Do your students use a monotonous tone in their writing? “He did…. He has…. He then did….” Blah blah blah. Variety of Sentences is another important writing mini lesson for DARE to Revise- Exchange. This post will give you ideas when teaching students how to use a variety of sentences in writer’s workshop. It is part of a series of writing posts designed for scaffolding the writing curriculum.
Here are some steps to follow to help your students write in a variety of sentences.
Tell students that in order for a story to flow smoothly, it needs to have a variety of sentences. In DARE, it is the E for exchange. You need to exchange your old sentences for some new ones! You shouldn’t always start sentences the same way. Some ideas to avoid using the same kind of sentences is to mix them up with some of the following: For example: Bears hibernate.
1. With a describing word– Furry bears are hibernating.
2. With a question– Do all bears hibernate?
3. With a transition word– After winter, bears wake up from hibernation.
4. With the word to– To see a bear hibernating, creep quietly!
5. With an -ing word– Hibernating is normal for bears in winter.
6. With an excitement word– Yikes! The bear woke up from hibernation!
2. MENTOR TEXT
Use a book that you recently read in class and look over a few paragraphs with the students. Discuss the variety of sentences.
Here is an example of how to change writing in a story:
Splash! Pam jumped in the freezing lake and grabbed the bottle in the water. Hillary helped her get the paper out of the bottle. What could it be? They revealed a map of a hidden treasure. They didn’t hesitate and started to follow it. They knew the location of the island that was on the map. Pam and Hillary got in a paddle boat and paddled like mad across the lake to the island.
With a Variety of Sentences:
Splash! Pam jumped in the freezing lake and grabbed the bottle in the water. Helping her get the paper out of the bottle was her friend, Hillary. What could it be? They revealed a map of a hidden treasure. Without hesitation, they started to follow it. Knowing the location of the island on the map, Pam and Hillary got in a paddle boat and paddled like mad across the lake to the island.
Wow! Doesn’t that make a difference in the story? It flows smoothly and isn’t choppy. Smooth like butter! Below is a student example. This student did a great job! The only one that he didn’t have a correct example was “describing words”. He used food as his first word. He could have used “delicious food” or “steaming food” or “colorful food”.
4. TAKE NOTES
Students should take notes on this lesson so they will have a resource to use with future writing prompts.
Give students a specific topic and have them create sentences using each of the examples in step 1.
Students should then take their own rough draft and revise using these examples of a variety of sentences.
Always have students share! It is such a valuable step in mini lesson!
That sums up the lesson on variety of sentences. There are links below to follow more blog posts on writing mini lessons!
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All of these ideas are included in the STEP-BY-STEP Writing Program available for Grades 1-8 designed to scaffold through each type of writing with modeling through every step. It includes EVERYTHING you need to teach writing for the year: Anchor charts, mentor text, interactive notebook pages, practice, modeling, tracking charts, students resources, graphic organizers, examples, paragraph writing, narrative writing, opinion writing, informative writing, prompts, checklists, rubrics, etc etc.
“I can’t say enough about how great this resource is. We’ve finished the first unit, and I followed each lesson as written out! The grade three and four aligned, but had different lessons, so I looked like a superstar teacher in the first paragraph writing month. Best thing bought from TpT! Would recommend wholeheartedly from a veteran 22 year teacher!” – Diana