Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Writing A Home Run Sentence

I am always on the look out for books that will appeal to my boys who prefer sports over academics. Hooking this group of students can sometimes be a challenge. I came across the book, Diamond Life  by poet and photographer Charles Smith and can't wait to use it in class next year. This book contains a collection of photographs and a mix of poetry and free flowing text.  The selections are short one page pieces that are perfect to use as mentor texts.

"I Remember" is a series of baseball memories written in sentence form all beginning with "I remember..."
I think this pattern could be used in all sorts of ways and for many different topics and themes.
I bet kids could write "I remember" free verse poems about their summers or other sports they like to play. 

How about expanding vocabulary through sound words?  
Can you think of ways students could write in a similar style and form about different topics? 
Maybe animal sounds, sounds of fall, sounds of school? 

Charles Smith's book is also filled with shape poems and prose.  I think young writers would love trying out this type of writing too.  Why not let our young writers pick a topic they are passionate about and have a go at creating their own poems. 

I also intend on using this book as the springboard for one of my first writing units in which I will introduce sentence writing. I feel like I need to start with the basic sentence first before going to paragraphing. I have learned not to assume all third graders will come knowing how to compose a complete sentence. Some are still writing in fragments.  I have my students work on learning to write a "Home Run" sentence and then make them accountable...no more fragments allowed.

I love using props whenever possible and it's easy to incorporate with this baseball themed lesson.
The dollar store carries bats, bases and balls, so for just a few dollars you have props to help 
you hook your students and keep them engaged. 

Students work on composing the Home Run Sentence by starting at first base with the subject, they proceed to second base by adding on a verb and then on to third by adding explaining words, finally they head to home base by cross checking their writing. 

We start with just telling our sentences as we walk the bases.  

I prepare these one dollar pingpong balls as baseballs and write  subjects (nouns) on them. We pick someone to be the "batter" and I "pitch" them a noun.  They use that noun to tell a home run sentence,  adding details with each base they run to. 

Kids then begin working with partners and begin writing these sentences down on the recording sheet.

I have created a file of materials that I am using as I teach the writing of the Home Run Sentence. 
Included are ideas on introducing complete sentences vs. fragments, subjects and predicates and types of sentences.  I always cover this in the early weeks of school so we can quickly move into paragraph writing. 
Interested in trying this approach?
Head to to my TPT store:

Do you use other books that appeal to your more reluctant writers and readers?
I would love to hear. Please share!


  1. Love this idea!! You are so right about 3rd graders coming to us and still not knowing how to write a complete sentence! I'm heading over to TpT now to add this to my cart!

  2. I love this idea! My third graders struggled SO HARD with complete sentences last year... this will be a great way to start out the year and hook 'em into writing! It will also be a great visual to refer to throughout the year. :)

  3. So glad you are going to try this one out! Let me know how it works for you!