If you teach English Language Learners, you know that open-ended questions for speaking and writing are especially difficult for them. Modeling strategies, like sentence frames and sentence starters, can be a huge help in building their confidence.
In brief, sentence frames are partial sentences with blank areas for students to fill in. Signal words act as anchors that guide students through the sentence and give context so they know what types of words and phrases are expected. Sentence starters are a similar idea, but with only the beginning idea provided.
Here are some things to keep in mind when using sentence frames and sentence starters.
- If you’re making your own frames, first think about how you’d like students to respond to the question or prompt. Then remove key vocabulary. Change up the sentence structure for more advanced students.
- Challenge students with starters that scaffold the requirement of higher level thinking skills, such as: “I feel that…” “I believe…” or “I agree or disagree because…”
- A word bank or word wall can be a great tool for students to draw from. Encourage students to contribute to the word bank which will give them more ownership of their learning.
When using the “I Do, We Do, You Do” classroom strategy, consider adding in sentence frames and sentence starters. They can make lessons more interactive and engaging for students.