In a previous post,THE “BEST” RESOURCES FOR TEACHING SENTENCE STRUCTURE, I described how I was trying to accelerate my ELL Newcomers’ understanding of basic sentence construction:

I’ve decided on to attempt to “supercharge” the process through using one of my favorite instructional strategies, “Sentence Navigators.”  You can read more about them and get tons of examples at “SENTENCE NAVIGATOR” IS JASON RENSHAW’S GIFT TO ESL/EFL/ELL TEACHERS EVERYWHERE! and at “SENTENCE NAVIGATORS” ARE GREAT LEARNING TOOLS FOR ELLS.

As you can see when you visit those posts, they are a sort of puzzle-like sentence patterning chart.

After students become more proficient using these “sentence navigators,” I will often move them into using sentence scrambles (see The Best Sites For Creating Sentence Scrambles).


I’m now adding a new addition to this effort.

Most teachers are familiar with the sentence expansion strategy, where words and phrases are added to simple sentences.

My students have used it, too.

I’ve now begin connecting it sentence scrambles.

Each week, students work in their peer tutor-led groups on four sheets of “Sentence Navigators” that are related to the theme we are studying (this week, it’s “Animals”).  Peer tutors in my “zero period” class create them.

Then, following completion of those “Navigators,” students work on a sheet of fifteen scrambled sentences, also related to the theme (I write the sentences, and then peer tutors scramble them).

The twist is that these fifteen sentences are divided into groups of three gradually expanded sentences, like:

brown the giraffe . at look

giraffe eating leaves. brown at the look

the who green in is brown giraffe the sun. at look eating leaves


Look at the brown giraffe.

Look at the brown giraffe eating leaves.

Look at the brown giraffe who is eating green leaves in the sun.


It seems to be going well.

Let me know your ideas, though, about how I can make it even better.