Finish the sentence

A fast and easy way to activate your students and collect input is to present them an unfinished sentence that they need to complete. This can be a statement, a content question or a sentence in which students can tell something about themselves.

Activity goal
Activate prior knowledge | Brainstorm | Get to know each other | Recap / Summarize | Reflect
In class
Hybrid | Offline | Online
< 10 minutes
Group size
Small | Medium | Large

Zoom, Teams, Mentimeter, Canvas

Step 1

Ask the students to consider a concrete question or statement. Formulate the question in the most open way possible so that students will have to come up with their own clarification, argument or explanation.

Step 2

Give the students time to consider their answer. 

Step 3

During this time, write or show the sentence starter that is derived from your question. See some examples below 

Step 4

Then ask your students to complete this sentence. You can do this in various ways, such as giving the students turns or collecting input via post-its, an online tool or in a chat during an online meeting.

Step 5

If necessary, ask several students to clarify their input to others. 

Consider the tools and materials mentioned here as suggestions. In many cases it’s possible to use alternative tools. Please turn to the Learning & Innovation team of your faculty (EUR or EMC) first to see which online and offline tools are available and how to apply them.

  • You can collect students’ input via chat in a live session (during the Zoom or MS Teams’ session), on post-its or in an online tool such as Mentimeter (select ‘Word Cloud’ or ‘Open-Ended’).
  • Prior to a session you can also collect input in a discussion forum in Canvas. 

A few examples that you can use:

  • Finish the following sentence: ‘In this course/lecture/tutorial I'd like to learn about....’
  • Finish the following sentence: ‘The hardest part of the article/essay/ homework assignment was...'
  • Finish the following sentence: 'My favorite filosopher is...'

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