Sentence Variety Engages Readers

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SWBAT identify sentence structures as a step toward more variety.

Big Idea

Simple? Compound? Complex? Sentence structure and variety matters.

Do Now: What's the Difference?

5 minutes

I start today with an activity to check for prior knowledge. I ask students to tell me how the following sentences, posted on the board, are different:

1. John ran away.

2. John tripped, but Jane didn't see.

3. Because John tripped, he didn't get as far away as he wanted.

A few students bravely offer a response, and one is even correct--we're looking at, in order, a simple, compound, and complex sentence. Most students, though, look a little lost. Time to review!

Sentence Structures

20 minutes

I introduce our new target, related more to a 9-10 CCSS but relevant for my students' needs. I want my students to use a wide variety of sentence structures in their writing to engage their audience and create voice.

First, though, we must know what the sentence structures are. I move into the PowerPoint to illustrate the different types of sentences. When we get to complex sentences, I point out that we've been studying different methods of making complex sentences all year--students are ready to use them for the bigger picture, voice, by now.

We identify structures of a few practice sentences as a whole class; I call on students for their response and reasoning. With single sentences, students are successful. We're ready to apply the practice to a longer text.

Partner Response Practice

20 minutes

As the challenge increases, I maintain support for student success. I ask students to analyze paragraphs for sentence structure through a partner response activity:

  1. Partner A reads paragraph A aloud, pausing after each sentence.
  2. Partner B identifies each sentence as simple, compound, or complex.
  3. Partner A confirms or denies with reasoning.
  4. Both partners label the paragraph

The process is repeated for paragraph B with partner B reading and partner A identifying. In this way, both students get a chance to identify while checking their own work.