Please make sure you are not using our custom header option and enabled theme builder setting. See here for more information:
Home » Blog » Writing & Language » Writing Instruction » Teaching Strategies for Stretching and Expanding Sentences

Teaching Strategies for Stretching and Expanding Sentences

Grammar, Literacy, Writing & Language, Writing Instruction

Written by: Mary Kate Bolinder

Your students have mastered basic sentence writing skills. That's great! Help your young writers take their composition skills to the next level with these tips for stretching and expanding sentences.

Once students have mastered basic sentences, it's time to teach them how to expand and stretch their sentences.

What is an expanded sentence?

An expanded sentence is when additional details or clauses are added to the main clause of a simple sentence.

Simple Sentence: He ran.

That sentence is fine, but it's a little boring, isn't it? Help students spice up their writing with expanded sentences!

Expanded Sentence Example: Joe ran to the ice cream truck after lunch because he was still hungry.

sentence strip samples to show students the difference between simple and expanded sentences

5 W's Sentence Stretching Strategy

One of the best ways to teach expanded sentence writing is to remind students of the 5 Ws: Who, What, When, Where, Why.

Let's break down our expanded sentence example:

Who: Joe

Doing What: ran

Where: the ice cream truck

When: after lunch

Why: because he was still hungry.

Once students have figured out how to add the 5 Ws in their expanded sentences, encourage them to include a HOW by using adverbs.

Example: Joe quickly ran to the ice cream truck after lunch because he was still hungry.

5 W's sentence stretching strategy anchor chart

Videos to teach expanded sentences

Check out this great video to help students review how to write expanded sentences!

Writing Centers for Expanding Sentences

Sentence Writing – Build It

Students will pick 3 cards: a who, a where, and a how.

"Build It" expanding sentences writing center activity

Students will arrange these cards in the stretch a sentence graphic organizer, and write the new sentence they have created. The sillier the better with these sentences!

This writing center has all the tools you will need to give your students practice taking a simple sentence, and expanding it to include more details including a stretch a sentence graphic organizer, basic sentence starters, where/ when/ why cards and a recording sheet.

Find this center and more sentence writing tools in the First Grade Writing Centers pack.

Get this on All Access

toothy task kits

Join All Access to download everything we've ever made.

Stretching Sentences Center

Students will have fun stretching their sentences with this center! The yoga stretches are a great reminder for visual learners when writing expanded sentences.

2nd grade stretching sentences writing center activity in which students roll a die to determine which type of who/ did what/ when/ where/ why/ how detail to add to a basic sentence.

First, students will pick a card with a simple sentence.

Then, students will roll a die and write the matching “W” description on the recording sheet.

Once they have filled the whole sheet, the students will write the complete expanded sentence.

Allow students complete this center on a yoga mat for extra fun!

Bonus: Lead your class through the yoga poses and stretches during a morning activity or as a brain break during the literacy block.

Find this activity and more fun sentence-building activities in the 2nd Grade Writing Centers Pack.

Get this on All Access

toothy task kits

Join All Access to download everything we've ever made.

When your students are ready, try this fun idea for writing more descriptive paragraphs.

Ask Your Colleagues!

Our insightful and inspiring Facebook community of 2nd grade teachers has done it again! Check out our post with a round-up of the best tips for teaching sentence writing.

More creative ideas for 2nd grade grammar skills

tips and strategies for helping kids stretch and expand simple sentences


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hey there!  I’m Angie, owner of Lucky Little Learners. Our #1 goal is to support K-2 teachers.  We provide unlimited access to over 20,000 printables that are aligned to your standards.