Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Practicing Sentence Structure

A few of my special friends have some really issues with sentence structure. They can verbalize thoughts, but getting it on paper is next to impossible.

We read a story about a dog that was pretending he was under sea while he was taking a bath the other day. However this is what I got for sentences on our graphic organizer, even though they had just verbalized sentences to me.

"dog sea Bath"

"bathtub In sea dog the Pretending"

"dog a bath the sea"

Yeah.... we have some work to do.

One activity we've been doing is "jigsaw sentences." I got this idea from Peggy Kaye's Games for Reading book (must buy book, by the way!).

She gives examples of sentences in her book, and I just copied those because I didn't feel like coming up with my own. You can of course simply create your own if you desire.

I placed each sentence in an envelope and placed a dot sticker in the corner to indicate difficulty. Blue sentences are the easiest, then green, yellow, and red. The basket is just one of those narrow pencil baskets.

When they open an envelope they take out each piece and lay it out. I have them read the "sentence" then make their adjustments. Some are better at this than others. I've been trying to point out that sentences always start with a capital letter and end with punctuation, but not all of them remember this. Some will only move one word/phrase before reading again, while others will rearrange a few.

Eventually we land on a sentence that makes sense. If they are working with me then we just read the sentence till it makes sense, however if they are working independently, I have them record their completed sentences so I can see what they are doing.

One big benefit I have noticed is because we have to read the sentence over and over again, they've added some words to their sight word vocabulary. Yay for double-duty activities!

I also have strips with the beginning, middle, and end of sentences on them. Some put together might be silly, but will make sense, others will not. I can't seem to find the time time to cut them out of the lamination, however. Haha, one day.

Has sentence structure ever been difficult for your students(s)/child? What did you do?

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