Help Your Students Master Four Types of Sentences in 3 Easy Steps

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Inside: Learn three effective ways on How to teach the four types of sentences using guided notes and fun activities that will get your kiddos motivated to learn.

On average, a person speaks over 16,000 words a day…some more than others. When we speak or even when we write, we are using sentences to express our thoughts or ideas. 

Sometimes, we like to tell a friend about a new book. Other times, we like to ask a lot of questions. Some days, we feel the need to be extra bossy and tell others what to do. Then there are times when we are super excited about an upcoming trip or event.

Through the many ways we express ourselves, we use sentences to help others understand what we are trying to say. Those sentences are broken down into four types of sentences.

  • Declarative/Statements
  • Interrogative/Questions
  • Imperative/Commands
  • Exclamatory/Strong Emotions

Mastering the different types of sentences is an important piece in helping your students build a foundation of writing which in turn helps them learn how to express themselves in various ways. 

Let’s take a deep dive into the world of how to teach the four types of sentences so they “stick” with your kiddos.

Step 1: Introduce the four “Types of Sentences”

This images is showing 3 different anchor charts for types of sentences.

You can introduce the four types of sentences in several ways. Some of my favorite ways are through anchor charts and guided notes.

  1. Anchor Charts: You can do this with a premade anchor chart or one that you make with your students. This is a great visual for students to reference.
  2. Guided Notes: When using guided notes, I explain the sentence type and the sentence’s job. We talk about punctuation. Then I give sentence examples using one phrase. As I am working through each sentence, students are taking notes on their guided notes page. This is a great tool for students to refer back to when working on other types of sentence activities. I have included guided notes in the freebie

There’s Power in a Phrase

When working through the guided notes, we talk about sentence examples. I introduce one phrase: dirty hands. I write this phrase on the board for students to see then we turn that phrase into different sentences.

  1. First, I take the phrase, dirty hands, and turn it into a declarative sentence.
    • Your hands are dirty.
  2. I walk students through three clues/questions to help them determine the type of sentence. The three clues/questions are:
    1. What is the sentence doing?
      • Is it telling, asking, giving a command, or showing emotion?
    2. Are there any questions words at the beginning?
      • who, what, where, when, whose, how, why, how much, how many, etc…
    3. What punctuation do you see at the end?
      • period, question mark, or exclamation mark

Most of your students will have a general understanding of this sentence type, but I want them to understand why it is a declarative sentence. When they can dig deeper into why a sentence is a certain type, they will have a better understanding especially when it comes to tricky sentences.

We’re Not Done Yet!

  1. After we are done with the declarative sentences, I write the other 3 sentence types on the board.
    1. When are you going to wash your hands?
    2. Please wash your dirty hands.
    3. Wow, your hands are dirty!
  2. We discuss the last three sentences using the clues/questions to fully grasp the difference between each type of sentence.
  3. Once your class has discussed the different clues and determined in the sentence types, have them write the sentences on the guided notes.

The reason I use the same phrase “dirty hands” for all sentence types is to show students that a sentence can be expressed in four different ways.

Step 2: I Do, We Do, You Do

This image is showing an example of guided notes for types of sentences.

Now that you have guided your students through the different types of sentences using the phrase and clues (I Do). It’s time to move on to the two parts in the guided notes that will further take them through determining sentence types. 

Guided Notes Part 1: We Do

For part 1 of the guided notes, I take the “We Do” approach to building a foundation of mastery. We work in a whole group or with partners to determine the types of sentences using clues introduced in the beginning. This is where I correct any misconceptions with the four types of sentences.

Guided Notes Part 2: You Do

At this point, students should be rocking and rolling with the different types of sentences. Now, it’s time to take things up a notch. This is where students work independently to show what they have learned.

Minds are exploding…Can students identify types of sentences without punctuation? 

For part 2 of the guided notes, it’s time for students to show what they know! Reading the sentences and using the clues, students are to determine what punctuation is needed to complete the sentence. This part can be tricky, but if students use the clues given in the beginning they will soar through this part.

Step 3: Make Learning Types of Sentences Fun!

Learning types of sentences doesn’t have to be boring. You can spice up mastery by immersing your students in fun and engaging activities that promote learning.

Detective Details: Practice Skill Cards

This image is showing The Junkyard Wonders picture book with a practice skill card.

I use practice skill cards with each grammar skill. Kiddos love them! Plus, it brings reading and grammar together.

Once a grammar skill has been taught, the practice skill cards become a part of student learning. They grab the skill card and a book and then look for strong sentences that support the grammar skill of the week.

Make it fun by explaining to your student that using the cards is like being a detective looking for clues. These skill cards can be used with short texts, picture books, and more!

Related: Learn More About the Parts of Speech Skill Cards

Junkyard Wonders and Sentence Sorts

This image is showing a sorting activity for The Junkyard Wonders book.

Throughout the year, I use picture books to help teach various reading and grammar skills. The Junkyard Wonders is one of my favorite books to read at the beginning of the school year. 

I created a sentence sort from this book for students to practice identifying and sorting different sentence types. 

After we read the book, I include this grammar activity in a station for students to complete during the week. Students read the different sentences and sort them based on clues. 

Related: Make Learning Fun 3 Tips for Teaching Grammar

Final Thoughts…

Last but not least, If you found this helpful, grab the freebie below for teaching the four types of sentences. The freebie includes guided notes, a practice skill card, The Junkyard Wonders sentence sort, and answer keys to help you get started with helping your students master the Four Types of Sentences. 

If you are looking for more activities to help teach the four types of sentences, check out these fun and engaging activities that your students are sure to love.

If you have any questions or would like more info on how to teach the four types of sentences, please reach out. I am more than happy to help you on your teaching journey.

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