Seriously, would you read this post if it started out like this?
Students should write good sentences. They should use good words. They should write long sentences.
Clearly, learning to expand sentences and choose more precise words is an important part of becoming a good writer. Not only that, but these skills are also part of the Language Common Core Standards. That is why I created three sets of task cards to help students develop this skill. The sets vary by grade level, but there is some overlap, so you will want to choose the set(s) that work best for your students.
Before letting your students loose with these cards, be sure they have had some practice expanding sentences. One easy way to do this is to write a simple sentence on the board and work together as a class to add elements to the sentence to expand it. You may also want to practice replacing some verbs and adjectives with more precise words. Students can follow along on individual white boards (which works especially well for this, since they are easy to erase). A second step can be to have students edit the sentence on their own and then share their sentences. It is fun to see the different ways the sentence can be changed.
The first set is for grades 1-2 (although it could be useful in third, as well). The sentences are simple, and there are blanks that show the students where the words should be added or red to show which word should be changed. There are two different student answer sheets for different grade levels, as well as three challenge cards to extend the activity.
The second set is for grades 2-4. I actually made this set first, but then I had requests for the other grade levels, so I made those, too. This is similar to the first set, except that the students do not have blanks to tell them where to add the extra words, and they are required to do more to change each sentence. Further, as can be seen in the picture below, you can differentiate using Challenge Card 1 to add a prepositional phrase to each answer. Two other challenge cards are also included.
The third set is for grades 4-8. I thought Super Sentences was a little babyish for middle school, so I changed the name to Sentence Stretchers. In some ways this is my favorite set, because it is totally open-ended. Students can add and replace to their hearts’ content, which is sure to lead to some really creative and fun sentences! Further, this set also comes with three challenge cards. The first one, as you can see below, requires students to create compound sentences.
Each set comes with teacher instructions, 32 task cards, 3 challenge cards, student answer sheets, and answer keys. All that for just $2.75!
Never used task cards before? Totally Task Cards will tell you everything you need to know!