I want you to think about your language kids for a moment. Do you have that chatty kiddo? They can go on and on and after a while, you don’t know how you got from asking them what the puppy dog in the picture is doing to which Pokemon they caught that morning? And I’m sure you’ve encountered the child where you rack your brain for as many open-ended questions as you can and they still manage to give you a 1-word answer. And then you have everyone in-between: The ‘try really hard but poor language organization’, the ones that thrive with visual supports but flounder without them, the ones that answer ‘who’ and ‘where’ questions with the most confounding of answers! Sentence Scaffolds. Try it. Sentence Scaffolds.
So how can it help all these different language presentations? By providing a structure and plan for the WHOLE sentence. You’re not going to get caught up with grammatical specifics such as irregular past tense verbs, but focus on your students saying an entire sentence that includes the all pieces of information that you need – a mixture of Who? What? Where? When? Where? How? and Why?
So here is how you do it: When you look at books, ask questions, watch YouTube clips or are in the middle of playing a game, you put the sentence scaffold in front of the child and tell them that you want them to tell you Who was there, What action they were doing and Where it happened. Turn “We went out” to “My family went swimming at the beach”. Sometimes you’ll find they have the basic structure but are missing a specific element. The Who is always “they” or “he” (but you don’t know WHO that is!), the What is always “it” (WHAT is ‘it’ I hear you asking!), so you use your scaffold to highlight the information that they didn’t tell you.
- Develop the oral language and writing link. Give them these homework sheets. They have the structure scaffold at the top so encourage the practice!
- Print and stick the mini black and white scaffolds in their school books, or make a mini flipbook for school and home so other people can support their expressive and written language.
Question scaffolds are also included as sometimes it is knowing what a ‘Where’ word or a ‘How’ word is that tricks the child. While 16 different scaffolds are included, I also have a set of mini square cards so that you can cut and order your own sentence scaffolds. Make them as long or short as you like, encourage more compound sentences or even a bit of a narrative structure.
Are you ready for a LOOOOONG list of Common Core Standards you can use these Sentence Scaffolds for? A mixture of Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening and Language:
- Kindergarten: RL.K.1, RI.K.1, W.K.1, W.K.2, W.K.3, W.K.5, SL.K.3, L.K.1d, L.K.1e, L.K.1f
- Grade 1: RL.1.1, RI.1.1, W.1.3, W.1.5, SL.1.3, L.1.1e, L.1.1g, L.1.1h, L.1.1i, L.1.1j.
- Grade 2: RL.2.1, RI.2.1, SL.2.3, L.2.1d, L.2.1f,
- Grade 3: L.3.1h, L.3.1i
- Grade 4: L.4.1e, L.4.1f