Teacher confession: When students get to 2nd grade, it drives me absolutely bonkers when they are still forgetting to use a capital letter at the beginning of sentences, and punctuation at the end! I’m not even kidding, I sometimes let out a GRRRR when I see these two errors. (And my students know EXACTLY what I am growling about!) But, I’ve found some ways to eliminate this frustration in my classroom! In this post, I’m sharing my top six strategies for ensuring students are writing complete sentences every single time.
For more help with writing sentences in the 1st or 2nd grade classroom, I’ve compiled a priceless list of sentence writing advice straight from the mouths of veteran teachers! I also have a post to help out with planning mini lessons: Writing Mini Lessons That Stick.
Strategies for Writing Sentences
1- Whole Group Sentence Fixers
When my students come back from recess, they know to grab a clipboard and a sentence fixer paper.
Here’s how this activity works:
Students sit in front of my marker board and find three sentences that look like the ones pictured below. I tell the class that I have “accidentally” made these errors and I need their help to fix them. Their job is to find the errors and rewrite the sentence.
Once that is completed, they find the nouns, verbs, and adjectives and follow the directions at the top of the sheet. (If all of these parts of speech haven’t been introduced yet, focus on the parts of speech that have been introduced.)
Last, we go over the sentences together and the students have a chance to use the teacher markers to show what they know on the board for their peers to see. There’s just something about giving them the teacher’s marker that immediately boosts engagement!
2- Let’s Get Moving
It isn’t a surprise that students like (and need) a chance to move. Brain research states that when students are given a chance to use as many learning styles as possible, this increases the possibility of retention of the new skill. Why not apply this to learning about grammar? Take a look at the video below that demonstrates how we would act out how to read a sentence or passage in the classroom.
3- Seasonal Sentence Scrambles
Another favorite activity we use during literacy centers are our seasonal sentence scrambles. Students choose a bag of words, read them, arrange them to make a complete sentence, and then write the complete sentence on the recording sheet.
Skills that are practiced:
Download Sentence Scrambles HERE
4- Weekly Dictation Tests
Every Friday my students take a dictation test. They are given three sentences to write. The sentences are not given to them prior to the test. The words that are chosen for the sentences are common sight words and spelling words they have been working on throughout the week. Each word that is correctly spelled is worth a point. A point is also given for a capital letter at the beginning of the sentence and another point for a punctuation mark at the end of the sentence.
Download my free dictation test template.
5- Grammar Toothy® Activities
Toothy® is a way for your students to practice essential grammar skills in a fun and effective way. Better yet, once your students learn to play Grammar Toothy®, it becomes an independent activity that your students can use as an early finisher, literacy center, independent practice, morning work, partner game, or intervention activity.
There are two Toothy® sets that are particularly helpful with writing sentences. The Sentences Toothy® Pack and Punctuation and Conventions Toothy® packs:
- Sentences Toothy® focuses on complete sentences, types of sentences, articles, prepositions, conjunctions, nouns, verbs, and adjectives in a sentence.
Download Sentences Toothy HERE
- Punctuation and Conventions Toothy® focuses on capitalization, punctuation Marks, commas, abbreviations, contractions, and ABC order.
Download Punctuation & Conventions Toothy HERE
You can grab these packs individually, or have all of the above (plus more!) in the Grammar Toothy® Bundle.
Download Grammar Toothy HERE
6- Independent Sentence Fixers
I’ve also got a way to cut down on planning with a no prep sentence fixers pack! Check out the video below to see the printable and digital sentence fixers resource more closely.
Sentence fixers are a practical, no prep way for your students to practice capital letters, punctuation marks, and spelling of the most common sight words and CVC words. This resource includes a sentence fixers cover page, 40 pages of sentence fixers printables, and 40 pages of answer keys. These are great for daily practice or even homework! Once your students try this digital sentence fixers freebie, they will love it!
Download Sentence Fixers HERE
How to Teach Other 2nd Grade Grammar Skills:
Is it time for a new concept in grammar? We have a post for that!
1st Grade Review
Types of Sentences
Complete Sentences ~ You are here!
Irregular Plural Nouns & Irregular Verbs
Shades of Meaning-Verbs & Adjectives
Similes & Metaphors
If you found these ideas for increasing student success with writing sentences helpful, you can use the image below to pin to your Pinterest board.
This made me laugh. I teach in a multi-grade setting and two of my EIGHTH graders forget to capitalize and put end marks.
The sentence fix it is a fun way to address the errors! We also use our Scholastic News
to underline/highlight/circle by “skimming and scanning” a designated paragraph, not only for parts of speech, but sequence words, direction words, and types of sentences: command, question, exclamatory,etc.
To provide a wonderful opportunity (and I have seen immediate improvement/mastery), writing PenPal letters is an option! We had planned to begin in December, however the teacher contacted must have changed her mind. If you or another Second Grade would like to correspond 3 or 4 times before school is out, please let me know. This is a very powerful way to get kids writing and be focused on Grammar! We LOVE the Toothy Math!!