(The Common Core State Standards require students to produce complete sentences, recognizing and correcting inappropriate fragments.)
Today we will examine sentence fragments. A fragment is a piece of something. (Teacher tears a sheet of paper into pieces.) Each of the pieces of this paper is a fragment or a piece. We begin the lesson by watching a short Brainpop video about sentence fragments and taking the quiz at the end in order to check for understanding. (Click here to watch video.) (Teacher will review quiz whole group and students will either show their answer responses of a, b, c, or d by using sign language or write their answers on a personal dry erase board.)
I first begin with the end in mind and talk about what a complete sentence contains - a subject, a verb, and expresses a complete thought. On the other hand, a sentence fragment is an incomplete sentence. It may be missing a subject, a verb, or a complete thought. Many sentence fragments are dependent clauses or a group of words that cannot stand alone as a complete sentence. Dependent clauses begin with a subordinating conjunction (i.e., because, since, so after, however, although, if, when, before, while, until, etc.). An independent clause is basically a complete sentence that can stand along. For example, "I watched the airplane take off." is an independent clause. Next, we practice turning some dependent clauses that are sentence fragments into complete sentences:
Because it was raining outside, (what happened?)
Since you understand the lesson, (what?)
After you eat your dinner, (what?)
Now, I ask my students to work with a partner. One of them will deliberately create a sentence fragment and then the other partner will turn the fragment into a complete sentence. Then, they will reverse roles.
To close the lesson, I have my scholars complete a brief exit slip in order to reflect upon the information they learned. I have found if my students are able to tell me the things to look for in order to identify a complete sentence (a subject, a predicate, a complete thought), then they are more likely to be able to compose a complete sentence. If my scholars are able to provide an example of a sentence fragment and then correct it by turning it into a complete sentence, then I feel they really understand because they are in "teacher" mode. In order to teach each other about sentence fragments, they must really understand the concept. On the exit slip (see the attached resource), my scholars:
- List 3 things to look for to identify a complete sentence.
- List 2 subordinating conjunctions
- List 1 sentence fragment and then turn it into a complete sentence.