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Sentence-Level Phrases for Narrative and Persuasive Writing

Updated: Feb 20

Adverbial phrases, prepositional phrases and noun phrases.


I was observing a Year 6 classroom last week, and the teacher was working through the slides, which were centred around 'noun phrases'. There was very much a modelled instructional approach taking place, with the teacher explicitly showcasing the knowledge and skills of a noun phrase. She then progressed to work through the examples together, from a shared/'we do' perspective. Finally, she passed the responsibility over to the students to complete and create their own sentences incorporating the use of noun phrases.


This made me think about teachers' capacity once we remove the step-by-step slides, and I was also wondering about the students' ability to transfer their sentence-level compositions to text types and genres.



Why the Importance of Sentence-Level Writing?


Making reference to the Australian Curriculum (V9) and the Victorian Curriculum (2.0), we can see the mention of the following, depicting the importance of sentence-level writing.










Australian Curriculum (V9)

Victorian Curriculum (2.0)

LANGUAGE STRAND DESCRIPTION

  • Students discover the patterns and purposes of English usage, including spelling, grammar and punctuation at the levels of the word, sentence and extended text.

  • By developing a body of knowledge about these patterns and their connections, students learn to communicate effectively through coherent, well-structured sentences and texts.

LANGUAGE STRAND DESCRIPTION

  • They discover the patterns and purposes of English usage, including spelling, grammar and punctuation at the levels of the word, sentence and extended text.

  • By acquiring a body of knowledge about these patterns and their connections, students learn to communicate effectively through coherent, well-structured sentences and texts.

LITERATURE STRAND DESCRIPTION

  • Students appreciate, analyse, interpret and evaluate a range of literary texts.

  • Students create texts such as short stories, poetry, prose, plays and short films.  

LITERATURE STRAND DESCRIPTION

  • Students appreciate, analyse, interpret and evaluate a range of literary texts.

  • Students create texts such as short stories, poetry, plays and short films.

LITERACY STRAND DESCRIPTION

  • Students learn to adapt language to meet the demands of general or specialised purposes, audiences and contexts.

LITERACY STRAND DESCRIPTION

  • Students learn to adapt language to meet the demands of general or specialised purposes, audiences and contexts.


If we support students to strengthen their sentence writing, just as that fabulous teacher was doing in her classroom, then we can help them manipulate their sentences for the appropriate context, purpose and audience. And if done correctly, over time, students will be able to be critically and intentionally create sentences to independently suit the genre, audience and purpose.








 


With a focus on Narrative and Persuasive writing, I've created some examples of adverbial phrases, prepositional phrases and noun phrases to support teachers when supporting their students at a sentence-level. These examples demonstrate how each of these have been modified to suit the context of narrative and persuasive writing.








 


When students constantly begin sentences using an article (an, a, the) and a noun, it signals the lack of knowledge and skills about how reference pronouns and how to vary sentence beginnings.


The following examples show how to modify 'article + noun' sentence openers and vary sentence beginnings. You'll see the use of different types of phrases for narrative and persuasive writing.





How do your students vary their sentence beginnings?


How do your students use different types of phrases for different text types, such as narrative and persuasive writing?





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