As the teacher of three language arts classes (4th, 5th, and 6th grades), I have been struggling to get my students to really remember the four types of sentences. (sigh...)
I keep thinking- SERIOUSLY? YOU CAN'T REMEMBER FOUR TYPES OF SENTENCES FROM ONE DAY TO THE NEXT? HOLY MOLEY! (double sigh...)
Then I stopped and thought about it for a few minutes and realized that there was one minor problem. The students, for the most part, just really didn't care. I mean, WHY SHOULD THEY? They saw no connection to what we were supposed to be learning to their "real" lives. I knew that I had to think up some way to get them to even WANT to try and think about these outside my classroom walls.
My first attempt was to try and use my basal program, the worksheets, the reteaching worksheets. That helped the higher kids start to understand the concepts a bit better, but I was still worried about the strugglers. I have a hard time, as I am sure you all do, of keeping those struggling learners in my classes focused and engaged. I then turned to using my Smart board and created interactive lessons. I KNEW this had to be the answer. After a couple review sessions, I had to accept that it still wasn't reaching my targeted learners.
I thought and thought and decided that maybe using authentic writing might be helpful. So, I gave them the assignment to pay attention to their at-home reading, and try to identify each kind of sentence, make notes on it, and then report to the class. This worked a little better, but when quizzing the students orally, most still couldn't name the types of sentences or tell what their function was. (triple sigh...)
I was starting to get frustrated and overwhelmed. Then, the last Wednesday night around 10pm, I had a brainstorm. I would make a sentence sort. After I got the whipped out, I had an even better idea. CENTERS! I should do centers with my classes. Okay, It was only 10:30pm and I knew that I could come up with a few more centers. I knew that I could use basal review sheets as one station. I needed a few more centers to make this work. With my larger classes being over 22 each, I didn't want to have huge groups.
This lead to thinking up my sentence hunts that get the kids highlighting ACTUAL sentences in PUBLISHED BOOKS!
I also knew that I wanted them to use what they were learning to WRITE. I mean, after all we are working on WRITING SKILLS!
I was up until after 1am tweaking, printing, and laminating. I went to sleep still thinking about what I could do, and was up by 6:15am and back at my computer finishing up a tweak on the writing center. ( I hate when I have my best ideas late at night. SO WORTH IT THOUGH!)
When I got to school I was running around like crazy gathering the needed materials, but I DID IT! I had everything ready to go by the time my first class arrived in my room! WAHOO!
Here are some pictures of the centers in action
This is the writing center. The kids had to write different paragraphs about Halloween topics using certain requirements. There was also a comic strip on the back they had to fill out as well (they REALLY loved that part!).
This group is working on a Sentence Hunt. It was a bit confusing at first, but they got the hang of it and it was fun to listen to the students discuss what type of sentence they had just read.
This is the other Sentence Hunt activity. They loved seeing the colors fill the page!
I am very proud of my sentence sort. The students were having a great time making up ways to do this center. I have one or two suggestions and they went crazy with it.
This was my Basal practice sheets center. After they completed the practice page as a group they turned their paper over and they wrote a short Halloween story.
I ran each center for about 8 minutes and then had the students rotate to the next center. I think that I will do these again (even AFTER HALLOWEEN) and give them a little longer to work. I am even thinking that I will set up a few of the centers at the back of the room so the kids can do them when they "finish early".
Because these worked so well, I decided to put them together in an easy-to-use kit that you can use.
If your students need extra practice like mine, I think you will enjoy using this!
Click HERE to check it out!
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