The Rememberator

story by Melanie Koster , illustrated by Jake A Minton

Learning Intention:

I am learning to compose a text with a range of sentence types so that I can enhance my narrative writing.


Success Criteria:

  • I can explain how sentence length affects a narrative.
  • I can use adverbial clauses/phrases, compound sentences, complex sentences and conjunctions to enhance a text.
  • I can compose a narrative based on a text I already know.


Essential knowledge:

Adverbial Clauses

Adverbial Phrases

Compound Sentences

Complex Sentences



Oral language and communication:

Display Gary Provost’s website and read aloud the quote titled Vary Sentence Length and Create Music. Keep the display up and give students two minutes to write down anything they notice about the quote. Sample answers may include:

- There is one sentence that is only one word

- The sentence with one word uses repetition of the word “music”

- The longest sentence is at the end

- There are short, medium and long sentences

- The first half of the quote only uses sentences that are five words long

- The second half of the quote is more interesting

- The author compares changing sentence length to music


Understanding text:

As a class, read The Rememberator or if you have a digital subscription, listen to the audio recording. As students listen to the narrative, ask them to note interesting sections that play with sentence length. For example, the first paragraph:

Jeremy Sprockett forgot a lot. The Sprocketts were a forgetful family. The house was

full of music, art, dance, books and wonderful inventiveness. But with so much

creativity crammed into each day, and so many exciting things to think about, some

ordinary but rather important things were hard to remember.

Invite students to share their interesting sections and discuss sentence lengths. Ask what sort of techniques the author used in each section. As with the paragraph above, some sample answers would include:

- the use of repetition of the word forgetful

- the use of a list in the third sentence

- the long sentence at the end with various clauses and conjunctions

Remind students of different sentence types, such as Compound Sentences and Complex Sentences. Go through the difference between Adverbial Clauses and Adverbial Phrases and ask them to list conjunctions that can be used to expand sentences. If you have a digital subscription, complete the activity Sentence Variety to consolidate learning.


Ask students to find examples of these five features in the text.


Sample answers:

  1. Compound sentence:

The door unlocked and swung open.


  1. Complex sentence:

As the Sprockett Family went to leave, the Rememberator scanned their bags.


  1. Adverbial clause:

When bags were packed with the required items


  1. Adverbial phrase:

On Wednesday


  1. Conjunction:



Issue students with a number from one to five and have them write a definition and several examples for the corresponding grammatical feature above. So, students who were issued with the number one will write a definition and several examples for compound sentences, students who were issued with the number two do the same for complex sentences and so on. Students can complete the task as a poster or on index cards. These definitions and examples can be used for the following task.


Creating text:

Tell students to choose a section of the story that can be expanded into a short story, for example, when Jeremy has to play air-cello in the orchestra. Explain that students will need to use a variety of sentences to make their story more interesting and include at least one of each of the grammatical features listed above. Encourage them to think of other narrative techniques explored in this lesson, such as one-word sentences and repetition. Return to the quote by Gary Provost and the full text of The Rememberator for more examples.


To start them off, read the following prompt aloud:

It was a bad week. The worst week. And it was only Tuesday! Jeremy stood outside

the music room, sore, sorry and miserable as he shivered in the cold. How could he

have forgotten his cello? What would the music teacher say?


Assessment for/as learning:

Students can use the following self-evaluation checklist during and after writing:

- I have included varying sentence lengths

- I have included at least one adverbial clause

- I have included at least one adverbial phrase

- I have included at least one compound sentence

- I have included at least one complex sentence

- I have used conjunctions


A marking rubric for imaginative texts can also be found on The School Magazine website. Students can use this rubric to inform their writing, and it can be used for peer and teacher assessment.