Complete Song Titles

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Complete Song Title?
A Conventional Mini-Lesson on Complete Sentences and Fragments
By: Amy Carol Wilkins
This lesson plan is intended to teach students the difference between
a complete sentence and a fragment through the use of popular song
20 minutes
Chalk Board/Dry Erase Board, Chalk/Dry Erase Markers, Song
Titles, the most recent draft of student writing
6th, 7th, 8th Grade North Carolina Competency Goals
6.01: The learner will apply conventions of grammar and language
use by demonstrating an understanding of using a variety of sentence
types correctly, punctuating them properly, and avoiding fragments
and run-ons.
National Standards For English Language Arts
Students apply knowledge of language structure, language
conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media
techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique,
and discuss print and nonprint texts.
“Complete Song Title?” is a conventional mini lesson that should be
used by a teacher anytime during the academic year when he or she,
after evaluation of student writing, realizes that their students are
writing sentence fragments instead of complete sentences. This is an
engaging way for teachers to re-visit the concepts and rules that apply
to complete sentences and sentence fragments. To follow up on this
mini-lesson, teachers should focus on proofreading for sentence
fragments on the evaluation of the next draft in writing workshop.
“Everyone take out the list of your favorite song titles that you came
up with for homework and select your favorite three to put up on the
board. Anyone who is seated in the back row should come up and
put their three song titles on the board. Once the person who sits
behind you is back in their seat, then you may go to the board and put
up your song titles until everyone in the room has three song titles on
the board. While you wait for everyone to finish you need to be
writing down the song titles that others wrote on the board into your
notes. (Wait and give time for everyone to put their song titles on the
board). Now can anyone tell me what a complete sentence is (Wait
for someone to answer your question)? So do we all agree with
John’s definition that a complete sentence is a sentence that has a
subject, a verb, and is a complete thought? Well that’s a good
definition John but what exactly is a subject (wait for response)?
That’s right a subject is a noun that the sentence is about. Can
someone refresh the class on the definition of a noun? That’s right a
noun is defined as a person place or thing. Now that we know what a
subject is all about, can someone tell me what a predicate is (wait for
correct response)? Yes, Mary can you repeat your definition of a
predicate (Mary says a predicate is a word or group of words that
contains some form of a verb that tells what the subject is, does, or is
doing). What about a verb? What exactly is a verb (wait until
someone in the class tells you that a verb is an action word that tells
someone’s state or what they are doing)? Well ok, now we know
about the subject and the predicate, but what is all this business about
a complete thought (wait until a student tells you that a sentence must
express a complete thought before it can be considered a complete
sentence). Alright so I think we understand what a complete sentence
is, am I right or are there questions? Well if no one has any questions
someone tell me what a fragment is (wait until someone says that a
fragment is a phrase that is missing one of the three components of a
complete sentence). So your meaning to tell me that if I have two of
the three requirements to be a complete sentence that majority doesn’t
rule and it has to be considered a fragment anyway (wait for them to
tell you yes)? Well with all that in mind, lets take a look at these
song titles to see which ones would be considered fragments and
which sentences would be considered complete (go around the room
and ask different students to decide if the song titles are complete or
“Okay, now that we have refreshed our memories on what makes a
sentence complete, take out your most recent draft from writing
workshop and exchange papers with a neighbor and search for any
sentence fragments that might be in the paper. Make sure that you are
more aware of your sentence structure on your next draft.”
Below are some examples of popular song titles that your students are
likely to bring into your class. Be prepared for the students to have a
lot to say about the song titles that are on the board and take into
account that there will be laughter and chattering around the room.
This is okay when kept to a minimum because middle school students
get excited about popular music. Just remember that this will bring
more attention to the “sentences” being evaluated.
I’m Here for the Party (complete sentence)
Feels Like Today (fragment)
Lose my Breath (fragment)
The Reason (fragment)
I Like That (complete sentence)
Dare You To Move (fragment)
Pieces of Me (fragment)
Days Go By (complete sentence)
Drop it Like it’s Hot (complete sentence)
Breath, Stretch, Shake (fragment)

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