Sunday, February 2, 2014

Using Sentence Frames to Help Students Get Started with Writing

I'm so excited about being part of the 1st "Bright Idea" Blog Hop. Although I'm retired, I love being able to share some great tips and ideas to help you make a difference for your students. I spent the last 9 years as an ESL Resource Specialist at a Title I Elementary School in Anchorage, Alaska. For so many students, especially your ESL and struggling students, writing is a very difficult skill as they have a limited vocabulary and understanding of sentence writing. In order for students to write, they need to have words and ideas to write about.Here are a few tips to think about when you plan your writing instruction to help students become successful writers. For those of you who have implemented the CCSS you may already be using these tips when students write about topics in science and social studies.
  1. Students need to write about a topic that they are learning about.
  2. They need to have many vocabulary words in their word bank.
  3. They need to talk about the topic during Read Alouds.
  4. They need to read books at their reading level about the topic.
Writing should begin as a Teacher-Directed activity with lots of guided practice to help students become more independent writers. I like to start with building background by using a word wall and pictures in Whole Class Activities. I love integrating writing standards through themes or content areas as it gives students many opportunities to use the new vocabulary words over and over again. First, students need to understand what a sentence is. Here is an example of a chart you could make for yours students.
Then I make cards with sentences and phrases like the ones below. I hold them up and ask students to give me a thumbs up if it is a sentence or a thumbs down if it isn't. This is a great way to informally assess all the students in your classroom.
Then I make Parts of the Sentence Frame cards and give each student a set. I also put a set in a pocket chart.
I'm using the theme of "Winter" in the example below as so many teachers teach about winter.  Then I hold up cards like the ones below (out of order) and have students hold up the card that tells which part of the sentence it is.
 The I place the cards under the correct part of the sentence in the pocket chart and we read the complete sentence. I continue with other examples to make sure that all my students understand the parts of a sentence. Hope you liked my "Bright Idea". If you are looking for another great "Bright Idea" head on over Ariane's  at The Science Penguin. She shares some great tips you that you will definitely want to check out. Just click on the image below.

Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students. Hope you find lots of "Bright Ideas".

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  1. I love the idea of having the sentence parts out of order and having them put it back together! Thanks for sharing!

    Katie :)
    KTP: Keep Teaching and Planning!