What do Black Lace and sentences have in common? Verbs, that’s what.
Teaching children how to use capital letters and full stops is not as easy as it sounds. Most of them already know that they go at the start and end of a sentence – the problem is that some of them don’t understand what a sentence is (see Why do they do that?).
A basic definition of a sentence is ‘a group of words that contain a verb and make sense on their own’. So far so good, but what if the children don’t understand what a verb is? That’s about where I was with my group, and that’s where Black Lace came in. We cancelled the English lesson, pushed the tables and chairs back and had a disco. We listened to Superman and joined in. We walked and we sneezed and we skied and we sprayed and we swam. And then we listed all the actions from the song with illustrations for each one to make a display of verbs. By now the children were able to suggest other words that they thought might be verbs – all of them correct – and we added them to the display.
Then we agreed that perhaps we should go back to the English lesson, so we sorted some groups of words into “Sentence” and “Not a sentence” by deciding whether or not they had verbs and whether or not they made sense. Now that they knew what verbs were they found this quite easy. Result!
Now that they knew what a sentence was, we were able to go back to the original LO of being able to use capital letters and full stops.