Sentence writing for 1st grade - ProTeacher Community

TXTeach TXTeach is offline
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Sentence writing for 1st grade
Old 01-26-2006, 07:04 AM
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I have tried several methods to improve the sentence-writing skills of my first graders. I have tried having the students create sentences using Word/Wall and Spelling Words, but the sentences themselves are horrible.

Most of my students are bilingual, with intermediate English proficiency. The syntax of their sentences is exactly how they speak. There is lots of inventive spelling, even though we are using Saxon Phonics and have phonemic awareness lesson in Open Court daily.

Are there any additional resources you are aware of that help students with writing/speaking skills?


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Sharon D. W. Sharon D. W. is offline
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Sharon D. W.
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Practice, practice and even more practice!
Old 01-26-2006, 05:55 PM
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Sorry so long! -

I can relate. I teach first and my students often have English as a second language. Many speak Cree or have Cree or another aboriginal language at home.

My high reading group are now finally starting to take off with writing their own thing. I had a couple students who were off and running early on but the rest are needing practice especially with writing! The lower groups still need expereince hearing it, printing it and reading it. Here is what I have started with my "Reading Groups". I do this with all five groups with different expectations. I do this at my white borad with the group on the floor in front of me.

They have sight word flash cards. Sometimes we use their words and sometimes I have my own package of sight words. Depending on time I might have them bring their own cards or sometimes I just use my own. Each day 1 of the cycle I hand out 10 new flashcards that they need to cut out and most have zippered pencilcases that are used to store these cards. Others have an envelope that I gave them to keep at their tables. Those with envelopes can not take home the flashcards. Only those with the zipper cases can take them home. I go around buying the pencil cases and sell them for what ever I paid. These fit into their Comminication Binders (MOOSE Books) - Another post.

Today here is what one group did. I gave each child one of my cards. I had four out of 5 kiddos in the group as one was absent (attendance is another post also!) These are words that we practice in class, with our Reading Buddies and the same ones that are suppose to be practiced at home.

One by one they have to try and tell me their word. If they can't then the group has to try and figure it out.

Today we had:


They had trouble with "that". One student guessed "the". We underlined the "th" because they both start with "th". One of our words this week is "at" so I pointed out the little word inside the big word. Then we said it slow th at and then fast "that".

Next using clipboards and paper they copy all the words in a list on blank paper. They come to me with their list one at a time and read me the four or five words. (With my lowest group I might only do 3 words a session, not 5 dpending on my mood, and time). I give them a checkmark and score it right on the paper. Next we decide on a word (with the high groups we do more words but with my 2 lowest groups we just do one word). We talk about a senetnce for that word.

One of the students picked "that". I print "that" and show them how to make a word shape box around the word. We do this on the same paper where we made our list. All my word wall words have word shapes so after I model it they have to print the word again and make a word shape box around it. I use the word box because otherwise they just circle the word. I want them using straight lines to box it. Tall letters get a tall shape and tail letters have a drop box and small letters are short boxes. It is only one box not 4 boxes for "that". I hope this makes sense.

Next we come up with a sentence. We count the number of words in our sentence and then I print it having them give me letters, spell words where approproate for their level/group. A good sentence has at least 3 words. Then using paper and the clipboards they copy it in their neatest printing. When finished they come and read it to me and they put it in the finished box and I correct it later as I usually am ready for my next group by this time.

If they need more practice because they missed a period, reversed a letter or missed a letter or word I re-print it on their sheet and the next day it is returned to the individual and they have to copy my example of the same sentence right on the same paper. The first few I keep and place in their Portofoilos. Then I send these home and request that they be read at home. in a few weeks I'll keep another sample for their portfolio again. If I have someone really having a hard time I print it out for them in orange or pink and they have to trace over my work to make it "their" work. We have used trace printing all year so this in not new.

Today my lowest group picked "that".

Here is the sentence: That is blue.
- Could not tell me about a capital, could spell the word wall word "is" but could not spell blue - gave me "bla". Could tell me we needed punctuation but did not know it was a period.

My next lowest group chose the word "the"

Here is their sentence: The bird is in the tree.

- Could tell me about the capital, and spelled all words excpet for the ir in bird. They wanted to say "er" but I decied to use this as a teaching point and we talked about er, ir and ur: mixer, bird, curl

My highest group has "phrase" flash cards and have to read the pharse and then create a sentence that fits. They do 3 to 5 of these instead of the sight word flashcards, although sometimes we will do the sight words too.

Example: is little

The baby is little.

I made the flash card templates up myself on my home computer and have them printed up on card stock. 10 words per page. I used the 100 sight words from one of my teacher books. These are the word wall words I try and cover. I got the phrases from a dolch web site. If you google "dolch" I'm sure you'd find it. Let me know if you can't find it but want it.

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Good Resource
Old 01-28-2006, 06:52 AM
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Hi! I like to use Evan-Moor's "Write a Super Sentence." It will give you step by step instructions on how to take your children from the most basic sentences (A pig ate.) to more descriptive, "super" sentences (A chubby pig gobbled his food early in the morning.) It takes time and lots of repetition, but I put the whole "chart format"(who, describe, did what, where, when) on the board and the kids help fill it in. They love giving ideas to put on the chart and then they get to pick one answer under each column to create their own "super sentence." (template paper for their sentence is in the book, too!) I'm probably not explaining it very well, but if you go to Google and type in Evan-Moor, you can go to their site and type in: Write a super Sentence . You will be able to view the book page by page to get an idea of what I mean. Of course this doesn't mean they automatically write great sentences in their journals, but it's a beginning, and I do see an improvement after doing these lessons whole class.
Also for mechanics, we do daily oral language on the board for morning seat work each day. They have to find the mistakes and rewrite the sentences with the corrections. We then go over them and they tell me why a certain letter needs a capital or why it needs a question mark instead of a period. They also correct verb tenses and spelling errors as we progress.
Hope this helps!
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