While mastering any language the journey starts with learning letters, forming words building sentences to finally knitting paragraphs. It is a step-by-step process. During elementary school days after putting efforts into learning new words, building meaningful sentences is the next art to master. Building meaningful sentences will eventually help students gain confidence and encourage them to further master their literary skills.
In the course of learning to build sentences comes exposure to learning the art of grammar and the usage of correct syntax to do the same. In this manner, learning one thing leads to the development of the other. It also helps in the construction of the semantic knowledge of a child. Different fun activities can be used to engage the little learners in sentence building. Check different activities that are easy to conduct and transform the learning environment for budding talents.
Fun and engaging sentence-building activities
Sentence building is a significant part of improving reading and writing skills. Hence, the following activities offer a combination of building sentences and also learning the importance of placing different words in the sentence.
1. Where is the cat?
When students are allowed to form their answers, they are more likely to brainstorm and come to a conclusion. This activity focuses on sharpening their language and imagination skills.
- In this activity, students will be given a small sentence called, ‘Where is the cat?’, they will be asked to choose a chit from the bowl.
- In the chit, they need to pick three keywords
- Using those three keywords students have to prepare an answer to the question
- For example, a student takes the chit and the three words are apple, garden, and house then the student can make the sentence – The cat is on the apple tree in the garden near my house
This particular activity firstly enhances the imaginative skills of students and develops their sentence-building and comprehension skills.
2. Think and Speak!
Sentence building is enhanced when creative thinking is clubbed with it. This activity particularly focuses on allowing students to think and then form sentences.
- Give one word to the student
- The student has to think for some time and come up with 3 relevant sentences
- Any random but easy word which is used on an everyday basis can be given to the student. For example, the word can be time
- They can also say a thought related to time
- For example, Time and Tide wait for no man
This activity teaches students the art of being spontaneous to think creatively and expand what is given to them in a meaningful manner. They also get an opportunity to strengthen their vocabulary.
3. Identify Me
Sentence Building begins with identifying if it falls in the right category. There are various types of sentences including assertive, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences. This activity focuses on identifying normal/assertive sentences in a quick span of time.
- To conduct this activity, make a list of different interrogative and assertive sentences
- Explain the common difference between the two sentences
- Now, divide students into teams of 3 members each
- Read aloud a sentence and the team needs to quickly raise their hand for the answer
- The team needs to state if it is an assertive sentence or an interrogative
This activity not only enhances their sentence-building skills but will also give them exposure to sentence identification between different types. It also gives them a chance to develop their critical thinking skills and helps them gain confidence about the same.
4. The Picture Story
Visual representation to build sentence-building and comprehension skills is not only innovative but also necessary in the sentence-building learning process. With pictures, students can get the ideas required to build the sentence,
- In this activity, you will require a particular picture.
- A picture can be anything that your students can describe and write something about easily
- Give them 15-20 mins to think and write about this prompt
- They have to write 4-8 sentences that describe the picture
- The picture can be that of an elephant, a flower, or even a village scenario
This particular activity enhances the ability to describe things through the use of visual cues. This can help prepare them for various information transfer activities which are a part of the academic curriculum of higher classes.
5. Hear, Think, Draft
In this particular activity, you will require a small audio clip related to any small problem or any concept from their curriculum. The audio should be the prompt on which students have to think and prepare an appropriate response for the same.
- Make students hear a small audio clip related to a particular discussion.
- Give them 10 mins to think and write
- Ask them to explain in their own words what the problem is all about
- Let them then speak for 2 mins about what they have written
This activity fosters active listening and enhances the descriptive quality of students. Students learn to paraphrase and explain things in the manner they have understood which will benefit them in their summarizing and retelling skills. This naturally builds their level of sentence building.
6. Story Time!
This is a creative activity in which students need to think by expanding their creative horizons. The activity focuses on developing sentence-building and creative writing skills.
- Give them an ending to a story
- For example, and ….I woke up.
- Here, the students will know that this is a prompt related to a dream
- They need to think and create a story on the same with 10 to 12 sentences
This activity enhances their overall creative writing skills and polishes their sentence-building as well as organizational skills.
7. What comes Where?
Forming a sentence is crucial to write paragraphs or any form of descriptive writing. Hence, students should be taught the importance of subject, verb, and object in a normal sentence to be able to build it correctly.
- To conduct this activity, explain to students the place of subject, verb, and object in a sentence
- Now, ask 3 students to play the role of subject, verb, and object
- Write a sentence on the whiteboard
- Now, ask students to quickly identify the subject, verb, and object in the sentence
- Students playing the role need to say – “I am subject” or “I am object” for this activity
In this particular activity, vocabulary skills improve. The identification of particular elements of a sentence help in the development of the literary skills and builds overall language skills.
8. Who are You?
A sentence comprises various parts of speech including nouns, pronouns, verbs, prepositions, or conjunctions. Only when students are well aware of the concept can they form sentences in a better manner.
- To conduct this activity, ask students to make different chits with the headings – noun, pronoun, verb, and preposition
- Now, write a sentence on the whiteboard
- Ask one student to come near the board and present/paste chits depending on the different parts of speech in the sentence
- For example, if the sentence is – He is good at swimming then the students need to present the pronoun chit for the word He and the verb chit for swimming
As students learn to identify different parts of speech in a sentence, they also learn how to form sentences using certain parts of speech. To practice and enhance the conceptual understanding of parts of speech, online games can also be employed. With such an activity, they boost their critical thinking skills and also enhance their overall vocabulary.
9. Find and Make
Students might know how to read sentences but it is equally important for them to know how to build correct sentences. This activity focuses on understanding parts of a sentence and placing them in the right order.
- To conduct this activity, take 3 different boxes
- Now, take candy sticks and write all the subjects, verbs, and objects on these sticks
- Place the sticks in 3 different boxes
- Now, students need to pick 1 stick from each box at a time
- Once done, they need to put the subject, verb, and object together
- If the sentence does not seem grammatically correct, they can put a particular stick back and try searching until they build a complete sentence
This activity helps in the improvement of their overall grammatical skills. It also helps them learn new words, and verbs and include them in various new sentences related to different situations.
10. Where is the preposition?
To define any position, prepositions are important in grammar. This activity focuses on identifying the correct position to place a preposition in a well-drafted sentence to understand its usage.
- To conduct this activity, write different sentences without prepositions.
- Students need to use sticky notes and identify the correct required preposition in the sentence
- Once they have identified, they need to stick that sticky note in between the sentence where they think the preposition should be.
This simple activity enables students to correctly identify different elements of grammar. As they engage in reading, they also develop vocabulary and creative writing skills.
Sentence-building activities are the building blocks of the literary skills of students. Giving exposure to these activities help them learn grammar indirectly as well as helps them use words in the correct syntax. They help in developing confidence related to writing and speaking right from a young age.
Developing one sentence after another eventually leads to the organization of it and the overall development of writing and speaking skills. Activities make learning various languages easy, fun, interactive and engaging. Students also remember what they have learned for a longer period of time. So, teachers and parents can use these activities to offer a fun learning team to students.
I am Shweta Sharma. I am a final year Masters student of Clinical Psychology and have been working closely in the field of psycho-education and child development. I have served in various organisations and NGOs with the purpose of helping children with disabilities learn and adapt better to both, academic and social challenges. I am keen on writing about learning difficulties, the science behind them and potential strategies to deal with them. My areas of expertise include putting forward the cognitive and behavioural aspects of disabilities for better awareness, as well as efficient intervention. Follow me on LinkedIn