Common Core Connection and Introduction
This lesson has silly sentences that are divided into three sections based on the basic parts of speech. The students read the sections and match them to any part they want, keeping in mind that each sentence has a noun part and verb part. They have to communicate and collaborate with their peers as they read and create sentences as a team. Teaching collaboration and communication skills is very important and must be modeled in first grade. Students are very early in their educational career. Support and modeling keep groups working together. I have found that assigning group member roles and going over the partner work rules before each partner activity is essential to developing a collaborative classroom.
One strategy that really helps first graders keep their focus strong for a long time is by frequently transitioning. So, I made a video to explain how we do this: transition.
I write a silly sentence on the board. I ask the students to discuss if this sentence is written correctly with their peanut butter jelly partner. (These are heterogeneous groups of two and seated at their desks. I place pictures on their desks so they know who is peanut butter and who is jelly. See this video for more: peanut butter jelly partner).
Then I allow one volunteer to share. I ask the student to justify why they think this is a complete sentence. Then I tell the class we are going to make some sentences today. We are going to make sure our sentences have a noun part and a verb part, along with proper punctuation and grammar, but they can be as silly as we want. They echo, tell their partner, and the repeat with me. Repetition creates memory of new information, focuses the class on the goal, and telling a partner makes it personal.
I ask the students to discuss with their partner criteria for a complete sentence. Each group tells me one piece of information. We use thumbs up and thumbs down to agree or disagree with each volunteer. This is a great time for me to assess who really understands sentences structure. I make a list on the board that includes the characteristics they mentioned.
I add any big criteria that they did not come up with (I want students to basically understand that sentences need a noun/subject part and a verb/action part, along with necessary punctuation and conventions). Then I ask them to discuss if the sentence has to make sense. I allow two volunteers to share and justify their opinion. I clarify that every sentence has to have a noun part and a verb part. I circle these and label them in my original sentence. I clarify that a sentence can be funny or silly as long as it has all the parts we created.
I use the piece from the Florida Center for Reading Research Silly Sentence Lesson and create a silly sentence on the board. I ask them to decide it this is a sentence. One volunteer tells the class their opinion. I ask the students if it has a noun and verb part. Then I create a model that is not a complete sentence. The students discuss and on volunteer shares why this is an incomplete sentence. I like to say it that way. Why is this an incomplete sentence. This voids the incorrect response and makes the learner use their higher order thinking skills to defend their opinion.
Students get in heterogeneous groups of two or three and move to the center tables. They have more work space and the material are already set up. Peer collaboration allows every student to be successful and peers to help each other. I set the timer for twenty minutes and allow the students to create silly sentences from the Florida Center for Reading Research Silly Sentence Activity.
I walk around, monitor, and support students. I ask them if they have a noun part and a verb part. I also laugh with them when they make funny sentences. Laughing together bonds us, lightens the mood, and makes learning fun. One of my jobs on my job chart is to make learning fun.
We meet in the lounge, and I allow each group to present using a fun protocol. We form two lines facing each other. I say line 1 present. Then line two presents to line one. Every student is engaged at the same time. (I find that I need to let everyone present because limiting who presents hurts their feelings. It was taking too long for every group to stand up and read their work, so I decided we would present at the same time.)
I listen attentively to each group, so I can do some formative assessment and comment on their work.
I ask each student to tell their partner one thing they learned today. I listen hoping that my students have brilliant information to share. Then I share one group's discussion. Their discussions last about 30 seconds. I then say, "I can create complete sentences." They echo, tell a friend, and say it with me. It is important for the learners to understand the learning goal.