So often we utter sentences and even write them without really thinking about how we put them together. They just kind of subconsciously happen: sounds emanate from our throats, are sculpted and shaped in our mouths and then words, sentences, speeches even, spill forth from our lips; ink flows from our pens.
As writers, we need to see ourselves as conscious creators, crafters and... construction workers!
Which is why Third Form recently got to play with LEGO in my English lesson and we didn't write a single thing.
The task for the students was to look at a descriptive extract from 'Private Peaceful' by Michael Morpurgo and pick one sentence that they liked. Keeping their choice a secret, they then had to build a model or representation of that sentence using LEGO blocks. Year Seven had to consider the length of the sentence, how many clauses and pieces of punctuation it contained, even if certain phrases or words were repeated for effect.
When the models had been made, students had to present their masterpieces and explain their structure. Their audience then had to guess which sentence was their secret sentence from the extract.
They proved to be good readers, evaluating and comparing all of the sentence structures in the extract. It is hoped that this exercise in structure, variety and crafting will translate to their future efforts on paper, that they build upon their success in this lesson and construct sentences with a real sense of awareness and purpose.
Any excuse to get the toys out!
Teacher of English