Your students find it difficult to begin their writing.
Some students may find it difficult to generate the ideas that have in their mind into a response on the page. While some students can articulate themselves verbally, this does not always translate well to their work.
To respond to this struggle, students should be provided with a sentence starter to get the proverbial ball rolling.
A sentence starter, or stem, is merely the first half of a sentence that students need to finish themselves. It gives students the appropriate vocabulary to be independent with their writing.
At the start of my teaching career, I thought this was akin to giving students the answer; however, I now understand that it is about providing students with a starting point that they need to finish.
Consider the following question:
Based on your understanding of the first 2 stanzas of The Raven, what is this poem about?
Here are a number of sentence starters that you may choose to use and record on the whiteboard for students.
- Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven is about…
- In the first stanza…
- In the second stanza…
You might like to generate some generic sentence starters for different types of thinking, such as we explored in Bloom’s Taxonomy. Check out this one that I found on Pinterest, which might be great to have on the wall in the classroom:
Sentence starters are a necessary part of the writing process and getting students to be success with showcasing their ideas.