This is one of my favorite charts to create with students. I have made variations of this chart with students in grades second through eleventh. This simple way to add sentence variety is fun and easy to do.
Introducing this Chart:
I began by writing five actual sentences taken from the introductory paragraphs of argument papers that a group of seventh graders were working on. Immediately, students began talking and pointing about which sentence they recognized and announcing if a sentence belonged to them. I explained that nothing was wrong with these sentences, but that I wanted to show students a way that they could vary these sentences, if they wanted to. At this point, I wrote the title and talked about description preceding a subject. I added the first example and we reread it. Then, I called on students to discuss ideas for the subsequent sentences. We shared ideas, and continued adding the adjectives.
Remind students that this is about varying their sentence structure. This is not how every sentence should begin, but this is a way to break up repetitive sentence structures and should be sprinkled throughout the paper. I like to compare this strategy to sprinkle toppings for ice cream. In the way we would add sprinkles to an ice cream cone. Too much and you have changed the taste of the ice cream and you now have a crunchy mess. Just a sprinkle for flavor, please.