Lesson 1 – Exploding Sentences

Starter: improve a sentence
(This works really well on an IWB. This is a good settling technique. In addition (if you use this often), it enables the students used to the idea that, once written, sentences are not “finished” but can be assessed and improved.)

  1. Write the words “things were moved” on the board.
  2. As students come in ask them to write ways in which we could improve this sentence in the backs of their books.
  3. When all are settled and registered (you’re obviously not using SIMS!) then take feedback, noting on a fresh page on the board.

You’ll get a mixture of presentation, punctuation, and some historical answers. You’re aiming for “we need more detail – what was moved, where was it moved, why was it moved”. Explain that we’re going to spend the lesson improving this sentence, until, at the end, we’re going to write a fantastic sentence of our own.

Main (1): explode a sentence

“We’re going to explode a sentence”.

  1. Ask students to take two facing pages in their exercise books. They should write “things were moved” across the middle of both pages, not too large, so there’s lots of room to write around it.
  2. They are going to explode the “things” part of the sentence by drawing a bubble around it, and making this bubble the centre of a brainstorm.
  3. They then have 1 minute exactly to try to remember as many things as possible that were moved during the industrial revolution – remind them that they have learned that lots of things were moved around during the industrial revolution. Feedback using the original IWB page “things were moved”.

So, we’ve now got a lopsided sentence – lots of things that were “moved”. Students will now be given 5 minutes to expand the “moved” part of the sentence, this time working on their own/pairs/groups, using page 3 of their textbooks (Re-discovering Britain) for clues.

For feedback at this point, as a variation, you could see if any pupils are prepared to speak a more detailed version of the “things were moved” sentence.

Main (2): explode a sentence into a paragraph.

Right – now we’re going to add some historical dynamite, to explode this sentence into a paragraph, with the title “How did better transport help britain to industrialize?”. The dynamite is facts – the “who, what, why, when, how” of history (you could use the whiteboard to reveal these). Using page 68/9 of Re-discovering Britain.

  • The students are going to work alone or in groups/pairs to research and write at least one paragraph that tells us who moved what, why they moved it, when they moved it and how.
  • For lower ability students you could aks them to use at least two, or three of the “who, what, when etc.” Higher attaining students should have a paragraph that answers the complete set of “who, why, when, what”.
  • Remind them of the criteria they gave at the beginning of the lesson for good sentences about punctuation, presentation etc, and that these criteria will be used when you’re marking their work.

Plenary: Read your paragraph out

Teacher or students to read out their paragraphs.

Assessment: Teacher marks the sentences / paragraphs using criteria set out in the lesson.

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