Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Super Sentences (with two freebies!)

I've been working on improving sentence structure and sentence fluency lately. I started by doing a bunch of mini lessons about complete vs. incomplete sentences. I'd write a sentence on the board and students would decide if it was complete. We'd look for the subject (who or what) and then see if the sentence includes a verb (what the subject did).

Here is an example of an assignment we would do to practice this skill:

frames by scrappincop.com

UPDATE: I cleaned this page up a bit.

You can get this for free HERE.

After my students had a good understanding of complete vs. incomplete sentences, then we started talking about making sentences into super sentences. Now I'd ask, "Is it a sentence?" then add, "But is it a super sentence?"

Here's an example of an activity we did to change a sentence into a super sentences.

I wrote a very simple, but complete sentence. We found the subject (the cat), and what the cat did (jumped) to make sure it was a complete sentence. Then we worked on making it a super sentence.

I cut the sentence apart so each word was separated. Then I got out the sticky note sentence strips. As a group, we brainstormed words we could use to describe cat. Then we worked on a word that would describe how the cat jumped. (I love how a kid came up with instantly! I never would have come up with that one.) 
After we had the sentence "The fluffy cat instantly jumped." I talked about how we could stop there and we would have a good sentence. I don't want them to feel like every sentence needs to have that same structure (adding where, when, etc. to every sentence), but I do want them to get in the habit of expanding those sentences to add detail. 

In this case, they still wanted to do more though! I asked them to come up with ways to expand the sentence even more. They came up with the rest (where and why). 

The fluffy cat instantly jumped into the garbage can to chase a mouse.

My students had SO much fun with this activity. We've made several other sentences like this, and they are always excited to work together to make it super. Now they love to share with each other when they make their own sentences into super sentences. 

My students also make their own super sentences during centers. They use this sorting mat to help build their super sentence. 

Then they record it on their student sheet, like the one shown below.
clipart by scrappindoodles

I've created this forest-themed super sentence for you all. You can get this freebie HERE.
(updated 8/31/16)

I'd love to hear what you all do to improve students' sentences!



  1. What a fun way to improve students' sentences. As a writing teacher, I work hard on that, too. I love to make charts and posters, so I have all the question words hanging as a display and I remind the children to answer at least 3 of them in their super sentences. I also like to write simple sentences on the board and have the children work in teams to rewrite it as a super sentence. A little healthy competition always brings out the best sentences!

    Lori (luvyorkies@gmail.com)
    Teaching With Love and Laughter

  2. I love what you're doing. I definitely need to copy this. Complete sentences is such a hard concept for grade ones!

    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  3. I'm so glad I discovered your blog. You have some great ideas!


  4. Oh thank you so much for this! I can't wait to use it with my second graders when I go back to the classroom in the fall. :)

    - Tracey

  5. hi , i am going crazy on the internet now . iam home schooling my down syndrome little boy and we are going to start with building sentences. i love your idea.

  6. I absolutely love this activity, such a great idea. The only suggestion I may have though, is starting the sentence with a capital letter. I am trying hard to instill this in my Grade 1 children and I want to show this to them....maybe I could ask them, what would you do differently in this sentence?

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  8. Thanks for sharing this great idea. Getting strong sentences like this was difficult for my students last year so will try this this year.

  9. And these have brought around the effective guides for the students they needed to acquire and hopefully there would be more of the facts to be disclosed with the same.