Overview: Research has proven that mastery of subject area vocabulary is critical to superior performance on state mandated high stakes tests. At the beginning of each school year, two targeted goals help my students integrate grammar vocabulary into their writing experiences. The first goal provides multiple, repeated interactions with content vocabulary at periodic intervals during the school year. The second goal supports the use of interactive tasks as they explore/experience writing sentences using content vocabulary.
By year’s end, most have the ability to create grammatically correct twenty-five word sentences. Among those that do not, the ability to write effective, grammatically correct sentences is amazing.
The first Sentence Pattern Practice begins near the end or after the sentence unit is completed. Themed sentences related to cartoon characters (class novels, etc.) selected for each sentence practice session forms the core of the lesson. Students collaborate in groups to accomplish the task of creating sentences based on the variations listed in the handout. On each assigned practice day, the students discuss the selected character (ex. - Sponge Bob Square Pants) while they write sentences in groups regarding the content of that particular TV series (class novels, etc.). Students draw vocabulary words placed in a bowl; prizes are awarded for students who can locate sentences with the selected word.
During the spring semester, exploration with the patterns (simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex) continues. Work then centers on how their sentences can be refined into cohesive fifteen word lengths for each of the four sentence types applicable to that pattern: declarative, imperative, interrogative, and exclamatory.
I have found that students are more willing (and even happier) about completing writing/grammar tasks while the recognition of content vocabulary helps them show growth on state mandated tests: 1.9 grade levels. Mission accomplished.
Sentence Pattern Practice
by Olive A. Zenon
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License