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Aleemarie Aleemarie is offline
 
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Sentence Structure- ELL?
Old 11-27-2010, 02:38 PM
 
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I am teaching writing to students in grade 6 and have noticed that two students are struggling with sentence structure in similar ways... fragments, run-ons and some misplaced words... My typical sentence structure mini-lessons do not seem to be helping them. They both speak Spanish at home and are meeting expectations in all areas other than writing. In lieu of punishing them with extra paper practice, I have been looking for on-line grammar practice games for them that will give them instant feedback and provide them with well written examples to read. These students lack the exposure to appropriate spoken English that most of my other students have. Does anyone have any suggestions? I also have a volunteer who offered to play a game with them each week- which sounds GREAT!! I looked in the Language section of the teacher store today and did not see any good "games," but thought maybe an "expand the sentence" activity could be turned into a game?


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Old 11-27-2010, 03:03 PM
 
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What level are they?
Writing is the last skill to be mastered when learning a second language. It takes the longest to understand. They need to do authentic writing, writing with a purpose, instead of grammar skills in isolation. They need to read text slightly above their reading level in order to absorb good writing examples. They may also need topics to write about that are familiar to them. They should learn editing skills both peer and self editing.
Dictation is another way for them to learn writing.
You or someone, dictates grammatically correct sentences. About 4-5 sentences to begin with.
Students write what they hear. Then you have them first self correct their sentences. You can either write the sentences on the board or hand them strips of paper with the sentence written on it. They have to rewrite the sentence under the first so they can compare what they wrote with what they should have written. This activity is a real eye opener for them. You have to make sure to emphasize that this is practice, nothing terrible will happen if they don't get the sentence correct the first time!
Then after having them self correct for several weeks, have them pass the dictated sentences to a neighbor for them to correct first. Then give the "neighbor" the sentence strip showing the correct way to write the sentence if they are not sure what to correct. The neighbor writes the sentence correctly under the dictated sentence.
You can later use the 4 square writing method to move on to paragraphs after some of the grammar is starting to look more natural.
But it will all take some time.
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Dictation Suggestion
Old 11-29-2010, 03:25 PM
 
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Thanks for this great idea. I never would have even considered this without your suggestion. They are both good readers, so I will continue to challenge them with reading and writing and add this dictation piece. This is something that I can work in 1-2X a week during guided reading and my volunteer can do a third time. We will be starting some creative writing tomorrow and they will have a great deal of choice in their writing. This may be a good opportunity for these students to write about familiar topics. So far, our writing has been content heavy, with a focus on paragraph structure. I worry about correcting their grammatical errors in their writing- when it's a rule that we have not discussed in class. I'm worried that I will overwhelm them- or that I might not explain the rule well enough for them to generalize. What are your thoughts? Is it better to point it out and hope that repeated exposure to the correct grammar helps it click? I think back on my experiences learning Spanish in college... and it took a lot of practice to 'hear' grammar. Thank you!
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