Practicum Sentence Fragment Lesson Plan

Ruby Duell
LRC 552/LRC 553
Small Group Lesson Plan
2/7/12- Small group activity for determining the difference between
sentences and sentence fragments
Grade 5; 4 fifth grade readers, 3 sixth grade readers, 1 fourth grade
reader, and 1 third grade reader as established by Burns and Roe Reading
20 minute mini remedial lesson given to two groups of students who
performed poorly on a previous sentence fragment assessment given by
the in-class teacher, in Mrs. Clarkson’s classroom at Slingerlands
Elementary School in the Bethlehem Central School District
Mrs. Clarkson had me grade her student’s ELA homework one week that
assessed their ability to identify a sentence and a sentence fragment. In
grading the assignment, I found that most students grasped the concept
quite well and performed satisfactorily. However, there was a group of 9
students who seemed to have either guessed hastily or did not truly
understand the difference between a complete sentence and a fragment.
I made a list of these students for Mrs. Clarkson and she asked me to
develop a remedial lesson plan to further work on this skill during literacy
This lesson addresses the NYS Core Curriculum 5th Grade ELA Standards:
Writing Standard 4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the
development and organization are appropriate to task purpose and
Writing Standard 5: Develop and strengthen writing as needed by
planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
Forming complete sentences is essential for students to move from writing
at the sentence level to the paragraph level. In order to write at the
paragraph level, students need to be able to write complete sentences
with a verb and subject agreement. This can be tough for young learners
because “we do not always talk in complete sentences; we sometimes
speak in “fragments”, such as ‘Fire!’, ‘Off with his head’, ‘From Cuba’,
‘Next!’, and ‘Shall we?’” (Harnish, 2009). It can be hard for children to
understand that these fragments are not acceptable all the time,
especially when writing in an academic setting. Grammar and
conventions can be dreadful and boring for many students, so “if we want
students to use language more correctly in their own writing and
speaking, then we must teach them to do so in that meaning-producing
situation that will co-produce and support that learning. What we need is
the contextualized learning of correct language use” (Wilhelm, 2001,
p.62). This lesson plan accomplishes that goal.
Harnish, R. M. (2009). The problem of fragments: Two interpretative
strategies. Pragmatics & Cognition, 17(2), 251-282.
Wilhelm, Jeffrey D. (2001). Undoing the great grammatical scam!” Voices
from the Middle, 8(3), 62.
1. To identify the subject and verb in a given sentence.
2. To differentiate between complete sentences and fragments
3. To write one sentence and one fragment
1. Students will answer individually on their white boards when
presented with a sentence or fragment by the teacher whether it
is a sentence (S) or fragment (F)
2. Students will identify the subject and verb if the given example is
a sentence on their white boards by writing the correct words
3. Students will write one sentence and one fragment on their white
boards and explain what differentiates them from each other
4. Students will complete the Sentence Fragment game as an
 Individual white boards, dry erase markers and erasers
 Sentence/fragment large flash cards
 Sentence Fragment Game with Song Titles work sheet
Ask one student to get enough white boards and dry erase markers and
erasers for everyone at the table.
1. Teacher asks students to write what makes up a complete
sentence on their white boards (a subject and a verb)
2. Teacher asks students to show everyone their answers and leads
quick discussion on difference between sentences and fragments
(A sentence fragment is a group of words that lacks some
elements necessary to form a complete sentence. To be
complete, a sentence must have a subject (someone or
something that is doing something) and a verb (what the subject
is doing). A command like “Sit!” is also a sentence, even though
it is only a verb. The subject of a command (“You,” or “Fido,” or
whomever is being told to sit) is implied.)
Explain and Model:
1. Teacher explains that she is going to show a series of flash cards
that contain either a sentence or a fragment on them. Students
are to write S for complete sentence or F for fragment on their
white boards and then when asked, show the table their white
boards. If the consensus is a sentence, the teacher will ask
students to write the subject and verb in the sentence on their
white boards
 Flashcards contain the following phrases/sentences:
 I was late for class
 As we waited for the train to stop
 Until you eat your vegetables
 They plan to visit the Grand Canyon this summer
 Even though he was a robot
 For example, hockey and skating
 We even ate snails
 She loves cows
Guided Practice:
2. Teacher then asks students to write one sentence and one
fragment for the group to go over together on their white boards
3. The group looks at each individual’s sentence and fragment,
finding the subjects and verbs and explaining the difference
between the two
After Mini-Lesson
Individual Practice:
1. Students will work on their Sentence Fragment Game worksheets,
if they do not finish they are due for homework to be assessed by
Miss Duell
This lesson is in small group format in order to reinforce the concept to
students who showed difficulty on the previous sentence/fragment
assessment given by Mrs. Clarkson. Groups were arranged
heterogeneously based on their reading levels and who the children work
well with. The two groups are as follows:
Lindsey I.
Max Butler
Brian Murray
Ryan T.
Sentence Fragment Game Worksheet (and bonus if completed)
This was my first go at teaching both a mini lesson and a lesson in small
group format. I really enjoyed the one on one it allowed me to have with
the students. This was a lesson intended to help students who had
difficulty as shown on a previous sentence/fragment assessment given by
Mrs. Clarkson. Once in the groups, I could tell that these students really
did have a hard time grasping the concept of complete sentences vs.
fragments. They especially became confused when a sentence was very
short, such as “he ran” and immediately thought that meant it was a
fragment. The first group had a little more difficulty grasping the concept
because they often forgot that a sentence has to contain a complete
thought. With the second group, I made sure to remind them over and
over again through each flash card (white board sentence) that a
complete sentence needed three things: a subject, a predicate, and
express a complete thought. By doing this, I found that the second group
had a much easier time differentiating between a sentence and a
fragment. This was one of those lessons where the more that you do it,
the better you become. I could see a great improvement in how I talked
to the students and conversed with them and came up with examples in
the second group as compared to the first group. Overall, I thought the
lessons went smoothly and helped to reinforce and even re-teach a little
about what a sentence is and what a fragment is. I felt that the students
greatly benefitted from partaking in the lesson.
One student, Ryan, from the second group, was assessed at a 3rd grade
reading level by Mrs. Clarkson’s assessments. I found he had the most
difficulty understanding because he did not really know the parts of
speech (subject, verb, predicate, noun, etc.). He stated that he thought
“think” was a noun and that “cows” was a verb. After explaining that one
cannot “cows”, Ryan cannot “cows”, Sarah cannot “cows” he understood
that a verb expresses an action. In fact, once he got these concepts
down, he was excelling at differentiating between sentences and
Name _____________________________
Date __________________
Sentence Fragments
Sentence Fragment Game
A sentence fragment is a group of words that lacks some elements necessary to form a complete
sentence. To be complete, a sentence must have a subject (someone or something that is doing
something) and a verb (what the subject is doing). A command like “Sit!” is also a sentence,
even though it is only a verb. The subject of a command (“You,” or “Fido,” or whomever is
being told to sit) is implied.
Directions: Listed below are song titles, some of which are fragments and others of which are
complete sentences. Classify them by placing an S in the Sentence column if it is a sentence or
an F in the fragment column if it is a fragment. If you do it correctly, the total in both columns
will be the same.
Song Title
1. “Thinking of You”
Sentence (S)
Fragment (F)
2. “Love in this Club”
3. “Live Your Life”
4. “You Found Me”
5. “What Time is It”
6. “When You Look Me in the Eyes”
7. “Dead and Gone”
8. “In Love With a Girl”
9. “Crying Out for Me”
10. “Just Dance”
11. “I’m Yours”
12. “We Fly”
13. “Whatever You Like”
14. “Down the Road”
15. “Hollywood’s Not America”
**Bonus: On the back, list 5 song titles you know. Then decide if they are sentences or fragments by
writing an S for sentence or an F for fragment next to it.