Good Grammar is Just a Fold Away

Thursday, November 7, 2013
your curly comrade, Suzanne

Several of you have asked for more information about the Grammar Foldable (GF) mentioned in I {Heart} Notebooks.  Well, your day has come!  

The GF is a review of the nitty gritty that makes up different sentence types.  I like to start my year with it because we go back and reference it many time each semester.  

First we must start by folding the paper.  I don't know about you, but I am a visual learner.  There's no way I can read 12 steps and end up with a masterful design.  *The GF is not, I repeat, not a 12 step process.*  So here is a work of cinematic greatness that shows all the cuts and folds of the Grammar Foldable:

I like to spread this "note-taking" process out over 4 days.  It is a lot of information, and I would rather park it on one sentence type and allow for digestion before moving on.  

Here is the routine for each day:
Label a flap with the specific sentence type for the day.
Add the parts of this sentence type.
Create an example sentence as a class.
An example of the sentence type from their reading (either independent or class reading)
An example from their own writing

Here is the information that is added for each sentence type:
Simple Sentence

  • one independent clause
  • no other clauses
  • end punctuation
Compound Sentence
  • two independent clauses
  • no other clauses
  • ,FANBOYS or ; (winky eyes)
  • end punctuation

Complex Sentence
  • one independent clause 
  • one dependent clause (AAAWWWUUBBIS phrase)

Teachable Moment:  We talk about how an AAAWWWUUBBIS phrase can be worn like a reversible jacket- two ways.  If I start with my AAAWWWUUBBIS word, I need a comma. "AAAWWWUUBBIS, now I need a comma!" It doesn't need a comma is the "bad word" is in the middle.  

Compound/Complex Sentence
  • two independent clauses
  • at least one dependent clause (AAAWWWUUBBIS phrase)
  • end punctuation

We spend A LOT of time differentiating between an independent and dependent clause because this is a major issue in their writing.  My genius friend Jennifer started calling them "Say What?" (dependent) and "I got you!" (independent) which I promptly stole.  This is an easy way to make this practice more fun and interactive.  

More information for this strategy can be found in Dr. Joyce Armstrong Carroll's book Authentic Strategies for High-Stakes Tests.

Happy folding!

***P.S.: These two crazy curlies are going to TCTELA at the end of January!!!  Will we see you there?***


  1. Hi there ladies! I just started a blog for my students after they had a 2nd quarter assignment of a blog research assignment which went pretty well, considering I haven't done this assignment before. Your blogspot template is so cool. Mine is so typical. Did you download yours as a custom? Just researching this blog world a little more.

    Amy Laukhuf-Fitch
    7-12 ELA
    Otsego Local Schools (OH)

    1. Amy,
      I love that you have your students blogging! What an excellent way to provide an authentic audience for their writing! Our blog design is free from The Cutest Blog on the Block (website). We have it formatted with the Picture Window template (Blogger). Let us know when you get your blog looking the way you like. We'd love to check it out!

    2. Haha, this reply is long after I posted the last. Your positions have now changed, and I hope that it's all going well. I was revisiting your site today for some things, and wanted to reply to your reply.

      Here is my blog now that it's up and running for students to access: I've posted some great resources for any ELA classroom. I've even presented (to school / non-school institutions) a little on how I utilize blogging.

      Keep inspiring others "-)

  2. I love your grammar foldable! It's a perfect, easy to track way for students to distinguish between each of the sentence types. I am definitely using this at my new school next year,and I'm sharing this tip with my readers, as well. Thank you!

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