This lesson takes a fair amount of work before hand, but once it’s finished, you’ll never have to do it again. I bought a pack of index cards in 5 different colors, and specified each color with a part of speech. On one color of card, I put nouns that identify a place. On another, I put random nouns (mostly animals, since they tend to like them.) A third color has nouns that describe various material objects (mittens, skateboard, etc.) and the fourth and fifth have verbs and adjectives, respectively. Students are directed to choose one card of each color (without looking) and create a silly sentence with these chosen words. (Grades k-1 are required to use 2 or more of their chosen cards, grades 2-3 must use 3 or more cards, and grades 4-5 must use at least 4 words from the cards. Students who want to give themselves even more of a challenge can use all 5 cards.) After arranging their cards in whatever order they prefer, they write their sentence at the bottom of a 12″ x 18″ paper in pencil. (Sometimes they have to be reminded to add words to make it an actual sentence, not just a string of random words.) They can trace the sentence in Sharpie, then draw images to illustrate their sentence with pencil. After drawing their illustration, they can trace in Sharpie and color with crayons (or colored pencil for older students, if desired.) Below I have included an exceptional Silly Sentence Illustration that one of my 1st graders did last year the day before winter break.
It should read, “One day a tadpole went to the park, then he went to his house to get breakfast, then he went to work.” The words he had randomly selected were “tadpole,” “park,” “house,” “breakfast,” and “worked.” Obviously he needs a little help with tenses, but I loved the result just the same. He didn’t quite finish coloring it in but I thought the way he divided the illustration into the beginning, middle, and end of this little story was pretty sophisticated.