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Are you in search of some new ways to improve your students’ ability to create stronger sentence variety in their writing? Do the beginnings of their sentences all seem to start the same way? Is the style of their writing lacking a certain appeal that makes their writing unique and holds the readers’ attention? Then these task cards might be exactly what you’re looking for!
OVERVIEW OF WHAT YOU GET:
1.) 14 task cards: 9 sentence structure/variety and 5 figurative language (2 of each card)
2.) Writing piece scoring rubric
3.) Task card record sheet for individual students
4.) List of words to replace “said”
My task cards combine grammar skills specifically meant to help improve sentence variety and structure with figurative language skills designed to improve the style of your young writers. Please take a look at the preview to see what specific skills are included. Two copies of each task card are provided so multiple students can practice the same skill. Feel free to make additional copies based on your own classrooms’ needs.
Before beginning to use the task cards, I like my students to see any habits they have in how the begin their sentences. I have them take a piece they wrote the previous year (if available) and highlight the first word of each sentence. I then have them write down all the highlighted words in order. By doing this activity, they can hopefully identify any patterns or bad habits they have using the same words of parts of speech to begin their sentences. Sometimes it’s quite an eye-opening experience for them.
Feel free to use the task cards in any way that suits your needs as well as the needs of your students. However, I offer to you the way in which I use them. I know this approach won’t work for everyone, but I wanted to at least offer it as an idea. The real beauty of these cards is the fact that you can use whatever system works best for you. I like to use a building block/spiral approach when using the cards in my classrooms. When I introduce the cards, I let them know it doesn’t matter the card with which they begin. However, I encourage them to challenge themselves with a skill that might be causing them trouble because the earlier they use the card, the more practice they will get with that particular skill. I also encourage them that if they get stuck as they work on a card to come see me for some guidance or extra support. For our first writing piece, the kids must use one of the 14 cards. Each individual gets to decide which card they want to use. In the piece, the student must include two examples. For our second writing piece, each student must select two cards (one of which must be the card they used in the first piece). Again, they must include two examples of each in their writing. I increase the number of task cards by one for each successive writing piece. However, after about the eighth card, I tend to drop the number of required examples from two to one since they’ve already had a lot of practice with those skills, and I don’t want the assignment to be overwhelming. I don’t want them to focus so much on the cards that they forget to focus on the writing prompt. I try to do a new writing piece every two to three weeks.
Along with the set of task cards, you also get a few other helpful writing tools. First, I’ve included a scoring rubric which I’ve used for years and have made frequent improvements/adjustments to in order to get it to where I feel it’s just right for my needs/expectations. It allows the teacher to individually score each of the five writing domains. This approach allows the children to see specific areas of need as well as their writing strengths. I personally like to highlight the scores they earn to make them stand out and easier to see. There is also a section on the rubric for you to write down individual goals as well as to add your own comments to encourage and connect with your young writers. You also get a color-coded checklist to track the progress and task card usage for each individual student for up to 20 writing pieces. Additionally, I’ve included a list of over 120 words to replace “said”. This list will be particularly helpful with the quotation task card. Feel free to add to the list as the students come up with additional words. My students always take pride in knowing they were able to come up with an addition for the list.
If you are also looking for more instruction-based grammar lessons and extra practice worksheets, I have PowerPoint lessons and printable workbooks also for sale in my store:
Please check the grade level and content to see whether or not they are appropriate for your classrooms.
Thank you in advance for your purchase.
Please feel free to contact me with your comments or questions after you've used the worksheets. I look forward to your feedback.
** Please remember that although I support peer collaboration and sharing, this booklet is for use by the purchaser ONLY. Multi-use licenses are available at a discounted price on my TpT website. Thank you for respecting my creative commons copyright.**
And if you like this product, you may find something else that fits your needs in my store: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Jms-Dad