A fragment is. And sentences that run on and on and on and on and on.
In this age of social media, online writing is booming and with it comes informal writing. If a young person is making a point online, they may write: It. Was. Awesome. The audience knows how the writer felt. They were overcome with emotion. They loved it. They are at a loss for words. While it is appropriate and clear as a personal post, it is less appropriate for formal classroom writing.
Below is an activity that teachers can scaffold to ensure success for all students. Teachers can model the first example with a think aloud to discuss fragments and run-on sentences. Students move into independent practice with immediate teacher feedback as students work.
Want to make it more hands-on?
Teachers can write fragment sentences on white boards (either boards on the walls or on hand-held boards at student work areas) and students can appropriately complete the sentence. To add an advanced element, students could write beginning fragments and exchange with classmates to appropriately make the fragment a complete sentence.
Teachers could write run-on sentences on index cards and give to students. They could use scissors and cut the index card where it runs on. This would allow teachers a quick visual assessment. Students could write a correct compound sentence or two sentences to correct the run-on.