Sentence Combining Goal Ideas
- Given two sentences and a target conjunction, NAME will combine the sentences with 80% accuracy.
- NAME will create a complex or compound sentence when given a target conjunction with 80% accuracy for at least 5 conjunctions.
- Given a target simple sentence, NAME will add an embedded detail (adverb and/or adjective) to create a new sentence with 80% accuracy.
- After writing a paragraph, NAME will revise the paragraph by combining sentences at least two times with 80% accuracy.
- After giving a two-minute language sample about a specified topic, NAME will review the transcription and combine sentences with 80% accuracy.
- Given an object, NAME will describe the object with a sentence including a relative clause in 80% of opportunities.
Read more about my goals here.
Teaching Sentence Combining Skills
The step-by-step approach I developed and follow in order to teach sentence combining is below:
Step 1 – I introduce the concept of sentence combining and using “and” to combine sentences. We talk about what it means to “combine” two things.
Step 2 – I teach the “Add a detail” strategy and we work on combining sentences by embedding adjectives and adverbs.
Step 3 – It’s finally time to connect ideas with conjunctions! I directly teach the conjunctions and, or, if, but, so, before, because, while, unless, and until one at a time and provide tons of practice opportunities for each.
Step 4 – Now, it’s time to create complex sentences that contain relative clauses (one of the trickiest language structures for our kids).
Step 5 – Last, we practice combining sentences to improve stories and descriptions using all of the strategies we learned in the earlier steps.
For an easy button to this systematic approach to sentence combining, click here to check out my resource, Systematic Sentence Combining.
Sentence Combining in Context
Research has also shown that once students gain skills through explicit and systematic instruction, it can be beneficial to target that same skill within contextualized interventions.
To work on generalization of sentence combining skills, we take step 5 (from above) and kick it up a notch! My favorite way to work on sentence combining in context is through texts and picture books.
Here’s some easy ideas for targeting sentence combining in a contextualized way:
- Combine two sentences from a story/book using a conjunction. For example, start with “Maya flew into space” and “she wanted to help the alien”. Then, decide what conjunction you need to use to combine the sentences.
- Take a text and break all of the sentences apart. Present that version to your student and see if they can recombine the sentences to help the story flow better.
- Describe an item (category, function, color, location, etc…). then, take those descriptions and combine them to write a short text about that item. For example, a black bear is an animal that lives all over North America. They are a large animal that can weigh over 800 pounds! They have four legs, rounded ears, and a long snout. And so on… As a bonus, find a picture of what you described and make your own magazine page using Google Slides™️!
- Write about your weekend or any upcoming plans. Then, combine the sentences to tell about what you’re going to do.
I include sentence combining activities in my story units that these types of activities with sentences related to the story. I also include themed sentence combining activities in my themed units.Shop Story Units Shop Themed Units