Writer’s Workshop was hands down my favorite part of the day while in the classroom. The challenge of turning my students into great writers was something I looked forward to every day. Unfortunately, writing didn’t come easy to a lot of my students. Sentence building seemed to be the hardest part for some of them. There were so many times when I would see my little learners become frustrated. Writing just doesn’t come naturally to a lot of students.
A Writing Strategy That Works!
One strategy I used in my classroom that brought the most success to my students was the Gradual Release Model. If you’re not familiar with this model, you must continue reading!!
“I do..” This is where lots of modeling takes place. It’s the most important part of this strategy. The more you model, the easier it becomes later on for your students. I suggest practicing this part of the strategy during whole group instruction and possibly during small group instruction, if needed. I would also avoid moving on to the next step in the strategy until you feel your students are ready.
“We do..” Once your students seem to have a better understanding of the skill you’re teaching, it’s time to move on to the next step. “We do” is just as it says- we practice the strategy or skill together as a group. This is an exciting part for your students! They absolutely love getting up and showing off their knowledge with the class. This is even a good time to partner students and practice the skill you’re teaching.
“You do..” This is their time to shine! Because you spent so much time modeling, your students are ready to show you what they’ve learned. And this doesn’t have to be a pencil and paper activity. Get creative and have fun with it! The more hands-on the activity, the more engagement you’ll see!
My Special Valentines
Celebrating Valentine’s Day: My Special Valentine’s is one of my favorite books to use when using the Gradual Release Model, and it’s perfect to use when modeling sentence building. The repetition of sentences makes it easy when modeling this skill.
First, I start with reading the book in whole group instruction. This is a great time to have an interactive activity to model the sentence structure of the story. I personally love any pocket chart activity when modeling sentence building!
After I feel comfortable with the modeling, I give my learners a little more independence. They love this part because it means partner work! I like to pair my students with this next activity. There are tons of ways you can pair your students, and I don’t have one specific way. It just depends on my observation of the class.
This hands-on partner activity is a sentence scramble. I took sentences from the story, and each pair of students has to put the words together to create a complete sentence. The best part of this activity is to see the success of my students, the smiles and the whispered cheering when they create the correct sentence.
Once they feel ready to move on their own, I provide them with their own sentence scramble. The best part? They get to add their own words to the sentence! This is a good, quick assessment to check for understanding. I even included a section to practice with visualization!
Writer’s Workshop was a must in my classroom, and the growth I saw from my students amazed me. It definitely made my teacher heart happy!
To get the FREE sentence building printable, click on the link below!
Interested in more Valentine’s Day themed activities? Check out these fun packs from my TpT store!