I learned a new technique this week as I racked my brain trying to figure out how to help students of all ages to expand sentences.  I am sick and tired of short, choppy sentences.  They are just too simple…and just not efficient in writing, most of the time!

But, the question was, how do I TEACH kids to expand sentences?  It’s obviously not enough to say, “Combine sentences, guys!”  I mean, kids aren’t just naturally getting that!  (Oh, and that’s really bad teaching anyway!)

A buddy of mine turned me onto a very simple and very straightforward technique that she’s used forever.  I tried it…and, what do you know…it worked!

It’s called “But, because, so…”

It’s easiest if I show you what it looks like and then break it down for you:

My initial statement/sentence: The Common Core is sometimes difficult to teach.

The Common Core is important for our kids to master, but it can sometimes be challenging to teach.

It is challenging to teach because it requires me to be aware of so many components at the same time and change how I’ve been teaching for years.

The Standards, however difficult and challenging they are, are the pathway for deeper comprehension so I better get started teaching them right now!


Here’s another example:

Harley didn’t eat his broccoli.

Harley didn’t eat his broccoli, but he loved to eat hot dogs.

He didn’t like broccoli because he thought it looked like a tree and tasted like dirt even though he had never eaten it.

Broccoli makes your bones strong so Harley’s mom tried to find ways to cook broccoli so that he would eat more of it.

What made this technique work so well for me is that I could give kids a template to tap into when they were expanding the sentences, it wasn’t like I was just prompting and prompting to no avail!

So, I think you should try it…and then come back and let me know how it worked!