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Overview I will demonstrate how to use the Sentence Writing Strategy when writing simple sentences. I am going to tell you everything I'm thinking while I use the strategy, so you can understand how I expect you to talk to yourself as you use this strategy. I will expect you to do everything I do. I expect you to first think outloud then to yourself when you become comfortable with the strtegy.
PENS Step 1:Pick a formula. P stands for 'pick a formula', so the first thing I will do is look at my formula chart. Hmm...I want to write the first kind of simple sentence, one with a simple subject and a single verb.
PENS Step 2: Explore words to fit the formula. Now that I picked a formula, I must use the 'E' step. I must explore words to fit the formula. Hmm...I have to write a sentence about the jobs of a cowboy, so 'cowboy' can be my subject and 'finds the cattle' can be the action sequence that tells about one aspect of his job. My sentence will be 'A cowboy finds the stray cattle.'
PENS Step 3: Note the words. Now that I've thought of words for my sentence, I need to do the 'N' step and note the words on paper. I will write them on the board or on this Power Point, so you can see them. I have to remember to capitalize the first sentence and end with a punctuation mark.
PENS Step 4: Search and check. Now I have to do the 'S' step to make sure I have a complete sentence. First I need to search for verbs and subjects. I need to identify one verb because for this formula 'S-V' I need one verb. First I will look for an action verb. The first action word that I see is 'finds'.
PENS Step 4 Are there any helping verbs? No. Is the word 'to' in front of finds? No. Are there any other action or state-of-being words in this sentence? No. That's good. That means I've found the complete verb and only verb. I only need to find one verb for the sentence formula I chose.
PENS step 4 Next I look for the subject by asking, “Who or what finds?” The cowboy finds. Is there any other subject than finds? No. Is there a preposition in front of 'cowboy'? No. That means 'Cowboy' is the only subject in this sentence, and I only needed one subject for this formula.
PENS 'S' Step A cowboy finds the stray cattle. I found my verb and my subject. I will Key in on the beginning, ending, and middle. There is a capital letter at the beginning of the sentence. There is a period at the end, for this is a declarative sentence. The sentence makes sense. MARK is used in the 's' step.
Individual Practice We will have a few students to volunteer to demonstrate the PENS strategy. Remeber to say the steps aloud.
Small Group We will divide into small groups to practice the PENS steps. I will walk around the class to check on the progress of each group.
What's Next? We will start on Stage 4: Verbal Practice tomorrow. Schumaker, Jean B. and Sheldon, Jan (1999). Proficiency in the Sentence Writing Strategy. University of Kansas. Lawrence, KS