Through my window: sentence construction

Window coverUsing picture books to encourage students to build better sentences is a great exercise for small groups. In our current Stage 4 unit of Through My Window, with a mixed ability class, I have been utilising Jeannie Baker’s Window.

The class began with an activity where students visualised what they saw outside their own window, and wrote words into five columns – each representing one of the senses. In pairs, students then identified nouns and developed lists of adjectives to create a clear image. From this, the idea was for students to write sentences, although many were unable to distinguish between simple, compound and complex sentences.

Again in pairs, I distributed copies of Window and asked students to write one sentence to describe what happens on each opening. Again, many students felt this was too difficult. I then chose images from the book (found during a quick Google search) and projected these onto a screen. We discussed the following four:

overgrownScreen shot 2014-03-15 at 8.48.15 AMfootballmovingWorking in pairs, students chose different sentence fragments to create their own sentences, making sure they had a mix of simple, compound and complex sentences.

Window sentence fragments

To reinforce learning about language features and encourage students to consider how these could be used in their own writing, we sometimes finish a lesson by playing

Sentence fragment bingo

Again working in pairs, students must identify a sentence fragment with one of the features I draw from a bag.


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