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sandyilee's Message:

My 3rd grade students often write in run-on sentences. How can I help them?

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
Homeschl Mom 01-27-2006 08:03 PM

Miller, how did I do that? Well, I guess I often think like that (good thing that they didn't slap on the ADHD label too readily in the 70s because I deserved it) and I sometimes talk like that. Anyway, it DID get your attention? Maybe it will get the students' attention too? When they see the absurdity of such a long sentence, maybe they can recognize a little of their own writing habits!

I guess the best thing to do with run-ons is try to explain the subject/predicate thing and mention that one is all you need for a sentence and two is stretching it.

There's a Grammar Rock song (hey, it's in my head right now) about "Mr. Morton" that explains "Mr. Morton is the subject of the sentence and what the predicate says he does." If you can get your hands on that, it's a good reminder of what constitutes a complete simple sentence.


maryteach 01-23-2006 06:51 AM

Man, this is still a huge problem in sixth grade. That's because most kids (and adults) don't really know what constitutes a complete sentence. A complete sentence must have a subject (even if it's only implied) and a predicate. Let kids be little human sentence fragments, holding the fragments you've written on sentence strips. Make a subject group and a predicate group. Physically combine kids into funny sentences. Discuss how Jenny is incomplete all by herself (her fragment could be "by the drinking fountain." How is Jacob, Brittany, and David all standing there together making a run-on? Who's the extra subject? What do we have to do with them? Then take it to the overhead and divide sentences on there into subject and predicate. Put some fragments up and ask what they need to complete them. Put up some run-ons. Let them divide those.

Good luck. Sentence fluency is hard to teach. A person has to almost intuitively grasp it.

Miller 01-19-2006 09:08 PM

homeschool mom, your post drove me nuts I kept speeding through it like when I try to show my kids that you can't stop unless there is a period. How did you write that without punctuation?

kali 01-18-2006 02:57 PM

use the overhead to model.....use your own writing, and even better, ask some of your students if they would mind if you shared their run on sentences to the group as a mini lesson........explain to them this is something the whole class is working on! If not, use made up ones. MODEL MODEL MODEL-cut up on overhead and as a class FIX it!
Another fun things to do is cut up the sentences and have kids in small groups rebuild the sentence, allowing them to break it up and add words and punctuation, they then can share with the class in their group.
one more thing comes to mind, introducing and practicing transistion words.
As always, seek great examples from quality read alouds.

fun_friend 01-12-2006 02:51 PM

6th graders have this problem too! Reading it out loud is a good idea. Maybe you could put a paragraph riddled with run-on-itis on the overhead and demonstrate the correct editing/revising necessary. Are they too young to know about semicolon?

ellen 01-10-2006 05:35 PM

we've talked a lot this year about reading fluently and how we stop when we see a period. I've found that most kids will read their run on sentences and pause at the period (even if they've left it out). I then draw their attention to it, and they will add it. I hate reading paragraphs that contain one puntcuation mark!!!

Homeschl Mom 01-10-2006 01:38 PM

Lots of kids this age seem to use run-on sentences since that's really how they talk and they tend to write how they talk and I'm sure you noticed that kids often talk with the phrase "and then" connecting one thought to the next so perhaps you might want to come up with a ridiculous run-on sentence sort of like the one I am writing right now and stick it on the board or overhead and then break the class into teams of three or four students each and have each team see how many smaller sentences are truly contained in the long run-on sentence that you put on the board, giving them the hint that sentences often have just one noun and one verb and maybe two but beyond that you are changing the sentence into a run-on one and then perhaps the students will see how absolutely annoying run-on sentences can be and how easy they are to fix and perhaps when you grade papers you can choose a special mark or stamp to put on pages that you find run-on sentences on so that when you hand the papers back to the students they can look for this special stamp or sticker and then know that some sentence on that page is too long and needs to be broken up much like this sentence does and then the student can find the run-on sentence and show the paper to you with the identified sentence and perhaps that would help the students avoid sentences like this one.


sandyilee 01-09-2006 07:45 PM

My 3rd grade students often write in run-on sentences. How can I help them?

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