When I first started teaching 5th grade, I had a pretty serious misconception about students and writing. I thought that students would be able to express themselves verbally and in writing about what we were learning. Wrong-o, Ari. There were a few that were articulate, but as a group, my students needed some scaffolding.
Hello, sentence stems. Sentence stems help students communicate what they are thinking about, help many students with special needs, and provide focus for our lesson.
In this post, I’ve provided some basic sentence stems for social studies, math, and science.
3 Tips for Using Sentence Stems
1. Make sentence stems optional.
I’ve found that the students who need the sentence stems KNOW they need it and will use it. As students get more comfortable with explaining their thinking, many will naturally use the sentence stems.
2. Model how to use sentence stems when responding in notebooks and aloud.
Unless students have used them before, they may not know what to do with it a blank line. Show them your expectations and how it can be helpful. Have students practice using sentence stems when answering questions with a partner. You can practice with easy ones like “My favorite subject is ___ because ___.”
3. Keep a list of sentence stems handy for you and your students to reference.
Sometimes my brain hurts and I just need things to be readily available. I made 3 printable pages of sentence stems for social studies, science, and math that you can download and have on-hand. Download this free resource now.
Hopefully this post gave you some ideas on how to implement sentence stems in your classroom!