Sentence Starters

The purpose of this activity is to warm-up your children's imagination. It is all for fun and there are no wrong answers. However, you can take note of misspelled words and poor usage of grammar and punctuation and use the information for future spelling and grammar lessons. This activity usually generates conversation because the children will read their sentences aloud and they will sometimes want to talk about them.

Resources to Have on Hand

  • The children's favorite dictionary so they can look up a word if the need arises
  • A thesaurus

How to use Sentence Starters

Of course you may use these by simply asking the children to complete the sentence. I generally ask my kids to choose a theme or two for their sentences. All children do not have to choose the same theme, each child chooses the theme that he or she wants to use.

Some Themes

  • funny
  • happy
  • happy occasion
  • religious
  • ordinary
  • scary
  • horror
  • fantasy
  • nonsense
  • etc.

Settings

You could also ask the children to choose a setting. I do not usually ask for a setting, but sometimes I do. If you opt to have the children choose a setting, then instruct the child to include the setting on their paper. They could write a description of the setting... or the setting could become a part of the sentence [example from: Through the open door she could see]
Through the open door -of the abandoned hotel- she could see...

Here are some settings:

  • home [yours, someone else's, spooky]
  • down town [daylight or dark]
  • a shopping mall [new, abandoned]
  • cave [spooky, beautiful, dark, or batty...]
  • outer space [in a space ship or on another planet]
  • a different time [past or future]
  • hotel [old or new, large or small, in the middle of nowhere or in the middle of a metropolis]
  • forest
  • A season [autumn, winter, spring, summer or/and with elements of the season implied (snowy day)
  • and so on...

The Sentence Starters

Choose One

  1. Through the open door she could see | examples
  2. The moment he saw the picture, he | examples
  3. Five minutes later he
  4. One sees now that she would
  5. She opened the door and
  6. I thought for a moment and then
  7. The thing that helped save him was
  8. For this purpose, they made a 
  9. There is nothing here but a 
  10. The men were stunned when they saw
  11. We have journeyed far and now we must
  12. As she watched the leaves drift
  13. They were beginning to look for
  14. The dull gray hours passed then suddenly
  15. What a strange noise that is, it sounds like a
  16. He insisted that they should
  17. Some of the people were shocked when
  18. On this occasion the presents were
  19. He sat for a while and then
  20. She looked back when she heard the

Examples

These examples are sentences that were written by a middle-grade child (always named 1.) and an upper-grade child (always named 2.) The examples will always have the youngest child's sentence first:

Examples from Sentence 1 

theme: nonsense
1. Through the open door she could see flying frogs, walking fish, talking trees, dancing leaves, mooing grass, fishing dictionaries, laughing chairs, and jumping calculators.
2. Through the open door she could see a tree growing upside down in a circular manner.
theme: ordinary
1. Through the open door she could see a bunch of adorable keelios frolicking in the frostbitten field. 
*note: Keelios is an imaginary animal created by child 1.
theme: horror
2. Through the open door she could see a cabinet that has three eyes, one of which was popped out and looking around, five arms and five additional stubs where more arms could have been, three legs each with seven toes, three teeth protruding from the mouth and a power drill for hands.

Examples from Sentence 2 

theme: goofy/scary
1. The moment he saw the picture he ran away screaming because it was a picture of Teletubbies.
theme: nonsense
2. The moment he saw the picture he exploded.
theme: horror
2. The moment he saw the *old, dirty picture, he was grabbed by the man in the picture and pulled in while the microwave laughed sinuously.
*note: Child added adjectives to the sentence starter. Dirty as in muddy.

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