This unit will provide the teacher with a methodology for teaching students to write detailed and expressive sentences.
With careful planning, a teacher can adapt this technique to teach content in all areas of the curriculum. Sentence-combining refers to the manipulation of phrases and clauses to write more complex sentences. There are three primary objectives for this unit; sentence-combining:
1) Positive feedback leads to a positive image. This unit will encourage teachers to view their students as persons who possess the ability to write well. This capacity exists by the time the child enters the classroom. The child has been exposed to the English language and uses facial expressions, pauses, and pitch to convey meaning. The student is the author and user of the language.
Students utter sentences, which in written form would be of great length and complexity. The teacher recognizes these language capabilities and builds upon them by facilitating growth in areas of weakness and providing positive feedback. This feedback is essential in helping the student develop a positive self-image, and confidence in transferring thoughts to paper. It is only in an atmosphere of acceptance of a student’s natural and sometimes primitive language abilities can we spot weaknesses and tailor a curriculum which will fit their needs.
2) The teacher can use the textbook as a tool to reinforce sentence-combining techniques, although a thorough knowledge of traditional English grammar is not needed. The textbook can be beyond the reading levels of students and become useless. This technique is mechanical and assumes no knowledge of student proficiency in the study of grammar. Simply stated, this is a language-based set of writing exercises to promote syntactical maturity in expressive and descriptive writing.
3) Students will be able to combine sentences as a result of exposure to this technique. The results should indicate that students are able to combine sentences of a simple or complex structure.
Sources of material which will be used will be included on the bibliographical page. The key source is Frank O’Hare’s
Sentence-Combining: Improving Student Writing Without Formal Grammar