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How to Teach the Four Types of Sentences in 3 Easy Steps

Learn how to teach the four types of sentences in three easy steps using guided notes, daily lessons, activities, and more that are effective and fun.

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.

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 four 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.
Using anchor charts to introduce the four types of sentences is a great way to reach visual learners.

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

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.

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. 

There is 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.

First, I take the phrase, dirty hands, and turn it into a declarative sentence.

  • Your hands are dirty.

I walk students through three clues/questions to help them determine the type of sentence. The three clues/questions are:

  • What is the sentence doing? Is it telling, asking, giving a command, or showing emotion?
  • Are there any questions words at the beginning? who, what, where, when, whose, how, why, how much, how many, etc…
  • 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!

After we are done with the declarative sentences, I write the other 3 sentence types on the board. 

  • When are you going to wash your dirty hands?
  • Please wash your dirty hands.
  • Wow, your hands are dirty!

We discuss the last three sentences using the clues/questions to fully grasp the difference between each type of sentence.

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

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 either work together in a whole group, or I will pair students with partners to work together to determine the types of sentences using clues introduced in the beginning. 

As students work together, I walk around to clear up any misconceptions with the four types of sentences.

If we are working as a whole group, I try to pay attention to those students who typically struggle to gauge if they are catching on or not.

This image is showing an example of guided notes for types of sentences.
Using guided notes is an effective way to help students understand 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 the four types of sentences doesn’t have to be boring. You can spice up mastery by immersing your students in fun and engaging actives that promote learning.

This image is showing The Junkyard Wonders picture book with a practice skill card.
Using parts of speech skill cards is a great way to immerse learners into their text to find various grammar skills.

Detective details: Practice skill cards

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 then look for strong sentences that support the grammar skill of the week. 

Make it fun by explaining that using skill 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

A fun Freebie: Junkyard Wonders Sentence Sort

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

This image is showing a sorting activity for The Junkyard Wonders book.
Get your students engaged in learning with this types of sentence freebie.

Final thoughts on how to teach the four types of sentences

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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Hey there! I'm Rachel

Hey there…I am so glad you are here. I hope  you find content that truly resonates and helps you in your classroom. Please feel free to send me an email if you have any questions or concerns. Thanks!

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