I always use words within the sentences that reflect the current phonics skill we are studying for reading/spelling. The wonderful part about this activity is that it provides fluency with reading and application of the particular phonics pattern, without any anxiety that struggling writers may experience in a standard dictation exercise. I still use dictation regularly, but it is used in conjunction with sentence anagrams as well.
Here are two images of sentences from different grade level classes. This shows how even basic sentences can be used as anagrams with younger students compared to more complex sentences for older students.
I usually give my students markers with which to write their words, and we note the fact that their descriptive words make the sentence more colorful. In the images below, you can see how a few students began to expand the original sentences with their colorful words.
For those of you who teach younger children, I have a pre-made option available in the Tally Tales TPT store that could be used as a center or independent learning activity for young readers and writers. This activity pack, "Sentence Building and Using Details to Write Stronger Sentences" builds upon the concept of sentence anagrams, but is particularly appropriate for use with smaller children.
This product contains a variety of colorful pictures with corresponding word cards for building a sentence. While not necessary when working with older students, the pictures are particularly supportive for young learners who are in the foundational stages of writing and constructing meaning through print.
In addition, I have provided a word bank to which students may refer when writing their own sentences.
I hope this post will be helpful to you! I would love to hear about your experience with sentence anagrams, should you choose to incorporate them into your daily instruction. Good luck! :)