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Lesson Plan

Sentence Train


Subject

English Language Arts


Description

This lesson is intended for primary level students who have special needs. 

In this lesson, the students will use a graphic organizer to compose a complete sentence using an article, adjective, noun, verb and adverb. The students will observe and participate in a basic sentence writing activity that will include spelling, punctuation and capitalization skills as well as the sentence structure objective. This lesson may be modified to address the level of need in your classroom. You can begin with an engine, one boxcar and a caboose and add to your train as your students' progress. 

Example: topic: fox

Engine         Boxcar         Caboose.
A                 fox                can run.
The                                      sit
                                            hide
                                            dig
                                            eat 

Your students can progress to a larger train.
Engine Boxcar Boxcar Boxcar Boxcar Caboose.

The small red fox hid in a cave.

Procedure

This is a small group activity with all students facing the chalkboard. A train made out of construction paper is posted along the top edge of the chalkboard. Parts of the train include the engine, boxcars and a caboose.


Each part of the train should be about 12 to 15 inches long. Once posted on the board (in my class, I have a cork strip to which they are pinned for the year) you can link the cars together using chalk. This is a visual for the students to stress that words are linked together to make a complete sentence.

  1. Choose a topic to write about.
  2. Post the sentence train at the top of the chalkboard.
  3. Post the topic in the appropriate boxcar.
  4. Under the engine, post words the students can choose to begin their sentences. (A, The, This etc.) 
  5. Post a selection of adjectives that are appropriate to the topic and the reading level of the students. You may use more than one boxcar for adjectives depending on the level of students.
  6. The next boxcar should have your topic word posted on or under it.
  7. Post verbs that are topic and reading level appropriate under the boxcar. (post helping verbs such as can, will, and did permanently on this boxcar)
  8. Post adverbs under the next boxcar that relate to the topic. You may want to permanently post some helping words directly on this boxcar. Words such as over, under, by, near etc. are some suggestions.
  9. Post a large period (or question mark, or exclamation point depending on what type of sentence you are working on) under the caboose to signify the end of the sentence.
  10. Students are to select one word from beneath each part of the train to construct a sentence.

    This lesson can be modified to fit any level of student need and gives the student a clear visual organizer to help him/her develop a sense of sentence structure.

Materials

Student:

  • pencil
  • paper
  • Teacher

  • chalkboard
  • colored chalk
  • construction paper cut-outs
  • classroom word list
  • Cut out a train from construction paper. The train needs to have an engine, boxcars and a caboose. Be creative!
  • The Sentence Train

  • Classroom Train Picture

    Check for Understanding

    Model the proper use of the sentence train by selecting one word from each part of the train to make a sentence. Write the sentence on the board. Stress capitalization and punctuation by having the students do a sentence check. Immediately after writing the sentence, check the beginning and the end of the sentence. Monitor and check the students as they complete their sentences. Have them read what they wrote to you with a finger touching each word that they wrote.


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