Directions and Suggestions for Use
Materials Needed: 42, 3.5”x6.5” envelopes, 1 gallon-size Ziploc bag, Laminated sentence cards cut into words
1. Copy sentences on card stock. I suggest that you laminate the pages before cutting the cards apart. I have used a different color for each sentence. Each sentence is printed as it should appear once reassembled.
2. I have also provided these sentence cards in black for those who do not have access to color printers.
3. Suggestion! Before you laminate the pages, print the number of each sentence on the back of each card. I found this handy, because the students will often drop the cards. By numbering each card with the number of the sentence, you’ll still be able to put the cards back into the correct envelope if this happens.
4. When filling the envelopes, be sure to mix up the sentence cards first. Remind the students that they are to do the same before returning the cards to an envelope.
5. Next, number 42 envelopes from 1 to 42. Sentence one will go into envelope #1, etc.
6. After filling each envelope with the cards, put 10 sentence envelopes into a gallon-size Ziploc bag. This will allow you to give one of the Ziploc bags to each of 4 different groups. I have provided two extra sentences in case of damage or loss.
7. I always let the students work in pairs or threes when reassembling the sentence cards.
8. Before the activity begins, have the students number their language/writing notebook page from 1-10. Students will write each sentence into this notebook. This is where I put their grade for the activity. Each sentence is worth 10 points. (However, whenever the students have finished displaying a sentence on the desk, I have them call me over so that I can visually check each sentence and give them hints on why it might be wrong and what they need to consider doing in order to make it right.)
9. When a pair of students has finished a sentence, they put the cards back into the envelope and pass it on to another pair of students. They will proceed in this manner until all 10 sentences have been written in the notebook. I tell the students that they may not get their sentence envelopes in order. For example, whenever they get envelope #4, they must make sure that they write that sentence next to #4 in their notebooks.
Why do I do this activity? Students have a hard time recognizing a well-constructed sentence. Allowing the kids to manipulate the word cards in the sentences will make them more aware of the positions of words in a sentence. This is especially true when it comes to modifiers. Showing them how the placement of an adjective, for example, depends upon what it actually modifies.