December is a great time for focusing on sentences...they're short! I like to squeeze in some lessons about sentence variety in between the Santa's Workshop, choral concerts, sing alongs, and other holiday cheer.
When I teach about sentence variety, I start out by helping students to understand what the word variety means. A very tangible way to do this is to bring in a variety of something...whether it is a variety of candy, a variety of fruit, or a variety of toys, being able to experience variety helps students to understand why it is something they might want to use in their writing.
Once students understand what variety means, we look at how to add sentence variety to their writing. The best way that I have found to do this is to have students go back through their journals and find a piece that they have written. Then, they count the number of words in sentences and make a list of the first word in each sentence. I model how to use this information as a starting point for revising for sentence variety. What can we do if we find out that all of the sentences have the same number of words? How can we revise to use different sentence beginnings?
Students pick up on these ideas pretty quickly. Even struggling writers can notice that all of their sentences begin with the same words, and can find some ways to make improvements. For the weeks approaching the holiday break, this is about all that I can ask for!
Here's a link to a Sentence Variety Powerpoint that I just uploaded at Teachers Pay Teachers. (It's free, but you do have to register.)