Improving and Combining Sentences: A Gradual Release of Responsibility Writing Lesson

I wanted to share today about a twenty minute lesson I did that was super effective--and reviewed two key writing skills we worked on earlier this year.
Short writing lessons where we model writing and use a gradual release of responsibility model to help students learn how to add details to their sentences and combining sentences to make compound sentences.  Great for writer's workshop or to review essential writing standards.  Third grade writing lessons, fourth grade writing lessons, fifth grade writing lessons, writing activities, writing task cards

These are:
1.  I can combine two sentences into one improved sentence.
2.  I can add details to simple sentences to make them more interesting and descriptive.

Improving and Combining Sentences to Improve Our Writing

We are starting our social issues book clubs, and each "chunk" of their reading is going to culminate in a writing reflection--and I thought it would be a great time to reinforce some of the writing and convention skills we have worked on all year from capitalization to punctuation to sentence fluency.

Today I pulled out the task cards I used earlier this year and brought out several samples that showcased both of these targets.
Short writing lessons where we model writing and use a gradual release of responsibility model to help students learn how to add details to their sentences and combining sentences to make compound sentences.  Great for writer's workshop or to review essential writing standards.  Third grade writing lessons, fourth grade writing lessons, fifth grade writing lessons, writing activities, writing task cards
I started off by doing some modeling and "thinking aloud"...I talked about how "The dog begged for food," simply doesn't give us much to visualize or to connect to--so a writer who includes that sentence isn't helping the reader in any way by giving character, setting, feeling, or sensory details.

Modeling Writing:  Gradual Release of Responsibility

We then looked at my three examples and how different they each are--but how each paints a different picture for the reader.
Short writing lessons where we model writing and use a gradual release of responsibility model to help students learn how to add details to their sentences and combining sentences to make compound sentences.  Great for writer's workshop or to review essential writing standards.  Third grade writing lessons, fourth grade writing lessons, fifth grade writing lessons, writing activities, writing task cards
We then looked at the types of words and phrases that really helped us "see" the story in our minds and highlighted them.  I sent students off to try some of their own and to then share in partners.
Short writing lessons where we model writing and use a gradual release of responsibility model to help students learn how to add details to their sentences and combining sentences to make compound sentences.  Great for writer's workshop or to review essential writing standards.  Third grade writing lessons, fourth grade writing lessons, fifth grade writing lessons, writing activities, writing task cards
 After that, we started to tackle those tricky compound and complex sentences.  I worked to model different ways to "add on" details to sentences and to combine short sentences to help our writing sound more conversational.  Again, we used highlighters to find sentences and clauses to help us decide if we needed commas for compound sentences or if we had a clause before our main sentence needed a comma to set it apart.
Short writing lessons where we model writing and use a gradual release of responsibility model to help students learn how to add details to their sentences and combining sentences to make compound sentences.  Great for writer's workshop or to review essential writing standards.  Third grade writing lessons, fourth grade writing lessons, fifth grade writing lessons, writing activities, writing task cards
Again...back to some partner writing and sharing to practice this.  After only about 25 minutes, I had done two "mini minilessons", modeled writing 6 sentences, highlighted teaching points, and students had written 4-6 sentences of their own.  Not a bad kick off to the writing we are about to do with our book clubs!
Short writing lessons where we model writing and use a gradual release of responsibility model to help students learn how to add details to their sentences and combining sentences to make compound sentences.  Great for writer's workshop or to review essential writing standards.  Third grade writing lessons, fourth grade writing lessons, fifth grade writing lessons, writing activities, writing task cards
Want to check out the task cards I use?  Just click HERE or the image below.
Short writing lessons where we model writing and use a gradual release of responsibility model to help students learn how to add details to their sentences and combining sentences to make compound sentences.  Great for writer's workshop or to review essential writing standards.  Third grade writing lessons, fourth grade writing lessons, fifth grade writing lessons, writing activities, writing task cards
Want to pin these ideas for later?  Here you go!
Short writing lessons where we model writing and use a gradual release of responsibility model to help students learn how to add details to their sentences and combining sentences to make compound sentences.  Great for writer's workshop or to review essential writing standards.  Third grade writing lessons, fourth grade writing lessons, fifth grade writing lessons, writing activities, writing task cards





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