Step 1. Vocabulary
I wanted students to link four newly acquired vocabulary words together: process, connect, distinct, and admit. (This is a beneficial exercise by itself to help students retain vocabulary.) I came up with some generic sentence frames for those words (see picture on left).
Step 2. Language Experience Approach
Next, we brainstormed a topic we could write and rap about, which ended up being a food fight-- this was based on something that had happened recently at our school. With help from the sentence frames, we wrote our story as a group. This process is referred to as LEA (Language Experience Approach). LEA was developed primarily for reading development. The rationale is that a text written by the reader is at the right level of complexity and interest. This was our final version:
Step 3. Fluency
After we wrote the text, the students wanted to practice, practice, practice. It was wonderful to see them so motivated to work on their fluency. We even recorded ourselves once, the class gave some ways we could improve, and we did it again.
I plan on doing this lesson again with four new vocabulary words. When I do it again, instead of using sentence frames, I'm going to bring in a picture and have the students tell a story about the picture incorporating the four new vocabulary words. I'll let you know how it goes!