Farmer in the Dell Writing

What a week it has been y'all! I can't believe how quickly these weeks fly by. This week I changed things up in Writer's Workshop a bit. Some of my kiddos are still struggling with writing a sentence that makes sense and I was racking my brain for ways to help them become confident writers. I thought back to my days as a student teacher in California and what my absolutely a-mazing master teacher used to teach her English Language Learners writing. She used the "Farmer in the Dell" sentence patterning chart. This strategy is a Guided Language Acquisition Design strategy used to support ELLs. Although I do not teach ELLs, I thought I'd try this strategy out and see if it helped my most struggling kiddos.

I started whole group by reading a super simple story about a bunny (the bunny was going to be the subject of our writing). I then guided them in the creation of our sentence patterning chart. I had the chart headings and examples filled in before beginning the lesson. I first wrote "bunny" under the noun column because the bunny would be the subject of our writing. We then brainstormed words to describe the bunny and I wrote those in the adjective column. We reviewed verbs as action words and brainstormed some things that the bunny could be doing. I wrote the verbs under the verb column. Finally, we talked about where the bunny could be hiding, eating, and playing and I wrote their ideas under the prepositional phrase column. Here comes the fun part...I modeled reading a sentence by singing to the tune of "Farmer in the Dell." I placed a small sticky note next to the adjective, verb, and prepositional phrase that I wanted to use. It went a little something like this..."The cute bunny eats, the cute bunny eats, the cute bunny eats in the woods, the cute bunny eats." Get it? I know you're humming the tune of "Farmer in the Dell" right about now...

We sang the song a million few times as students came up and selected the adjective, verb, and prepositional phrase of their choice. We transitioned to our tables and I gave each table group a sentence strip with the word "the" and colored lines already written. Students looked at the chart and completed their sentence frame by filling in words of that color. I wish you could have heard their chorus of 'Farmer in the Dell" while they were doing this!

We concluded the lesson with each student completing a sentence frame independently. My struggling writers were so proud of themselves! Creating a "pattern" for writing sentences really helped my students recognize the rhythm of language and how words come together to make sense in a sentence.
"The small bunny eats in the woods." 
"The cute bunny eats in the grass." Sure is a cute bunny in the grass!
If you'd like to try this with your class, you can grab your own copy here. I printed mine in color but you can print in B & W and just draw the colored lines with marker.

I'm finishing up the last edits on my Spring Literacy and Match activities and it is almost 150 pages! How does that happen? I think I'm having way too much fun with it!

Have a great night!

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  1. Great idea! I love the colored lines for differentiation. How do you get the kids not to write out the song?

  2. Yes! Love the idea! I usually color code parts of speech, but singing them is brilliant!
    An Open Door

  3. I have used this with my kinders!! I loved it and so did they! :)
    I'm a newer follower! Come check out my blog if you get a chance!
    Wild about Teaching!

  4. What a great idea, the color for the lines is great!


    Apples and ABC's

  5. I like the colored lines idea!! I am a writing specials teacher k-4. I know it's an odd position title, but it has been a lot of fun and very enlightening. Come check it out!

    I am your newest follower!


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