Improving Student Writing Using Masterpiece Sentences

As a teacher, there are many perks to being married to another teacher, particularly one who teaches the same grade level!! I definitely love the convenience of having all of the same days off!! I love that my husband understands the challenges that come with the job!!  But what I truly love about being married to a teacher, is that I always have a partner to share and discuss new ideas!!

A few weeks ago my husband came home PUMPED after an ELA professional development training. He could hardly wait to share everything he learned about MASTERPIECE SENTENCES!! Of course by the end of our conversation, we were both ready to go to work the next day to implement this sentence-writing strategy in our own classrooms. 

I decided to create a Flip Book that I could use to teach this strategy to my students, and which they could keep and refer back to as needed:

There are 6 steps, or "stages" that students go through in order to write a Masterpiece Sentence...

Stage 1: Prepare Your Canvas
In this first step, students start off with a very simple sentence. All it really needs is a simple subject and a simple predicate...

Stage 2: Paint Your Predicate
This is where the magic begins and students begin to create their masterpiece. For stage 2, students add more details to their predicate by answering: How? Where? When?

When my students are writing their sentences I reassure them that it's okay to leave one of these out if they don't think these details fit well in their sentences.

Stage 3: Move Your Predicate Painters
Things get a bit more complicated in this stage, when students are asked to move parts of the sentence around so that it makes more sense, or to improve the style of the sentence...

Stage 4: Paint Your Subject
In this next stage students add more details to their simple subject by answering: Which? What Kind? How Many?

Again, students have some flexibility with this. For instance, if adding "how many" isn't going to improve the quality of their sentences, then I encourage them to skip that particular part.

Stage 5: Paint Your Words
This next stage focuses on WORD CHOICE. This is where students will add or replace nouns, adjectives, or verbs with words that are more precise and descriptive.

Stage 6: Finishing Touches 
In this last stage, students put final touches on their masterpiece sentences, by making final edits and revisions. They may choose to add, delete, or move certain parts of the sentence. This is also the time to double-check punctuation and spelling.

I am loving this unique strategy for helping students improve their creative writing. I think it's a great strategy to practice several times, in order for students to get in the habit of revising their sentences to improve their writing! I hope that you and your students will enjoy this strategy as much as my students and I do!! Click HERE to download this Flip Book!! Happy Writing!!