Teacher Toolkit

Thinking Routines and Discursive Strategies

Sentence, Phrase, Word

Who is this for?

All grades

Why use it?

Students identify a sentence, phrase and word that connects to the main theme/issue.

Students can make predictions and help identify the main ideas in a text.

Bloom’s Level


What is it?

This discursive and thinking routine supports students to think about big ideas and provides a structure for conversation.


Sentence, Phrase, Word template (optional or one per group)


Whole class, small groups or individually

1. Read text (either as a group or individually), encourage active reading strategies like highlighting.

2. Students choose a sentence that helped them gain deeper understanding and have a reason for their choice.

3. Students choose a phrase from the text that engaged them or struck them as powerful and have a reason for their choice.

4. Students choose a word from the text they find powerful and have a reason for their choice.

5. In small groups, take turns sharing first the sentences, inviting others to comment and discuss. Then share the phrases with discussion and then the words.

6. Have students identify the connections between all the sentence, phrase, word choices for the group.


Share the group thinking with the whole class and try to make connections to each group and the larger issue.


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Teacher ToolkitSentence, Phrase, Word