How to teach Complete Sentences???

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by corps2005, Jul 15, 2006.

  1. corps2005

    corps2005 Cohort

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    Jul 15, 2006

    Hi everyone,

    I'm new here and have a question about teaching complete sentences. I teach first grade and have been going crazy trying to figure out how to teach complete sentences.

    One side says that students just need to start out by "hearing" complete sentences, and being able to distinguish between incomplete and complete orally. However, I see this as only working if students have been read to a lot.

    Most of my students last year could not "hear" a complete sentence. They were also rarely read to at home. I did a lot of read alouds, but they couldn't "hear" a complete sentence until the end of the year. Many would tell me that "is running" is a complete sentenceat the beginning of the year. They would often ask me, "how do tell if it's a complete sentence?"

    So this year I was wondering if I should try the following because I know, for a fact, that my new crop of students are rarely read to at all. I was thinking of starting by teaching that a complete sentence communicates a complete thought, which is made up of a subject and a verb, like "The boy ran." Would this work better since my students most likely won't be able to "hear" a complete sentence.

    I just wanted some other views. Please keep in mind that almost all of my children are rarely read to and may or may not have even held a book before. Any advice would be helpful. This is only my second year :p Thanks everyone :)
     
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  3. ILuvKaliNJay

    ILuvKaliNJay Rookie

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    Jul 15, 2006

    I teach second and I know that for many kids this is a hard concept to understand/teach. Practice makes perfect, and kids need a lot of practice with this concept. I usually tell my students that a sentence is a complete thought/idea and you can tell if it's complete if you are not left guessing or wondering who did something or what they did. Make sure you emphasize to them that a complete sentence must have two parts: 1. a naming part/a who or a what (much easier to understand than using the term "subject," especially at their age). 2. a telling part (tells something about the person or thing or what they are doing).

    Model, model, model! Use different colors to underline the naming part and the telling part. Question them about the sentence, ask them who/what the sentence is about. Ask what the person/thing is doing. Tell them if they can't answer one of those questions about the sentence then it is not complete. Like I said before, it just takes a lot of practice for those who can't tell just by listening.
    Hope some of this helped! Good luck!
     
  4. MissB

    MissB Companion

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    Jul 15, 2006

    Like above- model, model, model!! When you are modeling "think aloud" about why you are writing certain words and putting a period (or any other punctuation) at the end.

    Like you said- read aloud frequently to let them hear what good sentences sound like.

    Also have games where you let them play around with words (maybe on sentence strips) and they make their own sentences. When they make a sentence have them read it alopud to make sure it sounds right (at the beginning- the word cards could be cut to fit like a puzzle, so they always get it right and read a complete sentence, eventually the cards will look the same and they will have to figure it out.)
     
  5. corps2005

    corps2005 Cohort

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    Jul 15, 2006

    That makes sense :) So, in the beginning of the year, it would be better to teach them that a complete sentence is 1. who/what and 2. a telling part, rather than getting into all the specifics of nouns and verbs, etc. Later, I can go deeper into specifics?
     
  6. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    Jul 15, 2006

    Unique Sentence Idea----- Flower
    Make flower pedals. (about 2x3 inches).
    A round center. (about 4 inches)
    Stem. (2 inches wide and as long as a big sheet of construction paper.
    2 leaves.
    Students write a subject on the center.
    Adjectivies on each petal.
    Verbs on each leaf.
    Write a complete sentence on the stem using the words on their flower.
    Glue all the parts together and make a big sentence flower.

    We use this in second grade.

    Have students act out some verbs. run, hop, talk, stand, sit, and etc.
     
  7. ILuvKaliNJay

    ILuvKaliNJay Rookie

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    Jul 15, 2006

    These are first graders, I feel that boggling them down with new terminology at the beginning will only confuse them more. Even though my second graders have been introduced to nouns and verbs when they come to me, many of them have forgotten what those words mean and I spend a great deal of time reteaching/reviewing those concepts with them. So at the beginning when they first come to me, I just stick with the naming part and telling part because those words are easy for them to understand. When I introduce the words subject and predicate, that's where the confusion starts! So keep it simple until they understand the concept of what makes a sentence complete. I'm not sure about your scope and sequence, but I'm thinking working on complete sentences comes ahead of nouns and verbs.
     
  8. corps2005

    corps2005 Cohort

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    Jul 15, 2006

    Thank you guys so much :) We don't have a scope and sequence, and teacher basically teach it the way they want to teach it. I've asked around there, but no one really wants to share, so I'm really glad that I've found some people on her to help me with that :) Last year, I was struggling just to keep my head above water, so I'm trying to really get everything together this year, starting with L.A.
    The naming and telling parts really helped out :) I liked the flower idea too and might use that later in the year :) I'm glad I found this place
     
  9. ILuvKaliNJay

    ILuvKaliNJay Rookie

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    Glad I could help and whenever you need any advice I'll gladly share any ideas I have!
     
  10. mommaruthie

    mommaruthie Aficionado

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    Jul 15, 2006

    try and do a search on atoz archives for the explanation of the grammar symbols. Its a visual way to SEE a complete sentence using geometric shapes of varying size and color.
     
  11. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jul 15, 2006

    I would keep it really simple with the little guys. Gather some sample sentences, write them on sentence strips. Choose sentences with a person or persons doing action. For each sentence, ask them who it is about and then ask what he/she does. Later on, move on to sentences where an object is the subject. You can have someone come up and clip one clothespin onto the pocket chart for the subject, one for the action.

    Then, you can give them sentences that are missing something. Start out with a big blank where either the subject or action word should be. See if they can hear that something is missing, besides noticing the blank space. Have the students fill in the blank orally. Go around and have each student give you a word that works. You could write their words on slips of paper and let them insert them into the correct spot. Do this for subjects and predicates (actions).

    When they get very good at this, mix up the sentence strips and see if they can tell which are incomplete. Later still, leave out the blanks and see if they can still identify the incomplete sentences. I would probably use color somehow in these exercises, too.
     
  12. teacher333

    teacher333 Devotee

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    Have the students play the part - assign one to be the subject and the other the verb, they can even choose what the subject and verb are. It could be something as simple as the dog barked or the cat meowed. This works well even with older students when you get into adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, etc., and they love the idea they get to get out of their seats and "teach" it to the others.
     
  13. MissB

    MissB Companion

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    Jul 15, 2006

    Using movement to teach is ALWAYS great!
     
  14. elem_teacher3

    elem_teacher3 Companion

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    Jul 17, 2006

    How about teaching all complete sentences have a "naming part" and a "telling" or "action" part.

    I had the students circle the "naming part" of a sentence and underline the "telling" or "action" part.

    Example sentence:
    The dog ran fast.

    'The dog' would be circled
    'ran fast' would be underlined

    That would be an action sentence.

    Example of a telling sentence:
    The girl is helping her mom.

    'The girl' is circled.
    'is helping her mom' is underlined.

    This method worked well for me. It is just a simple way to introduce complete sentences.

    I hope this helps.
     
  15. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Jul 17, 2006

    Believe it or not my 5th graders still struggle with this. It has gotten to the point (sometimes) that I will give an incomplete sentence-"Because Ben kicked the soccer ball too hard."-and ask them to explain what I'm talking about. They can't do it. Last year we diagramed sentences and started with the simplest of examples.
    Birds fly.
    Cows moo.
    Cars zoom.
    Just this helped them see that there needed to be something or someone doing the action.
     
  16. Sarah5483

    Sarah5483 Companion

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    Jul 17, 2006

    I taught first last year. I had 2 cards that I made and laminated just to have around. A "Who?" card with pictures of people, animals, cartoons, and a "Did what?" card with picture of the people, animals, and cartoons running, swimming, eating, etc. Whenever I felt like working on complete sentences, I would just start making up sentences and then I'd hold up the Who? card and they'd tell me who, then I'd hold up the "did what?" and they'd tell me what the "who" did.
    Then for a center activity I would get about 6 long sentence strips and cut them in half, so there are 12 parts. I would write out 6 "who's" and 6 "did what's" on the parts. For the "Who's," I would use names of our principals, P.E. teacher, myself, and maybe Junie B. Jones or some other character. Then for the "did what's" I would write something funny like "flew to Mars." or "slipped on a banana peel," etc. etc. For the actual center, students would take a clipboard and a piece of paper, get the sentences strips, and make 6 complete sentences and copy them down on their paper to turn in.
     
  17. teacherbell

    teacherbell Cohort

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    Jul 17, 2006

    saraheco,
    I LOVE that center idea! I also teach first and I am going to use that this year. Thank you for sharing!
     

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