Monday, February 25, 2013

Writing in Complete Sentences

I work in a school with a high number of nuggets who live in poverty and speak English as a second language.
(47.2% White, 46.8% Hispanic, 3.9% Multiracial, 1.6% Black as well as 79.2% Free/Reduced lunch.)
We have worked very hard to help our nuggets learn to write and speak formally (Ruby Payne's work has played a large part in the language we use with them).

School-wide we have been working on teaching our students to write answers to questions in complete sentences.
We have spent time teaching lessons on how to analyze questions by circling the question word and identifying the words from the question that they are going to use in the answer.

 They then use words from the question in their answer.

Here is an example of a nugget's work.
H means high.

The criterion for this assignment were:
High:  Use words from the question, complete sentence (capital/period), and grammatically correct.
Medium:  Didn't do one of those things.
Low:  Struggled with all three.

The question I would ask my nuggets when I graded their work was "How could you make this a high?"
It enabled them to look at their work critically and problem solve how to improve their answer (which is important for their learning and application of the skill).

Here is an example of a nugget's answer on our weekly test.
(He received no help from me during.)
It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to know that my nuggets are able to apply what I'm teaching them.

We call these questions "Constructed Response Questions".

Here are pictures of the criterion for my nuggets that are displayed in my classroom.
We are now having them prove their answers using a picture, paragraph # or page # as well.

Last week we added the "Prove It" part.
Here are some examples of nugget work from this week.

These two had it all.

 This one doesn't have a capital at the beginning.
I am a wicked stickler about that.
At this point in the year, every second grader should know that they automatically put a capital at the beginning of a sentence.

This one doesn't have proof.

This one was difficult to read because of grammar errors.

This one had a complete sentence for the answer, but not for the proof.

So, there is some of the work we've been doing with answering in complete sentences.
I can't wait to see what else my nuggets have in store for me!


Mrs. B


  1. Loved your post. Gives me some ideas on modeling how to do this. And my "nuggets'' are a different demographic than yours.

    1. Wonderful! Gotta love teacher modeling! I hope it helps your class. :)