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We celebrate teachers who have created their own websites about teaching writing:


Corbett's
Always Write
Website
(Grades K-12)



Jodie's
Start to Learn
Website

(Kindergarten)



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Making Mathematicians
Website

(Grades K-12)



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Learning is Messy
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(Grades 4-6)



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Write in the Middle
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(Grades 6-8)

Writing Traits: Teaching the Skills of Sentence Fluency
teacher-created resources and lessons...all focused on skills that make up the sentence fluency trait

A modest request from WritingFix: If you appreciate the resources at this website, consider saying "thank you" to the Northern Nevada Writing Project--sponsors of WritingFix--by visiting their Publication Page and ordering any of their wonderful print guides, like their 196-page resource, the Going Deep with 6 Trait Language print guide (pictured at right). Some of the Going Deep with 6 Trait Language guide's resources can be freely accessed below on this page, but the guide features many, many more trait-friendly ideas, lessons, and resources that can only be found in the printed version. All proceeds from guide sales help this website grow.

Each year, the NNWP offers inservice courses designed to help teachers make new and exciting connections with the six traits of writing. The goal of these professional development experiences is to help educators see the value of using traits as their classroom language during writing instruction. When both teachers and students "own" the language of traits enough to discuss them throughout the writing process, writing improves dramatically, and learners can "go deep" as they discover their personal strengths and struggles that come with the process of writing.

Sentence Fluency is just one of the six writing traits. In Nevada, where only four traits (ideas, organization, voice, and conventions) are "officially" assessed on the fifth grade state writing test, you can elements of sentence fluency embedded on the state's conventions rubric. So, as we say in our trait trainings, even though sentence fluency doesn't have its own rubric on the state test, teaching it well can improve students' convention scores.

Sentence Fluency is a complex trait that should be discussed, explored, and further developed every year that students learn to write in school; both kindergartners and high school seniors can be taught to think about developmentally appropriate skills that are associated with sentence fluency. This page contains sentence fluency lessons and resources that we consider appropriate for sharing with third graders and up. If you are working with primary writers and the six traits, be sure to visit WritingFix's 6 Traits and Primary Writing Homepage for lessons designed specifically for those grade levels.

Sentence Fluency Topics and Sub-Skills Explored on this Page

WritingFix's 6-Trait Poster Set
WritingFix's Organization Post-Its

A Free Poster Resource for your Classroom
Organization is represented by the color orange on our poster set.

Just as white clouds float peacefully in the sky, or thunder clouds arrive with alarm, sentences and phrases float through a piece of writing. Do you want your SENTENCE FLUENCY to be subtle or alarming?

  • Click here to open and print WritingFix's seven-page poster set, inspired by the "Building a House" metaphor created by NNWP consultants Dena Harrison, Corbett Harrison, Mary Dunton, Nancy Thomas, and Vivian Olds.

WritingFix offers a free template of Sentence Fluency Post-It sized notes. These can either be printed on orange colored paper and cut out and stapled to students' drafts, or you can--if you dare--attempt to print them on real 3 x 3 Post-It Notes.

  • Click here to open/print a sheet of six sentence fluency revision post-its.
  • Click here to visit WritingFix's Post-It homepage, where you can find instruction on printing our post-its on actual Post-It notes.

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Building a 6-Trait Mentor Text library for your classroom or your school's library?
"Mentor Text" Suggestions for the Trait of Sentence Fluency
(Click here to access WritingFix's entire bibliography of cited picture books and chapter books.)

Sentence Fluency "mentor texts" that are focused on during the NNWP's annual
6-Trait Inservice Classes for Teachers:
(Visit our 6-Trait Homepage to learn more about our inservice classes.)

Each year, the NNWP sponsors a variety of inservice classes and workshops that focus on helping teachers make 6 traits the language of their classrooms during writing instruction. A variety of presenters share K-12 classroom ideas with each workshop's audience, and--as teachers are wont to do--the participants madly write down the names of mentor texts shared by the presenters.

Here is a mentor text shared by our presenters that our participants are always happy they have written down the title for:

Improving one's sentence fluency requires examination of one's own use of writing craft. Craft is best taught during mini-lessons for writer's workshop when students have actual pieces of writing they are working on. Ralph Fletcher and Joann Portalupi have a powerful book on how to teach craft with authentic pieces of writing.

Shared during both our Teaching Revision Workshop as well as our 6-Trait Workshop, this book provides rationale and lessons that teach sentence fluency as well as other traits.

Check out Craft Lessons at Amazon.com.

Have a favorite book not mentioned on this page for teaching sentence fluency? Send us the title at webmaster@writingfix.com.

Sentence Fluency "mentor texts" cited in the NNWP's
Going Deep with 6 Trait Language Guide:
(Click here to learn how to order this amazing resource from the NNWP.)

Sentence Fluency "mentor texts" cited in the NNWP's
6 by 6 Guide: Trait Writing with Primary Writers:
(Click here to learn how to order this amazing resource from the NNWP.)

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Sentence Fluency Sub-Skill #1: Varying Sentence Beginnings
Each of the six writing traits--sentence fluency included--can be broken down into multiple smaller writing skills that--when working together--make-up the bigger trait. Below, find some of our webmaster's favorite resources and lessons that focus specifically on just one of sentence fluency's sub-skills: using a variety of words and phrases to begin sentences. A great writing teacher finds the time to explore as many of each trait's subskills as possible, helping students understand that each trait is built from multiple skills.
Compare these two Mentor Text Lessons
(inspired by the same amazing picture book...)
Sentence Starting Resources from the NNWP's 6 Trait Guide
(Check out WritingFix's entire Chapter Book-Inspired Writing Lesson Collection)

A Narrative Lesson:
Special Places
to Love


inspired by
All the Places to Love
by Patricia MacLachlan

A Revision Lesson:
Introductory Prepositions
& Series of Three


inspired by
All the Places to Love
by Patricia MacLachlan

A Complimentary Lesson:
Showing with
Participial Phrases...


inspired by
Dancing in the Wings
by Debbie Allen

 

Complimentary Notebook Resources:

The lesson (at left) and the three resources above are just a few of the sentence fluency resources found in the NNWP's Going Deep with 6 Trait Language Guide. You can order a complete copy of the guide at the NNWP's website; proceeds from the sales support the WritingFix website.


Click on the lesson titles or the book covers to access the complete lesson at WritingFix.

Story Starters/Sentence Starters
(Visit WritingFix's entire Story-Starter Collection)
Who/What/Where/When Sentence Creating Games
(Visit WritingFix's entire right-brained prompt collection)
Explore three different techniques for starting sentences with the three interactive story starter prompts above. Teach students how to consider moving adverbs to the beginnings of sentences with the eight who/what/when/where games at right.

Ideas Shared from Teacher Users of WritingFix: Teaching Students to Use a Variety of Sentence Beginnings
(WritingFix honors those users who share back with our site. Share a favorite activity write-up and earn a free NNWP resource for your classroom.)

Terry Osbourne, an Oregon teacher, shared the following idea with us. We sent her the NNWP's Going Deep with 6 Trait Language Guide as our thanks for her being so willing to give back to our site. Shared ideas can be directed to: webmaster@writingfix.com.

"Dear WritingFix,

"I have an idea for sentence fluency I'd like to share that works pretty well. It makes use of two mentor texts.

"When I am teaching the importance of varying sentence lengths and sentences' beginning words, I do a compare and contrast activity that uses these two titles: Moving Day by Anthony G. Brandon is not a poorly written book, but it's one of those leveled readers for novices that repeats and repeats and repeats. When you compare this leveled reader to The Leaving Morning by Angela Johnson, you see and hear such a dramatic difference in the power of well-crafted sentences. FYI: Johnson's book is unfortunately out of print, but maybe you can find at your public library, or--like me--you can shop for an affordable used copy on-line. I paid $22 for my copy, and it really is a good investment. Johnson is a master at sentence fluency.

"Now I have many students who have never actually moved, but all of them have had to leave someplace (a vacation destination, a grandparent's house after a weekend visit, etc.) and didn't want to. Before looking at both books, I prompt the students to write about a time they had to leave and they didn't want to. I let them all write a short paragraph that attempts to capture the sights and circumstances of having to leave.

"After doing the compare/contrast of the two books, I challenge my students to rewrite their "leave when you didn't want to" drafts, trying to make some of their sentences be just as beautiful as Angela Johnson's. To do this, while they are rewriting, you will need to have students listen to (many times) sentences from The Leaving Morning that you find particularly wonderful."

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Sentence Fluency Sub-Skill #2: Varying Sentence Lengths
Each of the six writing traits--sentence fluency included--can be broken down into multiple smaller writing skills that--when working together--make-up the bigger trait. Below, find some of our webmaster's favorite resources and lessons that focus specifically on one type of tool that helps students understand sentence fluency better: using a variety of sentence lengths in a piece of writing. A great writing teacher finds the time to explore as many of each trait's subskills as possible, helping students understand that each trait is built from multiple skills.


A Picture Book Revision Lesson
(Check out WritingFix's entire Revision Resource Collection)
Chapter Book Sentence Fluency Lessons
(Check out WritingFix's entire Chapter Book-Inspired Writing Lesson Collection)

 

A Revision Lesson:
Analyze First Words & Sentence Lengths

inspired by
Owl Moon
by Jane Yolen

Lesson:
Show What Your
Mind Sees


inspired by
The Twits
by Roald Dahl

 

Lesson:
A Hurricane
Blowing In


inspired by
The Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan


Click on the lesson titles or the book covers to access the complete lesson at WritingFix.

Ideas Shared from Teacher Users of WritingFix: Teaching Simple & Complex Sentence Structures
(WritingFix honors those users who share back with our site. Share a favorite activity write-up and earn a free NNWP resource for your classroom.)

Share with us! Earn a free classroom resource! Teaching Simple & Complex Sentence Structures is a section we're developing here at this sentence fluency resource page. We're looking for a teacher user of WritingFix who is willing to share an activity on this topic that can be posted here. Please refer to the other sentence fluency sections' "Ideas from Teacher Users" to see what we think a high-quality submission sounds like. Shared ideas can be directed to: webmaster@writingfix.com. If we post it here, you'll be able to choose from any of the NNWP Publications for us to send to your classroom.

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Sentence Fluency Sub-Skill #3: Varying Transitions and Conjunctions

Each of the six writing traits--sentence fluency included--can be broken down into multiple smaller writing skills that--when working together--make-up the bigger trait. Below, find some of our webmaster's favorite resources and lessons that focus specifically on two closely-related sentence fluency sub-skills: using a variety of transitions and conjunctions . A great writing teacher finds the time to explore as many of each trait's subskills as possible, helping students understand that each trait is built from multiple skills.


Two Picture Book-Inspired Pacing/Sequencing Lessons
(Check out WritingFix's entire Picture Book-Inspired Writing Lesson Collection)
A Chapter Book Lesson & Resources for Transitions
(Check out WritingFix's entire Chapter Book-Inspired Writing Lesson Collection)

Lesson title:
Going beyond "and then..."
Adverbial Conjunctions


inspired by
Fortunately
by Remy Charlip

Lesson title:
The Five-Transition
Adventure Planner


inspired by
Meanwhile...
by Jules Feiffer

Lesson title:
Moving through
the Machine


inspired by
Homer Price
by Robert McCloskey

 

Resources for Student Notebooks:


Click on the lesson titles or the book covers to access the complete lesson at WritingFix.

Ideas Shared from Teacher Users of WritingFix: Teaching Students about Transitions
(WritingFix honors those users who share back with our site. Share a favorite activity write-up and earn a free NNWP resource for your classroom.)

Share with us! Earn a free classroom resource! Teaching Simple & Complex Sentence Structures is a section we're developing here at this sentence fluency resource page. We're looking for a teacher user of WritingFix who is willing to share an activity on this topic that can be posted here. Please refer to the other sentence fluency sections' "Ideas from Teacher Users" to see what we think a high-quality submission sounds like. Shared ideas can be directed to: webmaster@writingfix.com. If we post it here, you'll be able to choose from any of the NNWP Publications for us to send to your classroom.

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Sentence Fluency Sub-Skill #4: Sentence Rhythm
Each of the six writing traits--sentence fluency included--can be broken down into multiple smaller writing skills that--when working together--make-up the bigger trait. Below, find some of our webmaster's favorite resources and lessons that focus specifically on one of sentence fluency's sub-skills: studying the rhythm that crafted sentences make. A great writing teacher finds the time to explore as many of each trait's subskills as possible, helping students understand that each trait is built from multiple skills.


Four Picture Book-Inspired "Rhythm Impersonation" Lessons
(Check out WritingFix's entire Picture Book-Inspired Writing Lesson Collection)

Lesson title:
School Song Parodies

inspired by
Take Me out of the Bathtub
by Alan Katz

Lesson title:
Ain't Gonna Rain No More!

inspired by
I Ain't Gonna Paint No More!
by Karen Beaumont

Lesson title:
Animals Not to [Verb] with...

inspired by
Don't Take Your Snake for a Stroll
by Karin Ireland

 

Lesson title:
Impersonating Great Poets

inspired by
Science Verse
by Jon Scieszka


Click on the lesson titles or the book covers to access the complete lesson at WritingFix.

Two Popular WritingFix Poetry & Rhythm Lessons
(Visit WritingFix's Poetry Lesson Collection)
Two Rhythm Lessons for Primary Writers
(Visit WritingFix's Primary Lesson Collection)

Lesson title:
School Song Parodies

inspired by
Family Reunion
by Mary Quattlebaum

Lesson title:
Poems of Condition

inspired by
If
by Rudyard Kipling

Lesson title:
"I Caught It!"

inspired by
I Was Walking Down the Road
by Sarah E. Barchas

 

Lesson title:
We Saw Him at the Zoo

inspired by
Is Your Mama a Llama?
by Deborah Guarino


Ideas Shared from Teacher Users of WritingFix: Fun with Rhythm or Repetition!
(WritingFix honors those users who share back with our site. Share a favorite activity write-up and earn a free NNWP resource for your classroom.)

Share with us! Earn a free classroom resource! Teaching Simple & Complex Sentence Structures is a section we're developing here at this sentence fluency resource page. We're looking for a teacher user of WritingFix who is willing to share an activity on this topic that can be posted here. Please refer to the other sentence fluency sections' "Ideas from Teacher Users" to see what we think a high-quality submission sounds like. Shared ideas can be directed to: webmaster@writingfix.com. If we post it here, you'll be able to choose from any of the NNWP Publications for us to send to your classroom.

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Copyright 2014 - Corbett & Dena Harrison, Educational Consultants, LLC, and WritingFix- All Rights Reserved.
Please, share the resources you find on these pages freely with fellow educators, but please leave any page citations on handouts intact, and please give authorship credit to the cited teachers who created these wonderful lessons and resources. Thanks in advance for honoring other educators' intellectual property.

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