This lesson will focus on writing COMPLETE SENTENCES using subjects and predicates. Writing in complete sentences is the first basic writing lesson every student should learn. Sentence structure is important to help students write in journals, responses to reading, paragraphs, essays, book reports and so much more.  It will lay the foundation for good writing practices throughout the year!  These ideas are ideal for any writing curriculum and are a part of a series of mini lessons for writer’s workshop designed for scaffolding through sentence structure, paragraph writing, and the writing process. Read on to learn how to teach complete sentences using subjects and predicates.

1.  Teach 

Teacher-made anchor charts or enlarging a digital poster on a smart board is idea for teaching your visual learners.  I try to provide some sort of visual with each skill to help the students remember the meaning of the lesson. For a perfectly delicious Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich, you can’t leave out the peanut butter or the jelly!  It is the same with sentences.  A sentence is only complete with a subject AND a predicate! A subject is a noun (person, place, or thing) and a predicate is a verb (action or linking).

SUBJECT-  whom or what the sentence is about.  

Ex.  musician, player, he, playground, lake, jacket

PREDICATE- what action the subject does or links the subject by telling what the subject is.  

Ex.  played, struggled, flapping, is, were, am


The talented musician played the violin.

He struggled to catch the ball.

My thick jacket was very warm.

2. Take Notes

I like to have students take notes using INTERACTIVE WRITING NOTEBOOKS.  Research supports the use of interactive writing notebooks through studies on multiple intelligence, note-taking, and the brain!  Here are a few videos about SETTING UP INTERACTIVE WRITING NOTEBOOKS.


3.  Group or Partner Work

Have students practice by writing a paragraph or 5 sentences in a group or with a partner.  This is helpful because they can share their knowledge with each other.  I know they haven’t learned paragraph writing yet (it is later in this series of writing lessons) but sometimes its easier for them to write about a particular topic as opposed to coming up with 5 different sentences. You know your students so choose what is best for them!  Practice is what is important.  Have other students underline the subject and circle the predicate in each sentence.  Motivate them by providing two different colors of pens, pencils, or crayons for this activity! If they have brown for peanut butter and purple for grape jelly, that would be fun!

4.   Share

Share some of the student-made sentences with the class and point out the subjects and predicates.

5.   Independent Practice

Provide independent practice for your students.  Have students identify the subjects and predicates in sentences.  Task cards are a great way to give students practice in centers.  You are welcome to use the samples below when creating practice for your students.


6.   Apply

Students should now apply their knowledge by writing in complete sentences. Give them a topic or prompt to write about in their writing notebooks. (A cute idea is to ask them to explain how to write in complete sentences using complete sentences!) Tell them to underline the subject and circle the predicate in each sentence.

7.  Independent Assessment

Once you think your students had enough practice, give them an independent assessment and track their progress. This useful information can be used with forming small instructional groups or end of year review.

USEFUL TIP:  When writing responses to questions, have students write in COMPLETE SENTENCES by repeating part of the question in their answer.  For example:  Why did Mary show Dickon the garden?  Mary showed Dickon the garden because………. This will give them practice writing complete sentences throughout the year!

I hope these ideas will help you and your students!  ROCK ‘N’ WRITE!!!!!


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Do you need a complete NO PREP Sentence Structure AND Paragraph Unit?  There are anchor charts, interactive notebooks pages, practice worksheets, and task cards for each of the following:  Complete Sentences, Fragments, Run-Ons, Topic Sentences, Rockin Beginnings, Indents, Relevant Details, Transition Words, Closing Sentences, and Clinchers! As a Bonus- hamburger graphic organizer, and assessment!  (There is a primary version too!)

or just Sentence Structure?


Most of this lesson is also included in the STEP-BY-STEP Writing Notebooks® with mini lessons for paragraph, narrative, opinion, and informative writing designed to scaffold through the writing process. It includes anchor charts for teaching, interactive notebook pages for taking notes, modeled stories, mentor text, practice sheets, tracking forms, goal forms, prompts, and so much more! Click on the pic below to find out how to motivate students and boost test scores with this year-long STEP-BY-STEP writing program®!

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