A Sentence Explosion is a dynamite way to teach AP students to analyze style! Great for AP Language or Literature courses or other advanced English classes, this activity allows students to take any well-crafted sentence from a text and break down the diction and syntax choices that make it great. Students "reverse engineer" the sentence, choosing alternate diction and phrase/clause order and analyzing why the original works best (or, as the case may be, why their adaptation is superior). On the back, students use the diagramming system of their choice to visualize the syntactical structure of the sentence, ultimately writing a sentence of their own that follows the footprint of the original. An example from THIS BOY'S LIFE by Tobias Wolff is included on page 3 of the document.
by Chris Paolelli
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