Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Please Welcome Sharon Fabian

               Sharon Fabian is back with some middle school teaching tips for English Language Arts. I am so happy to have her here for the second time as a guest! ~Lynn
Sharon, Classroom inthe Middle
                        About Sharon
   Hi, I’m Sharon from Classroom in the Middle. For most of my teaching career, I’ve taught English and reading, mainly in the middle school setting. My primary focus has been on teaching language skills to students who need extra help. Now that I’m retired, I still focus on middle graders as I design and write language arts materials for middle and upper elementary school. I also enjoy having time to do some individual tutoring. 

                          Incorporating Parts of Speech into Writing and Revising Lessons

   Knowing the parts of speech helps kids with their writing and revising. Becoming familiar with the elements that make up a sentence gives them an awareness of more options when they are composing their own sentences and making revisions to their writing.

  On the other hand, writing and revising activities can be the perfect tool for teaching kids the basic parts of speech, as well as other sentence elements such as phrases and clauses. Choosing among a selection of verbs or thinking of ways to incorporate a subordinate clause into their own sentence can be an engaging activity that helps kids improve their writing and learn the basic sentence parts at the same time.

  Sentence construction activities are great for young writers who are still learning to compose sentences; sentence renovation activities help kids who already have the basic knowledge improve their writing skills.

Sentence Construction
   At the basic level, kids can practice filling in missing words in a sentence, either by selecting from a word bank or by coming up with their own words. A cut and paste activity using the word bank can make it more fun. A word bank with a mixture of several parts of speech to choose from will make the assignment a bit more challenging.

   Kids can get a close look at how parts of speech are arranged in sentences by analyzing a few mentor sentences. First, they can sort the words in the sentence by parts of speech, and then follow-up by writing sentences of their own that follow the same pattern.

   A challenging activity for more able students might be choose among several sentences to select the one that matches the pattern of parts of speech in a sample sentence.

   “Refrigerator magnets” provide another fun sentence construction activity. First the kids sort out the “magnets” by their parts of speech, and then use them to create various types of sentences, anything from “a sentence with one noun and one verb” to “a sentence with an adjective, an adverb, and a prepositional phrase.”

Refrigerator Magnets
 Revising by Adding or Replacing Words
   Revision activities often involve modifiers, especially adjectives, and adding adjectives to a sentence or replacing common adjectives with more interesting ones can help students to expand their vocabulary. For a bit more of a challenge, try adverbs as well.
   Students can also practice replacing words in sentences to be more exact, or just more interesting. Replace common verbs with fresh, vivid ones. Replace general nouns with more specific ones. Or, for a different activity, have the kids replace some of their nouns with pronouns and some of their pronouns with nouns to see how that changes the flow of their writing.

Revising with Phrases and Clauses
   Once your kids get to the point where they can begin to work with phrases and clauses, then things can really get interesting. Kids incorporate prepositions as they add phrases to their writing. They use coordinating and subordinating conjunctions to combine sentences. Students can experiment with different conjunctions to see how just using a different conjunction can change the whole meaning of their sentence.
   This is another good stage for incorporating mentor texts. For an example of narrative writing, give students a classic story that you can find easily online, such as a traditional fairy tale. Or for informational text, use a page from their history or science text. The first activity shown below was set up for “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” and the second one for any page from a student text.

Analyzing mentor texts
   Revising activities can also be done with picture prompts or with “refrigerator magnets” similar to the ones used in easier sentence construction activities. For the picture prompts, ask students to revise a sentence about the picture by adding or replacing specific elements such as adverbs or dependent clauses. For the “refrigerator magnets” provide cutouts with a few basic sentences plus more words to cut out and use for revising.

Revising with Picture Prompts   Any of these activities can easily be set up with materials that you probably have on hand or can find online (such as the fairy tales), or if you are interested in ready-to-use printables, check out Sentence Construction and Sentence Renovation in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. 

                                Warm Regards, Sharon
Visit me at my blog and my store, both called Classroom in the Middle.

Sentence Renovation Activity Sheets

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