It’s week 10 in my Kindergarten class and time for Teaching Kindergartners How to Write a Sentence.
This school year has been my most challenging year, yet I am learning what so many other teachers experience on a yearly basis. I have had to back up and move a lot slower on my pacing this year. My students have needed more time and more intervention with initial concepts and I have not been able to move into writing as quickly as I normally would, but that’s okay, we are all making progress in a forward direction! (Positive Growth Mindset in Action)!
So here we are…we have been making lists of words and practicing the difference between a number, a letter, a word, and a sentence.
I make this anchor chart WITH the students to show and explain the difference between numbers and letters. I write numbers and letters on post-it notes and then hand them to the students to add to the correct section of the anchor chart. Together as a class, we ask, is it a number or letter?
Next, we make this anchor chart together. I have found that making anchor charts interactive and ‘building’ the chart together as a class, really makes a difference with the students and gives them ownership over their learning. (Interested in more anchor charts and how to implement them into YOUR classroom, then go here to THIS post to find 50+ Anchor Charts for the Kindergarten Classroom.)
So now at this point, we have covered the difference between numbers and letters, as well as gone over the difference between letters, words and sentences. Time to introduce how important spaces are between letters in words and words in a sentence. (Sounds basic? YES, but the reality is that most kindergarten students do NOT know this…don’t assume!) I make this anchor chart in front of my students and talk about the difference in spaces.
The basics of letters and words have been taught now and it is time to introduce building sentences that have structure and make sense. I started off the lesson by reading this book: Rocket Writes a Story. It’s a great book with the loveable dog character, Rocket. In this book, Rocket has learned his letters and is now collecting words, and wonders how to write a story. The little bird helps him understand what a story is and inadvertantly, he writes a story with help from those around him. There are many opportunities in this story to focus on the different parts of writing. (I plan on using this book multiple times to review how Rocket writes a story.)
After using the book to introduce turning words into sentences and then into a story, I began my building-sentences lesson. This year I decided to use a ‘building-construction’ theme to engage them. Together as a class we talked about how some construction workers build roads and houses and how they have to follow laws. They can’t just build a house any way they want. They can’t build the house sideways, because that would not make sense. Same idea with building sentences, there are rules to follow and each sentence must make sense. I tell them the ‘laws of writing’ and write it down on the anchor chart.
Next, I modeled ‘building’ a sentence on the pocket chart with sight words and environmental print. I chose to do it this way, since they can read the words I used and it makes sense to them, since they can make a connection to the words and pictures.
Using the gradual release model, it is now time for the students to practice with each other. I have them turn to their shoulder-partner and I gave each pair of students a baggie with sight words and pictures. Together the partners built their own sentences. After 3-4 minutes, we turned back and I let the different pairs of students, share their sentences.
Finally, it was time to see if they could build a sentence independently. I gave each student a sheet of sight words and a variety of environmental print pictures to choose from. Students then cut out the sight words they wanted, along with their choice of environmental-print picture and ‘built’ a sentence (by gluing it) on a sentence strip. Each student had to read me their sentence and review the ‘laws’ of writing, before placing their sentence in the pocket chart. As you can see from the picture, all of the sentences are correct, except for one, which is someone I will be working with one-on-one to work on the laws of writing and creating a sentence that makes sense.
We are now we are ready to take on writing our own sentences and the next phases of writing! Please make note that all of the steps I described today, did not happen in one day. Use your teacher instinct and descretion to determine when and how to implement these lessons and/or strategies. These ideas worked for me and my students this school year and I happily pass them along to you! (Looking for more writing ideas, check out my post on Guided Drawing to Beginning Writers.) I hope this post, Teaching Kindergartners How to Write a Sentence is helpful, please let me know if it was!