Wednesday, May 12, 2021

How To Begin Sentences/Part 2

Ahoy Mateys,  and welcome back!  Before we begin, please keep in mind that there are FREE resources available to you today! 

I am excited to share with you ideas and resources to help you teach your students additional ways to begin sentences. In February 2018, I wrote a blog post about one of the Six Traits of Writing.

My focus was on the Sentence Fluency Trait and more specifically on using a variety of sentence beginnings.
As I wrote then, one reason for varying the start of sentences is to prevent the repeated use of sentences starting with a subject followed by a predicate which becomes boring after a bit.

Those variant start ups I discussed in that much earlier post are: 

If your students haven't worked with these sentence starters, you may want to read the February, 2018 post or visit my TpT store to take a look at the resource, Sentence Fluency: How To Begin Sentences Part 1/Grades 3-6/Distance Learning.

Today, I am adding on three more categories which are more sophisticated and more difficult to comprehend.  However, when your students master these beginnings, they will be strong and interesting writers!

First is the Infinitive Phrase, "to" + verb.

In the example sentence above, the phrase, "to battle fierce fires", tells the reader why firefighters use great quantities of water.   Although the writer could have begun the sentence with its subject, "firefighters", isn't it more exciting to begin with a phrase that implies that dealing with fire is a battle?

Next is the Participial Phrase, verb + "-ing"

Using the strong verb, "battle" plus "-ing", the writer explains how firefighters conquer the fire.  Again, the sentence could have started with "the firefighters", but "battling" grabs the reader's attention.

Finally, there is the Dependent Clause, also known as the Subordinate Clause.

Before students are able to use Dependent Clauses as a sentence starter, they must understand what a clause is as well as what the difference is between a Dependent Clause and an Independent Clause.  Also, they will need to know about Subordinating Conjunctions.   

Independent Clause
Dependent Clause
More About Dependent Clauses

Subordinating Conjunctions

The example pictures above are part of a PowerPoint I created to teach these more difficult ways to start a sentence.  The slideshow is engaging and interactive.  Also, content appears in small pieces. Below you'll see the Independent Clause slide as it first appears to viewers.  After the presenter reads the information at the beginning of the slide, she then clicks the mouse to reveal what is behind the first green box.  Revealing pieces of information one at a time helps to keep students focused.

Clicking the picture will take you to this resource in my TpT store. 

Along with the PowerPoint, I have provided practice sheets for students to write sentences beginning with these three starters I have shared with you.

Also, I have a FREE Sorting Activity resource in which students sort sentence task cards into the three starter categories: Infinitive Phrase, Participial Phrase, and Dependent Clause. (Click on the picture below to see the product in my store.)

In addition, there is another FREE Sorting Activity for the first four sentence starters: Adjectives, "-ly" Adverbs, When Phrases, and Where Phrases.  (Click on the picture below to see the product in my store.)

Thank you for docking at my blog pier.  Writing for all pirate teachers sailing the many seas of education is a pleasure, and I hope you found this post helpful.

Happy Sailing!


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