In a few weeks at our Key Strategies For Improving Writing workshop, we’ll be at it again: emphasising the need for explicit instruction coupled with frequent, guided writing practice. One of the strategies we’ll be discussing is sentence grids – a three by three grid which distils different sentence types students can use in their writing. See an image below and download the full resource from here (Sentence Grid):
Often our resources and strategies at Ticking Mind focus on different sentence structures (like our Sentence Parts resource – Sentence parts updated), but this sentence grid specifies different focuses students can have in their sentences as well as the different structures they can employ for each type of focus. This resource can be used as part of strategy called Quick Three – where students need to write three sequential sentences in the genre they’re focusing on. The example sentence grid above is for creative. In this process, routinely at the start, middle or end of lessons, students would need to write a Quick Three in response to a general prompt such as:
- Write a quick creative three about lunchtime today
- Write a quick persuasive three about why we should get rid of unhealthy food at the canteen
- Write a quick analytic three about why the protagonist acts the way they do in the text
Whatever is the prompt for students’ Quick Threes, they need to follow these rules:
1. Write three sentences
2. The three sentences must follow on from each other
3. Each sentence must have a different focus
4. Each sentence must have a different structure
This means that students will have to write three sentences and employ a focus and style from each column and row. An example Quick Three about lunchtime might look like this:
Hunger gnawed at my stomach. With a rush of blood, I tore my sandwich open. The smell of the bacon sandwich wafted up, making my mouth water and my stomach growl with impatience.
These are the sentence focuses and styles employed – not that students can use focuses and styles in any order:
- Idea simple: Hunger gnawed at my stomach.
- Relate with intro: With a rush of blood, I tore my sandwich open.
- Describe with add on: The smell of the bacon sandwich wafted up, making my mouth water and my stomach growl with impatience.