Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Trading Spaces Tuesday!

Hello to all the readers of Hanging Out in First!  I am super excited that Jessica has allowed me to share my ideas on how to write better sentences with you today as part of Trading Spaces Tuesday.

When I taught first grade, my firsties really struggled with writing a coherent, complete sentence.  I wanted them to be able to write a paragraph, but we couldn't write a good sentence.  I had to start there.


I broke the sentence down to its basic components:  capital letter, who, what, and ending punctuation.  Then I created a graphic organizer to help them use this information to create a better sentence. Next, I had to decide how I would teach them this information.  I had access to a Smart Board at the time, so I created a Notebook file which contained my entire lesson:  standards, objectives, introduction, sorting activity, and graphic organizer.


My introduction page started with all but the objective covered.  As I talked about each aspect, I uncovered a part of the page.


I wanted them to practice identifying complete and incomplete sentences before I had them write a complete sentence, so I created two sorts (one pictured below) for them.  They had to touch one of the sentences and move it to "complete sentence" or "not a complete sentence."


Once I was confident that they were able to categorize the sentences and fragments, I modeled how to write a complete sentence using the graphic organizer below.  Then we wrote a sentence together.  Finally, they wrote their own sentence using the organizer.

I created a YouTube video that runs through the notebook file as I talk you through my lesson.  I was a little nervous as I talked through the file because I had never made a video like this before.

I uploaded the Smart Notebook file to the SMART Exchange.  You can grab it by clicking HERE.
I also created a FREEBIE and placed it on Teachers Pay Teachers that includes the lesson plan and graphic organizers I used to introduce this concept to my students.  You can get your own copy by clicking HERE or on the picture below.


Is this only for first graders?  Absolutely not!  I introduced this to the PK-3 grade teachers I coach and they all used it.  Yes, even preschool!  Second and third grade teachers used it to help their struggling students.

Again, thank you for letting me share a little of my world with you!  Come see me any time and I can't wait to hear how you teach your students to write better sentences.


Don't forget to check out these other great blogs who are participating in Trading Spaces Tuesday!


  1. I loved this post, Jana. Reminds me a little of diagramming! I have actually used diagramming with my fifth graders, and I think it's helped them with recognizing run-ons and fragments. Carla Comprehension Connection

  2. Love the idea of scaffolding to help write sentences! I can definitely use this with so many of my students!

    Reading Toward the Stars