Sentence Writing Activities & Puzzles in Action

The other day, I worked with my ESL student on sentence building skills. I used my sentence puzzles pack which includes all the Dolch Primer sight words but I also used many different ideas to help build his skills in this subject! He is an ESL student and is finding sentence structure particularly difficult. I think that ESL students find it hard due to the subject-verb-object order. This is something that many mainstream students do not worry about.

Scroll to the bottom of this post to get the FREE jumbled paragraph mini interactive printable based on sentence structure!

Here are a few ways that you could possibly incorporate when you’ve got a few ESL students in your class to cater for.

1. Place some mainstream kids along with a few ESL student in each group. (if you can)
2. Consider using some alphabet cards and play a game where the students have to make as many words as they can from the pile! You can make that a race.
3. Choose some cards and write pronouns, verbs and objects on each card and have the students make as many sentences as they can from the pile (another race!).
4. Dictate two basic sentences each day to the whole class. Get the students to draw pictures to illustrate the sentences and each week have the students vote on the best picture illustrated.
5. Play a game where you throw scrambled words (listening) and students write those words down then re-arrange the words to make complete sentences.

These are just some ways I have found worked for me and my students – it’s a very tricky thing!

Anyway, here are some sentence puzzles I’ve made to help students further work in groups on sentence construction. I’ve printed these on card stock and used them over and over so MANY TIMES! My students sometimes choose the folder and start working on them by themselves. πŸ™‚

So I printed mine with four puzzles on one A4 sheet to save paper and card stock ha! You can do this is you like or you could leave them as their original sizes. I’ve done this to give teachers the option to print them on a large sheet. You can click on this picture to see the complete bundle. πŸ™‚

There are several ways to use these. You can organize a file folder to store all the cards in or you could just store them in zip-lock bags and use them on tables.
Firstly, I printed a simple sheet with the dimensions on them like a guide (see below in green) so the students know how many cards to put on one square (making the full sentence). The cards are also color coded so the students will know which ones to use when figuring out the picture puzzles. They are great fun – as students make them they start to guess what the picture is!
It’s essential to get the students practicing their reading skills as well, so I make sure I get them reading the word cards after they place them in each box using the color codes. You can see some sentences completed below! πŸ™‚
Here are some more sentences constructed on a table – the students copied these into their notebooks later. I have included a black and white version of these so that you could just print them and hand them out so students color and glue into their notebooks – or even cut them up and hand out one to each student for re-arranging and gluing. πŸ™‚
Here are some more pictures, the best thing about these is that there are plenty to hand out to each group in the class – that way no copying happens and then groups can switch to work on a different set! πŸ™‚
Finally, I got my students to record their responses on the recording sheets provided – or you could extend this activity and have them draw pictures to illustrate the sentences after writing them down – this is particularly fun because they’ve already got an image in their minds when they re-arranged the strips to make sentences. πŸ™‚
Finally, I’d like to cap off by offering a free interactive printable worksheet where students cut and paste the words to build sentences and finally make a full paragraph – FUN! You could read this to the class before they start cutting it up to make it easier but the sentences are quite simple. Click on any picture to download it! πŸ™‚


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