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 |
In class
Hybrid |
Offline |
< 10 minutes
Group size
Small |
Medium |

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...'