Sentence Lifting (click to see instructions and example) is a whole class instructional activity that takes 15 minutes to complete and is designed to be used twice per week as direct instruction in grammar, mechanics, usage, and spelling. Unlike traditional Daily Oral Language, Sentence Lifting uses both model sentences and error analysis to teach these skills. Using exemplary literature and student writing, students will practice emulating these these “mentor texts” and also practice editing sentence errors. Using current writing samples from literature and student work teaches grammar and mechanics in the context of authentic writing.
1. Keep a notepad handy to copy down model sentences from current literature or student writing that serve as examples of exceptional mechanics, spelling, grammar/usage.
2. Prepare an overhead transparency with three sentences containing the mechanics, spelling, grammar/usage skills that you wish to teach with errors that you wish to analyze. Add on any model sentences that you wish to use to the appropriate categories. Prepare another transparency with three Dictations to test the each of the skills. Of course, you can use the board, poster paper, SMART board® an LCD or opaque projector instead of the overhead.
3. Copy, run-off, and distribute the Sentence Lifting Worksheets (see link above). After the first worksheet, older students can certainly use their own binder paper to replicate these worksheets.
4. Display the overhead transparency, and read the mechanics sentence(s) aloud exactly as written (including mistakes). Ask, “What do you see?” Encourage specific comments about what is good and what needs revision in the sentence(s). Remind students to confine their comments to the skills covered in that category.
5. Spend about three minutes discussing the mechanics sentence(s). With an erasable marker, make editing marks and revisions on the mechanics sentence errors. Also, write down any rules and examples that you wish to emphasize in a concise and memorable form on the Rules Reminder section.
6. Instruct your students to write down all Rules Reminders in that column of the Sentence Lifting Worksheet as you discuss the mechanics sentences. Students may choose to write down examples, as well.
7. Spend the same amount of time (three minutes) discussing the spelling sentence(s) and about four minutes discussing the grammar/usage sentence(s). Some sentences will take more time and some will take less.
8. Turn off the projector and dictate three Dictations sentences that will test your students’ understanding of the skills they have learned. Instruct your students to reference their Rules Reminders notes as they write their sentences in the Dictations column of their Sentence Lifting Worksheet.
9. When finished, turn on the projector and display the Dictations transparency. Have the students proofread their own work, marking and correcting any errors with a colored pen or pencil. Tell students that they will earn back points for any of their errors, if they correct them.
10. Collect the Sentence Lifting Worksheets once a week to record student scores.
Teaching Grammar and Mechanics provides a coherent scope and sequence of 64 Sentence Lifting lessons with Teacher Tips and Hints for the grammatically-challenged. The mechanics and grammar skills complement those found in the 72 TGM Worksheets that target the diagnostic needs indicated by the multiple choice TGM Grammar and Mechanics Diagnostic Assessments. The Sentence Lifting spelling skills emphasize the spelling rules found in the companion work, Teaching Spelling and Vocabulary. Both curricula are designed to require little or no teacher-prep and are easily incorporated within a literature and writing-rich teaching plan.