Begin a lesson the day students bring in essays by reviewing the three basic sentence types in English: simple, compound, and complex.
A simple sentence is a subject, verb, and complete idea. (Jack Nicholson is an actor.)
A compound sentence combines two simple sentences. (Jack Nicholson is an actor, and he has been in many movies.)
A complex sentence is an independent and dependent clause (Because he is an excellent actor, Jack Nicholson has won many awards.)
After reviewing these sentence types, students can then look their own papers over. Tell them to connect at least two sets of simple sentences. This review makes learning sentence types easy and helps students apply the learning to their own writing.