I could tell by their feverish faces that I had crossed the line. You know the one. The line where a lesson somehow moves from excitement to near hysteria. I've been experimenting with some of Jeff Anderson's lessons lately, and the AAAWWUUBBIS lesson using Jamie Lee Curtis' book, When I Was Little, rocked. The kids loved it and wrote up a storm. So I figured, why not try Sentence Smack Down. The lesson wasn't the problem. Anderson's lesson is awesome. I just screwed up. I read over the lesson countless times and carefully planned modifications that seemed to make sense for 3rd graders. It bombed. The classroom teacher was very kind and didn't give me the you're-the-coach-you're-supposed-to-know-what-you're-doing look. But now I've got to repair the semi-disaster I created and help the kids and the teacher make sense of it.
I'm thinking I will gather them up and just tell them what I thought of the lesson and ask them what they thought and what they learned. From there I want to read them Satchel Paige Don't Look Back by David A. Adler. I got the idea by visiting Book Savors. There is one page in the book that has 2-word sentences that are perfect for teaching how a sentence contains a subject and a verb. We can also talk about how the author used those short sentences to slow down an exciting moment. The book also has lots of mentor sentences to teach AAAWWUBBIS, commas in a list, and dashes.