The Great Sentence Race

The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series started this past Sunday. Personally, I don’t watch many (or any) of the races, but I do know quite a few people, and have had quite a few students, who enjoy the sport very much. In an effort to engage my students (especially my middle school and older male students) in practicing distinguishing between fragments, run-ons, and sentences, I themed the exercises in this activity around car racing. It seems to have worked!

Sentence Types Training Game–Digital
Sentence Types Training Game–Paper

It was two years ago that I first shared about an activity and a game my students and I enjoy doing and playing to practice the four types of sentences. You can get all of the details about Types of Sentences Mobile Project (free!) and Sentence Types Training Cover Up Game in the original blog post. While both of these activities are great and serve a needed purpose, my students had a tendency to write with a lot of fragments and run-on sentences. We discussed the differences, did practice exercises to identify and correct them, and had editing sessions dedicated to their elimination. All of these efforts helped, but it was still a problem for my students. I knew we needed yet another practice activity, but that activity had to be something fun and engaging because we were all tired of the normal options. So, I did what I always do, I created a game.

The original game uses a basic game board and regular game pieces (for a fun alternative, try these car erasers). On a player’s turn, he/she will draw a card, read the sentence aloud, and state whether it is a complete sentence, fragment, or run-on. The player then moves his/her piece as follows:

  • complete sentence = forward 2 spaces
  • fragment = forward 1 space
  • run-on = backward 1 space
  • incorrect answer = backward 2 spaces

The game board also includes spaces that help or hinder the players’ races such as:

  • Flat Tire – Back 2 Spaces
  • Move Ahead 4 Spaces
  • No Gas – Back 2 Spaces

Play continues in this manner until one player reaches the end for a photo finish.

After Covid hit, my students still needed practice with this skill, so I made a digital version of the game. As with almost all of my digital board games, this game makes us of the “Game Play” script my husband wrote for me. The script adds an extra menu item to the top of Google Slides entitled Game Play. Within the standard version of this menu are options for “drawing” a card and “rolling” the dice. This particular version only includes “draw a card,” because students move their pieces as described above.

Both versions of the game have been a success with my students. The last time I played it with my college students I had more than one group ask for more time after I called for everyone to put the pieces away! Most importantly, it provided students with another opportunity to practice an important skill. Happy teaching, everyone.