Most kids love to draw. Most kids, however, do not love grammar and parts of speech.
But what if the child could draw while he’s working on grammar or parts of speech? This lesson, simply called Sticker Sentences, is oh-so-very popular because it does just that. Sticker Sentences can be used for children who are just learning how to write sentences and children who are learning their parts of speech.
I’ve even used it countless times for children who have already learned their parts of speech, but oftentimes have moments of resistance to complete work in the classroom. I think of it as a, “let’s meet in the middle” kinda work. For the more resistant, high-spirited, or special needs child, I focus primarily on the art work and put less emphasis (but still requiring completion) on the sentence.
So, all this talk and you may be wondering how to actually do the lesson. Here goes! You can find the parts of speech sentence strip print-outs in my shop, here.
Objective: to learn the parts of speech and sentence structure.
Deeper Objective: to creatively learn the parts of speech and sentence structure using both sides of the brain: art, language, analyzing, mindfulness, meanwhile allowing independence in creating their own visuals to gain language and communication skills.
- varieties of stickers (you can go with a seasonal theme, or just have a hodge-podge of choices)
- parts of speech sentence strips
- journal or looseleaf journal writing page
- colored pencil
- tape or glue stick
Place all of your materials on your rug or table. For setup purposes, I will either have the whole basket of stickers and cut-up sentence strips on the tray to take to the work area, or they can choose both on the shelf. It really depends on the year and flow of work cycle.
This series of photos will show the child using a sentence strip for beginning parts of speech (since it has the description above the name). Tape the sentence strip on the first few lines of the journal lines. The bottom lines will be used to rewrite the sentence.
Tell the child that they get to make a picture using a sticker. I almost always have the child use ONE sticker, and then they draw around the sticker to make a picture. But in this case, we had a ton of Christmas stickers, so it was nice to use them all up. I always ask the child to take a moment to look at her blank slate and imagine what kind of picture she wants to create. Then when she’s ready, “go for it.”
Once the sticker(s) are in place, the child can begin to draw the scene. Some children really want to rush through this part. I encourage them to slow down and really consider what kind of picture they want to draw. Sometimes I’ll even say, “If you were that sticker, what would you want to see around you.”
Once the child has her picture drawn and is happy with her creation, we can now talk about what she wants to say about the picture – in ONE sentence! The first thing I will ask is what the SUBJECT of the picture is about… is it the Christmas tree? The candy cane? Santa? The snowflakes? When the child chooses the subject, I’ll say that we will consider that as the NOUN of the sentence.
I’ll ask the child how she wants to describe the snowflake… what is this snowflake like? Is it funny (they laugh at that.. a funny snowflake?? Ms. Miranda, puh-lease). We’ll also talk about whether it is A snowflake, THE snowflake, or AN snowflake. It helps for the child to have some kind of background knowledge or exposure to articles… and it’s fairly easy for them because there are only THREE to remember!
Ok, kiddo. We have half of our sentence (I won’t mention grammar and spelling mistakes quite yet). “So.. what did the snowflake DO? Let’s add some action to this sentence!”
And finally, where (or when) did this snowflake fall?
Now that we have our sentence written on the sentence strip, I’ll either go back and talk about spelling and grammar – or not… depending on the capability of the student. If they are minor spelling mistakes, I’ll go back with them…
Snowflake is only going to be one word, and we don’t have to add a magic -e at the end.
And then there are those mistakes that the child might slap her forehead, like, “oh yea, I knew that!”
Now the child can take her time writing – in her best handwriting (because many will want to rush through the writing process) – the sentence on the lines below the sentence strip.
The fox and animals picture uses just one sticker. I don’t always require the child to use the sticker as the main subject. I like to think of them as something like a story starter.
The magical unicorn picture uses the advanced parts of speech sentence strips. This is great for a younger student to see an older student’s work because they will most often be able to mentally match the colors and parts of the sentence to their own beginner’s sentence strip.
Others worth seeing. The sentence strips in these journal entries are from an older source I found years ago. So long ago, that even after racking my brain I still can’t remember the clever human who created them. This is how long I’ve used them in my classrooms 🙂
If the child is a struggling writer, consider not using the sentence strip at all.
For the racecar picture, this child had more to say and was quite adamant to have it written down. So, I wrote the first two sentences, with the bargain of his writing the final sentence (that ended up matching most of the first sentence). Given this child’s history, we were both VERY proud of this work!
Always remember to FOLLOW THE CHILD. Whatever method you choose to use, remember to HAVE FUN WITH IT! If it’s too much for the child, let him take a break, then come back.