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Teacher and students communicate in complete sentences (when capable)

LKSD Best Practice #17

The expectation for this best practice is that teachers and students will use complete sentences both in written and spoken language. Communicating in complete sentences is important because it helps us organize our thoughts and think logically. Requiring the use of complete sentences in both oral and written communication helps students build academic language as well as confidence when it comes to demonstrating correct grammar and language skills.


  • Set the expectation 

    • Expect your students to communicate in complete sentences both verbally and in writing. Since this may be a new requirement in your classroom, special attention will need to be given to frontload routines and structures. It’s important to maintain ongoing accountability; if students engage during class but answer with short clipped words, ask them to respond appropriately.

  • Model

    • Even as the adult in the room, it can be challenging to fall into an old habit of speaking in phrases. One idea is to turn this into a game where students get rewarded when they catch you not using complete sentences; this helps everyone to be hyper-aware which reinforces the expectation. 

  • Scaffold and provide practice towards mastery 

    • Using sentence stems & sentence frames directs students’ thinking and supports their response. By using stems and frames we’re modeling the language structure we want our students to use. These are great supports to use during turn & talk moments as well as when students are expected to contribute during whole group discussion.

Student responses will vary based on their grade level and the question that was asked. 

Have you ever sat down to write a paper or an email but found yourself staring at the screen? We’ve all been there. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start when it comes to writing and, for our students, it’s no different. Some students will immediately benefit from the scaffolded structure while others will write independently. Either way, we’re providing the structure and support for whoever needs it. 

Sentence stems and frames are excellent supports to use when teaching writing structures and to help overcome writer's block. In the document below we compiled a list that we hope helps support your implementation of this best practice in your classroom. 

Click here to view a few sentence stems and frames we've collected. Translations into Yugtun are also provided. 

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