Sentence Building—Activity Two

These exercises do not take long. You can either do them as I have them laid out, one day at a time, or do several in one day.

This activity presumes some knowledge in the following parts of speech: adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions.

A thesaurus is required for this activity.

The starting sentence structure is:
 subject | verb 
As words are added to the sentence, the structure becomes something like:
 determiner | descriptive adjective | subject | verb | adverb 
(A prepositional phrase is added somewhere in the sentence.)

Day One

Adjectives

Write this sentence on your board and read it aloud to your children. Have your children open their notebooks and write the sentence on the next blank page.

Cat runs.

Tense: Be sure to mention to your students that this sentence is present tense, or ask them what tense it is.

Resources to have on hand:

  • A thesaurus [might not be used today]

Explain to the children that they are to:

Examples

1. Your cute cat runs.

2. My weird cat runs.

Day Two

Adverbs

Today the children will describe how the cat runs. They will chose a synonym for either fast or slow. They will convert their word to an adverb and add it to their sentence.

Resources to have on hand:

  • A thesaurus [should be used today]

Tell the children that the cat is either running fast or slow. Let them choose which word (fast or slow.) Have them look up the word in a thesaurus.

If they chose fast they should find words like these: quick, rapid, swift, speedy, express, expeditious, accelerated (all of these words are adjectives.)

If they chose slow they should find words like these: crawling, plodding, shuffling, dawdling, lagging, hesitant, faltering, pausing, unhurried, sluggish, slothful (all of these words are adjectives.)

They should choose the synonym and then convert it to an adverb by adding -ly to their word. They should now rewrite their sentence with the adverb added.

Revised Examples

1. Your cute cat runs swiftly.

2. My weird cat runs swiftly.

Day Three

Adding a Prepositional Phrase

Resources to have on hand:

Today the children will create a prepositional phase for their sentence:

Examples of prepositional phrases:

  • around the table
  • over the wall
  • behind the door
  • between the chair legs

Once they are happy with the prepositional phrase that they have made up, have them rewrite their sentence, adding the prepositional phrase.

Examples:

1. Your cute cat runs swiftly among the bushes.

2. My weird cat runs swiftly into the night.

Day Four

Revising

This step is necessary if the children want to improve their sentences. 

Resources to have on hand:

  • A thesaurus

Things they could do depending on their skill level:

  • They can change their sentence in any way today.

Revised Examples:

1. Swiftly, your cute cat runs among the bushes.

2. Into the night my weird cat runs swiftly.

Extra Sentences

Activity Two can be repeated as needed. Choose from the sentences on this page to repeat the lessons in activity two. You must also decide what descriptive words the children will choose from to look up in their thesaurus [as explained on day two]. These words do not always have to be opposites [antonyms].
If you wish to make sentences, the sentence structure is:
| Subject | Action Verb [either past or present tense]|

Girl laughed. words for day two: loud, soft

Boy yelled. words for day two: harsh, happy

Man walked. words for day two: swift, slow, urgent

Woman sings. words for day two: bad, excellent, soft

Puppy jumps. words for day two: playful, happy

Fire burns. words for day two: hot, cheerful

Grass grows. words for day two: fast, slow, tall,

Floor creaked. words for day two: strange, loud, sudden

About the Examples

In all of the examples, number one was work by my daughter and number two was work by my son. When we started this, # 1 was probably in grade 3, and if so, her brother, # 2, was in grade 6. We did the exercises off and on over the course of several years.

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