Hands down, my favorite thing to teach in 1st grade is reading and writing. Perhaps this is because I enjoy it so much personally, but there also is such an abundance of ways to make reading and writing fun for the little ones!
One of my new favorite things is to create anchor charts. I’ve always used anchor charts, but I’ve really beefed up my creation of them this year. Today, I’m introducing you to one of my favorite anchor charts/characters in our classroom. Meet….
Star Sentence Sam!
In our classroom, a star sentence is a sentence that includes a capital letter at the beginning, spaces in between words, and a period at the end. I have also just introduced the expectation that word wall words are spelled correctly.
This guy has been SO super helpful in assisting my students with their sentence structure. Every so often, we will review the story of Sam (as outlined on the anchor chart). I have also created a mini-book that students fill in to tell the story of Star Sentence Sam. This helps to reinforce the expectation that students will begin their sentences with a capital letter, include spaces in between words, and end the sentence with a period. As simple as it may sound, this is truly a skill that takes all year for students to independently develop. Hopefully Sam will speed that up a bit! In addition to Sam, we keep this visual reminder up all year round by our writing center:
We also use this rubric while writing sentences. There is a larger version on chart paper that I use when we do shared writing. This little guy also appears in laminated form inside the students’ writing folders. This way, they can reuse it all year round to check their writing:
Click on the image to get it yourself!
We also have implemented an incentive program to encourage “star sentences.” 3-4 days out of the week, our morning work is a “Star Sentence Prompt,” which is, essentially, a question or prompt that students answer by writing 1-3 sentences. At least once a week, I will randomly check the work for star sentences. Students who have created star sentences receive a star sticker on their desk name tags. Once a certain number of sticker are earned, they will win a larger star badge for their desk and also a small prize. Click on the image below to grab your own Star Sentence Prompt:
I like these prompts because they also reinforce supporting your ideas with reasons. In our class, we ALWAYS are asking “Why?” It helps a lot with the students’ reading comprehension, particularly with skills measured by the DRA. Not to mention it is a valuable life skill 🙂
I hope you enjoyed meeting Star Sentence Sam! If you would like to view my entire Star Sentence Sam pack, you can view it here.
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