What is a Sentence?

Carol Milstead

Students will learn how to develop and write a sentence; students will be able to show the beginning and end of a sentence; students will be able to act out a sentence beginning to end.


Emergent, patterned text
Simple text with only a few sentences on a page
Sentence strips


1. Students will be gathered in a large group.
2. Teacher will read aloud the story (emergent reader, 1 patterned sentence per page; or simple story, several sentences per page, for students to sequence in their demonstration of sentence actions). For emergent text, preview text in a picture walk, discussing the action on each page, ie., I can jump, I can sing, etc. Read story aloud to students, or have students read each page with support if needed.
3. Discuss what happened in story (retell).
4. Have students choose an action to demonstrate, have students place themselves in the order the sentences occurred in the text, then demonstrate each sentence in order.
5. Bring students back together to discuss. What did they notice? (Each sentence began and ended with one person, each showed a different action.)
6. Say, each sentence tells one thing that happened in the story. Sentences have a job to do, to tell one thing about your topic.
7. Extend the lesson to talk about the way we can see and hear the sentence is finished, with a punctuation mark. In earliest lessons, use a period, but extend to question and exclamation marks as appropriate.
8. Have students choose a way to demonstrate each mark to add emphasis to ending the sentence.
9. With a more complex text, choose 3 sequential sentences and have students collaborate to discuss the meaning in the sentences, and the order the actions occur.
10. Student teams of 3 plan how to demonstrate the sentences in correct sequence.

Differentiation Approaches

1. Differentiation is built into the presentation of the lesson by changing text level and adding a variety of punctuation marks.
2. Sounds can be added to engage auditory learners, to mark punctuation or expand on actions.
3. Visual learners could be engaged further by having students also write each sentence on a sentence strip.


Students will accurately demonstrate the sentence, and show the sentence beginning to end. They will be able to demonstrate appropriate punctuation at the end using a movement determined during the lesson or before.

Follow Up and Extension Ideas

1. Extension ideas included above.
2. This lesson could come after working with understanding the concepts or print and word. Students at this level could precede the lesson on sentences by clapping the number of words in a sentence (math/logical), chanting the words in a sentence to a beat (musical/rhythmic).
3. Students with motor challenges might pair up with a partner who could draw what the motor challenged student imagines the action to look like
4. Follow-up with having students demonstrate a simple sentence during a review time in afternoon meeting, or during a transition time. As a transition activity, students could demonstrate a sentence as they move to the next activity. Teacher would select students to demonstrate their sentence (teacher could further reinforce by writing the sentence down on a strip or on the smart board).
5. Students could play a charades game, having students try to guess what sentence was being demonstrated. Beginning levels would choose from 3-5 given sentences, more experienced levels would create their own sentence.
6. Have students write a sentence to act out, or give to another student to save.

Additional Details

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