Lynn Handshy
Apple This is Lynn Handshy. Lynn teaches first grade at Tularcitos Elementary School in Carmel Valley, California. She has written articles about the major activities and projects of her classroom. We feature those projects here on Leslie's website.

Sentence Writing: A "Play"

By Lynn Handshy

Sometimes it takes a little drama to drive home a point. So here we go, dramatizing the art of sentence expansion, first grade style!

My student's are ready for their next writing step, which is to expand sentences to enhance meaning and nterest in their stories. To get beyond "I like my dog. My dog is cute." We have extended the role of the time honored "Book Worm" to include writing triggers.

Here is what we have done.

First: We made a "Sentence Worm" with eight body parts, a head and seven additional segments each cut from a 12 x 18 piece of colorful construciton paper; a different color for each part. The head is decorated with a cheerful wormy face. The ramainaing seven body parts have trigger words printed boldly across them: "simple sentence", "who", "what", "whaere", "when", "why", and "how".

Children each hold a body part and add detail to simple sentences by asking the quesitons that are held next to the head and "simple sentence" parts. For example:

"I like my dog." May become, "Like my big brown dog named Lucy." By adding a "what" and a "who" segment.

After one sentence is expanded, children try another sikple sentence and re-sort the questions so all children have truns holding parts and asking questions. It's terrific practice and the children really learn how to ask tehmselves these quesitons when they are writing.

Give this "play" a try and watch your children's story writing grow.

Until next month,


Click here to download the PDF page for this project.