Fragment or Sentence?

  • Fourth Grade
  • Writing
  • 80 minutes
  • Standards: L.4.1
  • 4.0 based on 1 rating
August 11, 2015
by Susan Russell

This lesson includes a bunch of hands-on activities to get little writers excited about complete sentences. After learning about subjects and predicates, students will tackle the challenge of writing their own sentences and fragments.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to distinguish between complete sentences and sentence fragments.

Download Lesson Plan


Introduction (15 minutes)

  • Begin the lesson by strengthening all students' ability to identify a subject and a predicate through review.
  • Display your anchor chart.
  • Discuss the definitions of subject and predicate.
  • Ask student volunteers to help you create a list of five simple *subjects.
  • Write this list on the board.
  • Ask student volunteers to help you create a list of five predicates.
  • Write your list of predicates directly next to your list of subjects
  • Once the list is complete, call on students to come up to the list and draw a line from one of the subjects to a predicate to create a sentence.
  • Reinforce the rule that a complete sentence must have a subject and a predicate.

Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (10 minutes)

  • Write down two complete sentences and two sentence fragments on the board.
  • Circle the predicates and underline the nouns as you read each sentence out loud.
  • Verbalize how you identify subjects and predicates, and use that as the criteria to determine which of the things you wrote are complete sentences. If a line doesn't have both a subject and predicate, it's a sentence fragment.

Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (20 minutes)

  • Pass out one sticky note to each student.
  • Ask students to each write a sentence fragment or a complete sentence on their sticky note.
  • When all students have finished writing, ask them to quietly get up and exchange their sticky note with another student.
  • On the board, draw two columns: one labeled "Sentence" and the other labeled "Fragment."
  • Have students come up one at a time and place their sticky note in the column they think it belongs in.
  • After every student has classified their sticky note in a category, read each note out loud.
  • Call on student volunteers to state whether the sticky note placement was correct.
  • Discuss as a group any misplacement of sticky notes.

Independent Working Time (15 minutes)

  • Ask students to take out a piece of notebook paper.
  • Instruct them to each write three complete sentences.
  • They should circle the subject and underline the predicate of each sentence.
  • Ask the students to write three sentence fragments.
  • After each fragment, students should state what part is missing.



  • Enrichment: Ask advanced students to write sentences with compound subjects and predicates.
  • Support: Work with struggling students in a small intervention group to strengthen their skills. Have these students find subjects and predicates in simple sentences.

Technology Integration

A document camera may be used to model the process of marking sentences.


Assessment (10 minutes)

  • Collect and review students' papers.
  • Provide feedback on all of the papers, then return them.
  • Make a note of any students that are still struggling with the concepts.

Review and Closing (10 minutes)

  • Provide time for students to read feedback on their papers
  • Discuss the papers as a whole group.
  • Ask for student volunteers to read their complete sentences.

Teacher Tips


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