SentenceBuilders is a website for teachers and learners of languages. It is a joint project by the people who brought you The Language Gym and the people who brought you TeachVid, Textivate and TaskMagic.
Sentence builders (as a pedagogical tool) are central to the EPI (Extensive Processing Instruction) approach developed and advocated by Dr Gianfranco Conti. See The Language Gym blog for much more information about the approach, including details of Listening As Modelling (LAM) and Reading As Modelling (RAM), which form the basis of the activities used on the SentenceBuilders site.
The idea for a SentenceBuilders collaboration developed following a conversation between Gianfranco Conti and Martin Lapworth at the end of 2017 about the possibility of creating interactive sentence builders that would be capable of generating chunk- and sentence-level interactive activities based on their content. Other things got in the way for a while, but here we are finally :)
SentenceBuilder tables contain words and chunks which combine to form sentences, such that each SB table can generate 100s or even 1000s of different sentences.
The chunks (usually as defined by the contents of each box in the table) are used as the basis for various vocab activities, which recycle and practise the content in different ways, including with text-to-speech (TTS) audio.
The sentences generated by the SentenceBuilder table are used as the basis for all sorts of sentence-level tasks, including gap-fills, sentence scrambles, word-by-word or chunk-by-chunk rebuilds, dictation (using TTS), translation both ways, with varying degrees of support and scaffolding.
As well as generating sentences for activities, a SentenceBuilder table is an interactive resource in its own right, allowing teachers to undertake front-of-class activities based on the content, as well as serving as a great structured knowledge organiser for students.
Activities are combined into activity "Circuits", with activities progressing from easier to harder, with each circuit having a different skills focus. These circuits form the basis of pre-defined assignments, but teachers are free to create their own assignments using any combination of the available activities.
As well as assignments, teachers can set up competitions based on any resource, where students compete for a place on the leaderboard. These competitions can be totally open (i.e. students choose from all activities available) or they can have a specific focus, as determined by the teacher.
The SentenceBuilders books from the Language Gym team provide the content for most of the SB Premium resources. Full content – SentenceBuilders and paragraphs – is available based on the French and Spanish SentenceBuilders books for Primary, Beginner to Pre-intermediate, Lower-intermediate and Intermediate (GCSE), as are the SentenceBuilders for all 4 levels of German. For Italian, Welsh and Chinese the SentenceBuilders are available based on the Beginner to Pre-intermediate book. And we've also added a version of the German Beginner to Pre-intermediate SentenceBuilders for Dutch speakers. We will continue to add more TLG languages and levels – as well as plenty of more general MFL resources – to the site in due course.
We use the term "Premium" to refer to content that is created by us, and to make a distinction between our own resources and those created by the community of SentenceBuilders subscribers.
The principal difference between SB Premium resources and user-generated (or "Community") resources is that many SB Premium resources also include a range of activities based on "narrow reading" texts, including various gap-fills, text reconstruction activities, Find the L2, etc.
Teachers can use our SentenceBuilder authoring tools to create their own full-blown "complex" SentenceBuilder resources, just like the ones in the SB Premium section of the website :)
For more info, see this in-depth user-guide on the SentenceBuilders blog: Creating [complex] interactive SentenceBuilder "machines" that work...launch
Teachers can create classes and set up user accounts for their students. Teachers have full access to their students' log-in information and can reset passwords, add and remove students, etc. The school admin can also do this for all classes that are part of their subscription.
Teachers can set assignments in their classes based on any resource to which they have access. Assignments can be selected from the pre-defined options for each resource, or teachers can build their own assignments using any combination of the activities available for a particular resource. Teachers get in-depth step-by-step feedback on students' assignment performance.
If you're looking for something less formal than an assignment, you have the option of setting up class competitions based on any resource, where students compete for a place at the top of the leaderboard. Points scored reflect the number and accuracy of student interactions with the various activities. Competitions can be completely open, or the teacher can choose a specific focus so that only certain activities are available.