshop model, you might be wondering how to make Grammar a more consistent part of your writing instruction - and this is perfect for that. Sentence of the Week is a 5-10 minute bit of instruction that happens daily, whether you are in the editing phase of the writing process or not.

Sentence of the week works on a five day cycle - you will stick to the same grammar pattern for five days. Following this, you can find a brief explanation of the first two days of the cycle...I'll be back later this week with the rest.

Day 1: Notice
Begin with three sentences that use the pattern you hope to teach. In this case, we were working on Possessive Nouns, so we wrote three pairs of sentences:

My mom has a dog.
My mom's dog is a Pug.

Miss Amenta has a pineapple hat.
Miss Amenta's pineapple hat makes her happy.

Damian has a fake mustache.
Damian's mustache looks real.

We began with the blue, pink, and red sentences. We wrote them about our kids and this particular class so they were more meaningful. First thing I did was read them to the students. Then, we asked students to turn and talk about what they notice. After, students shared out and we charted what they said:

I notice...
the pairs are alike - they are about the same topic
Should there be more commas?
It says what they have

As you can see, students were able to compare and contrast the sentences (one of Marzano's high yield strategies!) to construct meaning - they found the pattern (apostrophe and possession) and even though they could not name it academically, they were most certainly able to find it!

This little bit concluded day one.

Day 2: Imitate
We continued by sharing the academic vocabulary & meaning for what we were working on and three more examples:

You can find the teacher work in black ink. Then, the sentence in blue is the demonstration I did with our classroom teacher to model for the students how to imitate sentences, which is the next step they will complete. You can find teacher think aloud coded {like this.}

I said, "If I wanted to write a sentence with a Possessive Noun, I would first ask myself, 'Who is this sentence about?' Miss, Kriegl, who should we write a sentence about?"

She replied, "Mrs. Maldonado."

Then I asked her, "What does she own or have?"

She said, "A school."

I demonstrated, "Okay, then, Mrs. Maldonado {students, I'm starting my sentence with my person} 's {remember, I have to put the apostrophe s} So, Mrs. Maldonado's school {and then I just finish the sentence} is the best. Let's read it together."

All, "Mrs. Maldonado's school is the best."

Then I directed students, "With your partner, please imitate me, write a Possessive noun sentence. When you finish, hold your index card up, and I'll take it from you, and you can do another."

In pairs, students went on their way writing sentences. I collected them, and then added them to our list. You can find the student sentences in the picture above in pink. We continued to look for the pattern, and were also able to clarify a misconception, where a pair of kiddos wrote, "Ms. Kriegl owns Zach." (Side note: Zach is her fiancé!) We just reminded them of the pattern and then revised the sentence to make it correct.

All of that in just 15 minutes. Great conversation, great learning, awesome way to find trouble spots where students have misconceptions about the lesson at hand.

Because I don't want this post to get so long you don't read it, I'll be back later this week with another post to finish up the five day cycle of Sentence of the Week.

Has anyone used this as a grammar strategy? Please share your thoughts in the comments below! And be sure to check out the grammar presentation my colleagues Jennie, Amanda, and I put on last week in our district!


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