Lesson plan

Sentence Crafting

Enjoy fun games and activities while learning to craft varied sentences! Creating sentences is like playing with construction blocks. You can combine ideas by making compound sentences — and link descriptive phrases into them. Students enjoy fun games and activities while learning to make varied sentences.
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  • Students will practice creating adverbial phrases and use them to write more complex sentences.
  • Students will be able to create compound sentences.
(10 minutes)
  • Hand out a photocopied page from a favorite class novel or your current class read-aloud, and project the page onto a screen for the class to see. Divide the class into three groups: A, B, and C.
  • Ask Group A to underline and count the number of short sentences on the page. (Short = five words or fewer.)
  • Ask Group B to underline and count the number of medium sentences on the page. (Medium = six to eight words or fewer.)
  • Ask Group C to underline and count the number of long sentences on the page. (Long = nine or more words).
  • Once all the groups have finished, select one person from each group to come to the projector and highlight the sentences they have identified in a single color. Choose a different color for each group.
  • Once the short, medium, and long sentences have all been highlighted, ask students to make observations about the colored page. What do they notice?
(5 minutes)
  • Explain that authors do something called SVP, or Sentence Pattern Variation. When an author sprinkles in different kinds of sentences, it makes reading rhythmic and interesting. Different sentence patterns will naturally lead to sentences of varying lengths.
  • Revisit the highlighted class example.
  • Tell students that they are going to learn how to make short sentences more interesting by adding descriptive word pairs or clusters called adverbial phrases. They will also learn to enhance the rhythm of their writing by taking two simple sentences and making them into one compound sentence.
  • Write these two strategies for crafting sentences on the board.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute the worksheet Use Adverbial Phrases to Improve Writing.
  • Go over the exercise, doing some together and allowing students to practice some on their own.
  • When finished, share student examples and discuss.
  • As a class, look back at the page of text and see if any adverbial phrases were used to start sentences.
(35 minutes)
  • Distribute copies of Compound Your Sentences.
  • Go over the instructions for the activity as a class.
  • Divide students into groups of three or four. (You may choose to do this before distributing the worksheet.)
  • Emphasize that, in this activity, students must say “comma” before the conjunction or they get a strike.
  • Allow about 30 minutes to prep for and play the game.



(5 minutes)
  • Provide the second page of text to each student. Have them find compound sentences (Clue: Look for conjunctions!) and sentences that start with adverbial phrases.
(5 minutes)

DISCUSS: How is building sentences like playing with construction blocks?

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