Using sentence strips with your middle school students can be a pretty powerful way to get them thinking about writing in a different way. Normally, whenever we hear the term “sentence strips,” we always think of the 1st graders who are just learning how to read and write. We certainly don’t think of using sentence strips to teach middle school essay writing. Well, that was the case until we came up with a great idea!
We really wanted to teach our kids about the importance of using transitions and key words to signify certain aspects of an essay. For instance, a concluding thought in a body paragraph, or an introduction of evidence before a quote, etc.
So we took one of our own essays that we wrote, broke it up into separate lines for each sentence, laminated the pages, and then cut each of the sentences out. We then put our kids into groups of 4-5 and had them reconstruct the essay using transition words and their knowledge of essay structures as clues.
It was incredibly helpful for our students to work so closely with an essay and be excited about essay writing!
We loved it. The kids loved it. It was a win-win for everyone 🙂
This is an incredibly easy activity you can do with your students with one of your own essays!
Here’s a picture of what it looked like – nothing fancy or extra exciting. Just an activity that worked incredibly well!