On Fridays, we have started having Sentence Wars where students work together to create the most correctly written sentences using the focus skill of the week. In order for a sentence to “count,” it must be written correctly including punctuation. Winning students get to put their names on the door as recognition.
Once the students turn their sentences in, they continue using the focus skill in their writing journals. First, they find examples of the focus skill in previous journal entries or they edit a previous entry to include the focus skill. Then, they have time to write a new new entry or to continue the previous entry making sure to include examples of the focus skill. While they are writing, I have time to check their sentences to find the winning group. This last time, we had a group in one class that had 12 out of 15 correct sentences, but we had one group that had 11 sentences in total and all were correct. To celebrate the care that the second group took, members of both groups were able to put their names on the door.
To increase the challenge, I am going to start giving my advanced classes subjects and verbs that are more random. This will force them to write better sentences as they have to provide more context to their sentences.