Sentence Frames from Señor Wooly and Ben Slavic

Diana Painter is our new AFLA president. We have had a trio of powerful women leading this organization lately. Yesterday I convinced Diana to come listen to some music and then pumped her for lesson ideas. (The most recent president is leading a group of Germans around the state this weekend, and the one before that is going to present her class novel unit to our PLC next Friday. These teachers go well beyond the class day. I am honored to know them.)

One of the ideas Diana shared with me was from Señor Wooly’s website. It’s a simple sentence frame: _____ is better than _____. The teacher starts by filling in the blanks. Students who agree stand, students who disagree sit, and those who are unsure or ambivalent hold their hands out to the sides in a visual question mark. Once everyone has responded, a new student can use the frame for a new statement.

Diana says that this activity has filled her last five minutes beautifully (and sometimes longer) lately. The kids get into it. They learn who likes biking better than skateboarding, who follows the same teams, and who likes the same foods.

This morning, I came across a series of blogs about sentence frames on Ben Slavic’s blog, posts that were started by Robert Harrell, one of my other heroes. One suggestion was to write out little sentence frame stories that use high frequency verbs, let the kids fill them in, and then use those for the next while as class stories for story asking, reading, and listening. Wild idea! _____ wants a _____. _____ has a ______. ______ gives the ____ to _____. It’s so simple! (Kids could negate the third sentence.)

Or ______ wants to buy ______. _____ goes to _____. At _____, there is a _____, but not a ______.

I’m going to try both these ideas. I think they’re genius in their simplicity and potential punch for a short amount of planning. I’ll let you know what happens!


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