Writing Complex Sentences is always a hard lesson. Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to do a training with 3 second grade classes in Roanoke, Virginia.
I usually work with K-1 classes, but had a great time with these students. The teachers were worried about their sentence structure being too simple.
SOOO, we started with simple sentences…and made our sentences HIGH FIVE worthy.
Complex Sentences: What are High Five Sentences?
As you would suspect…high five sentences are so great, you want to give someone a high-five.
During this one day lesson, we challenged students to High Five Sentences…supporting them all the way.
We broke the students into partners and we gave them a Who? and a Did What? puzzle.
Acknowledging that we had the makings of a good sentence, these sentences were deemed “kindergarten sentences” by the second graders. We needs to amp up the sentence before we could call them High Five second grade sentences.
First, we added more details to the Who? part of the sentence.
We added a gold piece of puzzle and added adjectives. These students decided the lion was BIG and MEAN. Once we added the gold puzzle, we decided we only had a High 2 Sentence (whomp, whomp).
Complex sentences step-by-step
Next, we added a purple puzzle piece. Where did your lion roar? Where did the mom bake?
Where did the sister sing? We encouraged phrases like “at the zoo” or “in the jungle.”
They were careful to match their Where? puzzle to their Who? A dolphin needs to be in an ocean, in the sea, or in an aquarium.
We had the students close their eyes and visualize their Who? to make a great sentence.
They were also asked to try their Where? piece at the beginning and at the end of the sentence. Where did it make the best sentence? But alas, these sentences were only High 3 Sentences.
Next, we added a blue paper and talked about When? words.
The discussion about time words included days of the weeks, months of the year, actual times (10:00), today, yesterday, tomorrow, at night, and in the morning.
We also had a discussion about where the When? could be in the sentence.
Again, they were asked to move this puzzle piece around and see where they wanted this piece to go.
The students were starting to get excited about their sentences. We were getting closer: Who? Did What? Where? When? Clearly, a High 4 Sentence.
Finally, the Why?
I think this can be the most fun puzzle piece. It is the amazing way to figure out just what they are thinking.
We could also move this puzzle piece around…decide where it makes the best sentence.
A blue car crashed…because he was going too fast. The dolphin jumped…because he needed to get some air.
The nice grandma baked…because her grandkids loved cookies. We asked the students in the class to close their eyes and let their classmates sentences make a great picture in their head.
They were respectful of each other and commented about the sentences. We counted the Who? Did What? Where? When? and the Why? We had five! We had made a HIGH FIVE sentence. So, we did what we needed to do…we gave our partners a High Five.
It was a great lesson.
**This was one lesson in a series of lessons. Students will obviously need several days with this. They can also dissect sentences by circling, underlining, and distinguishing each of the 5 parts of the High Five Sentence. It is also obvious that ALL sentences in their writing cannot be a High Five Sentence. One idea was choosing 1 sentence from a piece of writing to revise it into a High Five Sentence.