Sentence combining exercises encompass many different subject matters and can lead to some intense, relevant mini-lessons that are vital for writing. Reviewing independent, dependent clauses, comma usage and, if possible coordinating conjunctions, will, most likely, ensue. Provided that these subjects are somewhat under control, students can move onto a more academic writing voice.
Use Subject Matter Related to Academic Success
Write simple sentences related to one, relevant subject matter on as many index cards as there are students in the class. One sentence is written onto each card. Give out one card to each student in the class. Going around the room, have each student read their sentence card aloud. By the time all students have read, the main idea or subject of the activity will be clear and can be written onto the board and some topic sentences can be brainstormed.
Explain to Students that Sentences Have Natural “Pairs”
Since not all sentences lend themselves to being combined and not all subsequent subjects can be linked together, tell the students that they each have one perfect match in the class. In other words, someone else in the class is holding a card that demonstrates a “natural match”. It is their job to communicate, mingle and find the match that best suits their own sentence card.
Mix Up the Matches
Have students “pair” up with their match. They should then combine their sentences into one cohesive sentence. The students then write their new sentence onto the board.
Create Academic Writing
After all the pairs have written their sentences onto the board, tell the students to construct a well-organized paragraph about the subject matter at hand. Students should work individually and should be told that just as sentences have logical matches, a paragraph should move in a logical order; thereby, instructing the students to use a rational sequence by organizing the information cohesively.
Spice Up the Paragraph
Of course the end product will be much greater if it is edited and supplemented by a main idea or topic sentence, so tell students to add one of the previously brainstormed examples or, even better yet, come up with their own!