Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Sentence Frames 102: Differentiating Sentence Frames

As you may remember from my previous post, I believe that Sentence Frames are a high-yield strategy for our English learners and should be provided for every speaking and writing activity. However, sentence frames for ELLs are not one-size fits all. We want to be sure to differentiate our sentence frames to make them appropriate for learners at all levels of proficiency.

What's appropriate for each level?
Since 40 US states currently use the WIDA standards for ELLs, I'm going to show how we can use the WIDA performance definitions to help differentiate our sentence frames. 
As you can see, at levels 1 and 2, students are able to use words, phrases, and simple sentences. As we move up to levels 3 and 4, students are able to use longer and more complex sentences. Therefore, the sentence frames we provide to lower proficiency students should help students construct simple responses, while the sentence frames we provide higher proficiency students should elicit longer, more complex responses. 

Below is an example of how a sentence frame for "predicting" might change across proficiency levels.

It's easy to see how the complexity evolves from Level 1 through Level 5. Below you can see an additional example- these sentence frames for discussing main idea are differentiated for Levels 1-2 (top) and Levels 3-4 (bottom).

It does seem like extra work up front, but once you've created a set centered around a particular skill or topic, you can reuse those when reviewing the skill or topic in the future. Also, the more practice you get at creating sentence frames, the easier and quicker it becomes.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing! I am newly ESOL endorsed, and this has opened my mind and allowed me to see that I definitely have some work to do. I need to be sure to look at my students scores and accommodate accordingly when it comes to sentence stems. I tend to stick to the same general sentence stems. Thank you also for providing examples, along with reassurance that the more we do this the quicker and easier it will become.