Sentence Switchers
Primary Market
Education, Primary Ed
Character Focus
Items Needed
1 or more Toobeez sets, 4-6 pairs of safety scissors, sentence strips, tape, chart paper (optional)
The Activity Time
45 – 55 minutes


  • Differentiate between complete sentences and sentence fragments
  • Identify simple subject, simple predicate, complete subject and complete predicate (Samples)
  • Create complete sentences with a small group
  • Discuss and reflect on the experience
Character Focus
The Challenge

Groups will identify complete subjects, complete predicates, simple subjects and simple predicates. Students will then mix them in a grammatically correct manner to develop various complete sentences.


Time: 15 minutes


  • 1 or more Toobeez sets
  • 4-6 pairs of safety scissors
  • sentence strips
  • tape
  • chart paper (optional)


  • Divide the Toobeez into two piles. Each pile should consist of half the larger-sized and half the smaller-sized
    Toobeez. Separate the piles in the room.
  • Using sentence strips, write down different complete subjects and complete predicates (samples are provided on page 75 of the Appendix).
Activity Plan

Time: 45 – 55 minutes

Space: Lots

Instruction: Whole class and small groups

Helpful Hints

  • Be sure to review these tips prior to beginning the activity, and if necessary, share reminders with the group during the activity.
  • Students may get a little active as silly combinations arise
  • Guide students toward making sentences that are complete and make sense
  • Have the following terms defined on a displayed poster or overhead for easy reference during the activity: noun, verb, complete subject, complete predicate, simple subject and simple predicate
  • When writing your own sentences on the strips, make the sentences simple (avoid complex phrases) so they can be easily interchanged with other strips during the activity

Activity Instructions

1. Circle up the group.

Discuss the importance of writing complete sentences. Ask students, “What happens if a sentence is written incompletely as a fragment instead of as a complete sentence?” Students should state something to the effect that writing becomes unclear and is difficult to comprehend.

2. Review the following terms with students. Use this sample sentence with the class if necessary. Review noun, verb, adjective and adverb if necessary:

*The complete subject is the “who” or “what” (noun) doing the action plus all the modifiers (adjectives, adverbs, articles, etc.).
*The simple subject is just the “who” or “what” doing the action.
*The complete predicate is the action (verb) plus all the modifiers (adverbs, prepositional phrases, etc.).
*The simple predicate is just the action.

Sample: The sneaky gray mouse quickly gobbled the cheese.

Complete subject: The sneaky gray mouse
Complete predicate: quickly gobbled the cheese
Simple subject: mouse Simple predicate: gobbled

3. Read aloud the following Activity Challenge Box to the group.

Challenge: Groups will identify complete subjects, complete predicates, simple subjects and simple predicates. Students will then mix them in a grammatically correct manner to develop various complete sentences.

4. Distribute sentence strips with sentence fragments written on them. Students should not read what is on the strip until told to do so.

5. Separate the students into two groups by subjects and predicates near each of the piles of Toobeez. Once assembled in their areas, be sure everyone is in the appropriate group. Make adjustments as needed.

6. Take a few minutes to have each group share some examples of their complete subjects and complete predicates. Then, review the terms simple subject and simple predicate with the groups.

7. Using scissors with caution, each student should cut out the simple subject or simple predicate from their sentence strip.

8. Now have students tape simple subjects to a small Toobeez, subject modifiers to large Toobeez, simple predicate to a small Toobeez, and predicate modifiers to large Toobeez.

9. Group students into two or three medium-sized groups to see how many different sentences they can make with their Toobeez by linking tubes together with spheres.

10. Have students record their variations as they come up with complete sentences.

11. Switch up the groups after five minutes and repeat this exercise as often as time permits.

12. After the activity, move to the “Activity Discussion and Processing” section of the activity.

Sentence Switchers1 Sentence Switchers2

Remove the simple subject or predicates from the sentence strips to make new sentences.


  • Students worked cooperatively in small groups
  • Students used appropriate vocabulary when discussing complete sentences
  • Teacher observed good student participation

Activity Discussion and Processing

To close the lesson, end with a group discussion about what was learned during the activity. Circle up the group, and work through the following questions. If possible, record the group’s responses on flip chart paper so all comments are displayed.

  • What is the simple predicate? The simple subject? The complete predicate? The complete subject?
  • How do you feel everyone worked to build complete sentences?
  • What challenges arose during this activity?
  • How do you feel using the Toobeez helped you to better understand the concept of complete sentences?
  • How did this activity help you learn about yourself and perseverance?

Here are available Training Options!

Activity Variations

1. Student creativity.

Once students understand complete subject, complete predicate, simple subject and simple predicate, have students write their own subjects and predicates on sentence strips for further practice of this topic. Remind students to keep their phrases simple, and prepare for a lot giggles during this activity as things can get quite silly!

2. Additional parts of speech.

Look for another activity covering additional parts of speech (such as direct objects, prepositions and more) in the next volume!

Author of the Toobeez Language Arts Activity Workbook and Independent Writing Consultant. Anderson Editorial Services is a company dedicated to providing writing services for creative, informational and educational writing. Whether developing, editing, formatting or proofreading, Anderson Editorial is committed to producing the highest quality of writing.
All Activities of Victoria Anderson, M.Ed.

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