Thursday, September 20, 2012

WH- Word Sentence Formulation Activities

I love working with the little guys at my school, but I often miss working with the older ones!  I have a few activities in my repertoire that I just can’t seem to modify for preschool.  Here’s one of them...

Being an SLP, I have been using the WH- method of sentence formulation for a while now.


I’ve seen a few different variations of this activity in workshops and on Pinterest.  One of my favorites from a workshop I attended involved using Post-It notes.  You need 4 different Post-it pads of different colors.  Assign 1 color to each WH word.  For example:

WHO = Pink
WHERE = Yellow
WHEN = Blue

Next, students brainstorm responses for each category (e.g., WHO à My Dog, Mrs. Manchester, My sister, etc).  

"Who" responses

Once you have a certain number of responses for each (I usually started with 5), students take one of each Post-it and arrange them into a coherent sentence:

Don't forget, the Post-its don't necessarily have to follow this order to be syntactically correct!

I came up with another version of this activity.  I found this clip art from  I printed the WH words on four different birds nests and responses on the baby birds. 

I then created a construction paper tree, attached it to the inside of my closet door, and placed the nests on the tree.

Students can work in teams or independently to place birds in the appropriate nests and formulate a sentence.

close up of the nests:  "A big frog crawled on the floor at the beach in the afternoon"

They can either read the sentence orally or write the sentence on a recording sheet.

 As an extension, you can have the children judge whether the sentence is syntactically appropriate and/or semantically appropriate.  For more on this activity, visit my TPT store. 

Do you use the WH sentence formulation format in your session?  If so, what’s your favorite variation?


  1. I love the birds and nest game for teaching wh-word sentences. I typically use post-it cards with with "wh" words written on them, but recently created an apple picking game for it. (Apples and buckets)

    Talking With Rebecca

    1. Post its really are a great go-to for this activity, aren't they? I like the apple picking idea. Great activity for the fall!

  2. I came across this post on Pinterest a few months back and have been using it with A LOT of success with one of my older elementary students. We have been using different colored index cards with the wh-question words on them to generate sentences in response to picture prompts. We've also been using this activity receptively -- I give him a sentence, and he tells me what part of the sentence answers which wh-question. This has really helped him to understand that sentences don't always follow the same order ("Who" doesn't always have to be first). Moving the index cards around the table has been really helpful in driving this point home as he is a very visual learner. Thank you so much for all your great ideas!

    1. You're welcome! Glad it has worked well for you in your sessions! :)


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