Writing Complete Sentences: Teacher Tips and Activities

We’ve all been there… teaching students how to write complete sentences is tricky, frustrating, and just all around problematic! Today I want to share with you my favorite activities to teach students how to write complete sentences AND how we transition to writing detailed, descriptive sentences.

Writing Complete Sentences: The Basics

In the beginning, I always teach students the two basics: Every sentence must have a WHO (a naming part aka subject) and a WHAT (a telling part aka predicate)!

These posters are the perfect visuals to use when teaching students how to write complete sentences. They’re great to add to your focus wall!

We talk about how even two or three words can make a sentence.

The dog ran.

Sure, it’s a terribly boring sentence that lacks detail, but it’s a sentence. Remember, this is just the beginning. 🙂

Building Complete Sentences

Students MUST truly understand and practice what makes a complete sentence before moving on to writing their own. I love letting my students build silly sentences.

In this activity, students “stitch” together complete sentences by choosing a subject and predicate.

I love this activity for a few reasons:

  1. Students love creating silly sentences!
  2. This activity gives students exposure to detailed sentences!

One activity that’s fun to try after doing this activity is letting students write their own subjects and predicates. First, grab some index cards, and split your class in half. Tell one group to write their own SUBJECTS, and tell the other group to write their own PREDICATES! Now students build silly sentences with ideas they’ve created!

Writing Descriptive Complete Sentences

Once students have a solid understanding for complete sentences, we move on to making them detailed and descriptive.

First we start with just a small “dose of detail” by adding adjectives. Students take sentence strips and choose various adjectives to add to the sentence.

Finally, when students are ready, have them create descriptive, complete sentences with a fun Sentence Surgery day! I have a bunch of cards that contain different parts of a sentence: naming parts, telling parts, adjectives, etc. *Note: Copy each part on different colors!!

Students can glue sentences in notebooks or on paper, or you can have them write down the sentences they build on the recording sheet!

With this activity, students can rearrange the words easily to make sentences in a variety of ways.

For example, we could have made the sentence say, “In the morning, the fast clown jumped on the school bus.”

If you’re ready to start your writing complete, descriptive sentences lessons, you can find all of these activities here!

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