1. Make three or four sets of alphabet cards ahead of time. There should be one letter on each card. Shuffle them and put them face down in a pile.
2. Decide on the length of the sentence. For example, if students are fifth graders, the average age would be ten. So put ten blank lines on the board. Each blank line stands for a word.
3. Each student has a paper and pencil on his desk. The students draw the same number of lines on their papers. The whole class works on this at the same time.
4. Call on one student to pick a letter card. Let's say he chooses a "g". He may go to the board and put it at the beginning of any of the blank lines.
5. All the students must put that same letter on the same blank line at their seats.
6. Repeat this process until there is a letter at the beginning of each line. There will now be letters to begin ten words. See the diagram below.
m_____ o_____ g_____ b_____ e_____ s_____ p_____ n_____ l_____ t_____
7. Next, the students must create words that start with each of those letters, and the words must make a complete sentence that makes sense. You may want to say that no names of people are allowed.
Here is a possible sentence for the above configuration. "My old grandfather began eating snap peas near lunch time."
8. The first student to finish and have a correct sentence is the winner of that round. He writes his sentence on the board for the class to see.
9. Shuffle the cards and start again until all students in the class have had a chance to pick a card.
Home-school students could play this with a parent or sibling, and race to see who makes a sentence first. Don't fool yourself if you as a parent are trying to do this. It's not always easy!
Pick different lengths of sentences. Sometimes a short sentence can be more difficult to think of than a longer one.
Choose small rewards for the winners. Maybe they will get a free homework pass or a good behavior ticket.
Jessica Gerald has been an elementary school teacher for over thirty years, and is the publisher of the website http://www.oldfashionedhomemaking.com.
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