When faced with a writing assignment, many fifth-graders cringe and try to avoid it altogether. For some, structuring a good sentence can be agonizing! Usually, this is because students don’t have the writing “tools” they need to guide them through the process. “Sentence Stretchers” is an activity that will give your fifth grader one “tool” to develop his sentences, making them more detailed and interesting. Show your fifth grader how to stretch his sentences – and watch his writing pieces stretch to a higher level!
Begin by “sweetening” the project by placing a bowl of M&M’s or Skittles on the table. Explain to your fifth grader that he can win pieces of candy by stretching simple sentences. On a piece of paper, write “The boy ran” (with "The boy" in black and "ran" in red). Explain to your child that he can turn simple sentences into longer, fifth grade sentences by following an easy formula. The black words in the sentence tell the subject (noun part) and the red words tell the predicate (verb part). To stretch the sentence (and win candy!), add a word to each part by using this chart.
What kind? Where?
Which one? When?
How many? How?
Brigid Del Carmen has a Master's Degree in Special Education with endorsements in Learning Disabilities and Behavior Disorders/Emotional Impairments. Over the past eight years, she has taught Language Arts, Reading and Math in her middle school special education classroom.