Bilingual Tips: Sentence Stems

Hello friends! I'm so happy to be back with more tips for your bilingual/ESL/ELL students! Remember these tips will be extremely helpful even if you aren't a bilingual teacher. 

So today let's talk about sentence stems. If you aren't using them in your classroom yet let me just tell you these are a MUST if you have ELLs in your classroom. 

Why should I use sentence stems in my classroom?

1. Confidence
We teachers are constantly looking for ways to build up our students' confidence and putting in all our effort to make it happen. If you're a bilingual teacher or have an ESL student in your classroom you gotta double that effort! 
I have found that many ELLs are able to give you the correct answer but they lack communication skills...after all, they're learning a new language! Giving them sentence stems as a resource to refer back to will boost their confidence and you will get them talking in no time!! 

2. Complete sentences
This is hands down one of my biggest pet peeves (and believe me, I have many). I'm always encouraging my students to speak using complete sentences. It is very easy for ELLs to find a place where they feel comfortable and this keeps them from learning new vocabulary. Sentence stems will build their vocabulary AND they will get used to speaking in complete sentences. 

3. Ownership
Once you promote that use of sentence stems in your classroom every day students will take ownership of those new words. Believe me! It will come so natural to them that they won't even notice that magic moment when they started using new words. 

I like to go simple, quick, and pain-free with my sentence stems. Most of the time I just grab a sentence strip and write it ahead of time if I know it's something I will be using that day. But let's face it...most of our teachable moments happen right there when you aren't prepared for it. So I quickly grab a sentence strip and write it right there on the spot! 


Your ELLs a little extra help! Don't make them start their sentences from scratch if they're not ready yet! 
Do you use sentence stems in your classroom? How do you use them?


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