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Sentence Frames (with freebie!)


During my times merging into the classroom, I learned a variety of English Language Development common teaching practices. The most useful of these techniques, for my purposes, was Sentence Frames.

What are Sentence Frames?

A sentence frame is a sentence in which some, but not all, words are interchanged to practice specific grammar, vocabulary, or language concepts. It is predictable and often includes visuals (pictures or writing).  It can include just one sentence or several. Some sentence frames also include a question.

Here are some examples (bold words are interchangeable vocabulary, non-bold words are the sentence frame).

Question (student A): What is a dog?
Answer (student B): A dog is a nice animal.
Question (student B): What is a dog?
Answer (student C): A dog is a friendly pet.
Question (student C): What is a dog?
Answer (student D): A dog is a nice pet.

In this way, I would go in a circle and get all of my students to ask and answer a question. I would typically write the sentence frame in a notebook along with blank spaces for the interchangeable vocabulary. Then I would draw/write the vocabulary on post it notes and let students interchange words to ask and answer the questions.

Higher level sentence frames looked more like this:

Question (student A): What is an example of mechanical energy?
Answer (student B): An example of mechanical energy is moving water.
Question (student B): What is an example of heat energy?
Answer (student C): An example of heat energy is a fire.

In the freebie provided below, my goal is to have students practice using 2 descriptive words. The goal, however, could also be use of “is” or “and”.

Here are some examples of using this sentence frame:

Question (student A): Describe a hamburger.
Answer (student B): A hamburger is yummy and hot.
Question (student B): Describe ice cream.
Answer (student C): Ice cream is cold and delicious.

Click here to download the sentence frame freebie! This is such a malleable teaching technique and activity that you can use it for almost anything!

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3 Comments

  1. stacey goldberg says:

    thanks for sharing. Love this visual. The school system I am in is doing alot with ELL’s and this would be great to use.

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