Friday, July 19, 2013

Flannel Friday: Silly Sentence Sort

This summer, I have stepped things up considerably with my Read-Along Story Time for Beginning Readers by creating several literacy games for us to play after the formal read-aloud portion of the story time is over. This past week, we focused on the letter S, so I created a game using shirts, shorts, and socks that would help us build sentences. I call it the Silly Sentence Sort.

How to Set Up
Hang a makeshift clothesline (yarn works great!) between two chairs. On the clothesline hang four clothespins. Beneath the clothesline place four "laundry" baskets. In the first basket, place clipart shirts covered in Contact paper and labeled with the names of different characters, or subjects.  In the second basket, place shorts labeled with different present-tense verbs. Fill the the third basket with left socks, all labeled with various adjectives and the last basket with right socks, labeled with nouns. 

How to Play
On his/her turn, each child comes to the front of the room and chooses one shirt, one pair of shorts, one left sock and one right sock. On his/her own, or with help, the child clips the shirt to the first clothespin, the shorts to the second, etc. When he or she is finished attaching his/her laundry to the clothesline, the whole group tries to read the sentence together. The librarian (or parent, or teacher, or whomever) writes down the sentence, then asks the child to remove his/her words from the clothesline. Play passes to the next child, and continues until everyone has had a turn. At the conclusion of the game, the librarian (or other adult) hands out the papers on which the kids' sentences are written and invites the kids to illustrate them with crayons.

How to Create a Silly Sentence Sort Game 
Begin by selecting the words you want to use. Choose words that will be easy enough for the children to read, but also silly enough to give them the giggles. Also make sure not to get too creative, or you will find yourself pulling out sentence combinations that can't actually form real sentences. For example, I used only present-tense verbs and only plural nouns for the ends of the sentences to avoid any potential agreement problems.

My word lists are below:

Shirts (Subjects)

The dog
The cat
The giant
The princess
The fairy
The bee
The cactus
The car
The baby
Shorts (Verbs)

Left Socks (Adjectives)

Right Socks (Nouns)

jelly beans.

Once you have your words, find clipart images of each article of clothing (I chose the shirt, shorts, and socks because they all began with S, and because they each had large surface areas for printing the words. I think pants, hats, and even underpants would also work, depending on what you can find and what might amuse your group of kids.) Use an image editing program to make your items colorful,  then use Publisher - or another similar program - to type the words onto each of your articles of clothing. (My completed set is available for download here. The font I used is KG Primary Penmanship.)

When you have everything ready (and spell checked), print it out and cover each piece with Contact paper. If you'd like the added bonus of being able to use the pieces on the flannel board, fasten some Velcro to the back of each one.

For baskets, almost anything works. I happened to find four small wicker baskets in assorted colors at a dollar store that worked perfectly. I think small plastic baskets would be even better because they would look more like laundry baskets. I think the appeal of this activity is just as much the idea of doing pretend laundry as it is creating funny sentences.

Today's Flannel Friday host is Meg at Miss Meg's Storytime.

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