Language matters in science too! Help students engage in academic writing and discussion with science-specific sentence frames.
About This Guide
Below, you'll find guidance related to using sentence frames to organize ideas, including:
- Examples of sentence frames
- Tips on using sentence frames in the classroom
- An example story from a real classroom
Because we know teachers appreciate seeing the results of using these strategies, we've also created an example gallery containing student work.
Sentence frames make it easier for students to contribute ideas to a discussion, or capture their thoughts in writing. Students of all language levels can use sentence frames to organize their ideas. After repeated practice with a sentence frame, students will begin integrating it naturally into their speech and writing. Their capacity to produce their own academic language will thus increase over time.
I notice.../I wonder...
I notice/I wonder is a powerful sentence frame that can be used in all science content and across other subject areas. I notice/I wonder is immediately accessible; it simply asks students to begin observing and asking questions about objects or phenomena in front of them. When taken together, a whole class set of observations and questions provides a rich set of data.
This reminds me of...
This reminds me of is a great frame to get students to start making connections to their own prior knowledge. We often place objects or scientific tools in front of students that they may have never seen before. Using This reminds me of allows students to engage with materials and tools in a way that focuses on inquiry and curiosity.
How to Make it Happen
- Option 1: Write the relevant sentence frame(s) on the board and ask students to copy it into their notebooks. For younger students, you can print them on sticky labels and have them place the labels on their notebook page.
- Option 2: Have students keep a page in their notebook where they collect sentence frames. When it comes time to use them, they can simply flip to that page.
- Option 3: Laminate a set of sentence frames that you intend to use frequently and place one at each table. Students can refer to this resource when writing or speaking.
- Later in the year, let students independently choose which sentence frames to use.
Notes from the Classroom
Michelle was growing meal-worm beetles with her 2nd graders. She wanted her students to pay careful attention to the beetles, and to observe them through their different life stages. Her students were overrun by fascination with the live animals in front of them. Michelle had hooked her students, but she had no idea what they were thinking or wondering about. So, she used the I notice/ I wonder sentence frame.
Students recorded their observations of meal-worm structures, and asked questions about the different body parts. They wrote: "I notice it has sections," or: "I wonder if it will grow wings." Students recorded their observations of behavior and movement, and asked questions about how meal-worms grow and survive. They wrote: "I notice it is wiggling around," or: "I wonder if it can see like we see."
Learn how notebooks can help your students think and act like scientists.