Sentence Variety Check: A Tool for Revision and Rewriting
Resource is appropriate for students in grades 4-12.
Learning will transfer to any subject, level, or type of writing task.
Supports the following Common Core State Standards in Language Arts:
WRITING-Production and Distribution of Writing—CCSS 5
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
LANGUANGE-Knowledge of Language— CCSS 3
Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
• “Expand, combine, and reduce sentences for meaning, reader/listener interest, and style.”
• “Vary sentence patterns for meaning, reader/listener interest, and style.”
• “Choose language that expresses ideas precisely and concisely, recognizing and eliminating wordiness and redundancy.”
LEARNING TARGETS: Students will be able to
• Use revision strategies for improving sentence fluency in writing
• Recognize unintended repetition in sentence structures
• Identify a lack of variation in sentence lengths
• Use analysis strategies to make choices about revision and rewriting
• Apply revisions to an improved draft
WHAT IS THE "SENTENCE VARIETY CHECK" ACTIVITY?
Is it sometimes difficult for you to get students to really LOOK critically at their writing in order to revise? Students tell us that they have re-read and made changes to drafts, but are those changes substantive? Do they-or can they-recognize weaknesses or errors?
It is often difficult for students to see their work with a new point of view. No matter how much we teach or tell, it can be a struggle. Moving students toward independent analysis and critique is the purpose of this writing tool. This best part of this activity is that once a student learns the process of analyzing sentences, it is a skill of a lifetime.
Students will this tool use to analyze sentence fluency and identify specific places to improve their writing. We teach students that in their writing they need to have a variety of structures, start sentences in a variety of ways, and have sentences that are different lengths. Often, this message is lost.
Using this structure for self-analysis, students discover weaknesses in their sentences and are usually eager to make improvements. This concrete approach to evaluating sentences appeals to students. With the data table in front of them, students see sentence errors and are willing to revise and rewrite.
THIS RESOURCE INCLUDES:
Two pages of background, instruction, and assessment tips
Two-page student activity handout