tag:sentencebuilders.posthaven.com,2013:/posts The SentenceBuilders Blog 2024-04-17T11:11:45Z SentenceBuilders tag:sentencebuilders.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1959567 2023-04-03T12:46:54Z 2023-04-09T19:31:09Z Transformations

If you've already had a go at making your own SentenceBuilder resources on SentenceBuilders.com, you are likely to have experienced issues with sentences which don't appear quite as you would like them to.

Maybe you've wanted to know how to include annotations in the SentenceBuilder but not have these appear in the sentences that it generates? e.g. markers for masculine and feminine, such as "(m)" or "(f)"

Perhaps you've wanted to know how to make the English items appear in the correct order, for things like nouns and adjectives? e.g. "une voiture rouge" = "a car red" ???

Or how to solve the word order issues in German, especially around verbs being sent to the end of the clause? e.g. "Ich bin ins Kino gegangen" = "I am to the cinema gone" ???

These problems occur because sentences are generated (in both the L1 and the L2) by simply combining the items as they appear in the SentenceBuilder, moving from left to right.

You need to add something extra -- beyond just the SentenceBuilder contents -- if you want your SentenceBuilder to generate sentences that work.

And that something extra is... 

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tag:sentencebuilders.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1873287 2022-08-26T19:11:48Z 2023-02-21T11:35:07Z 2 recent updates to Assignments on SentenceBuilders.com: delayed start + audience

We thought we'd get ready for the new academic year 2022-23 (Northern hemisphere only, I know...!) by adding a couple of exciting new Assignment features that some of our users have been asking for for quite a while:

  1. Delayed start: i.e. assignments that become available from a specific date & time.

    This allows you to, for example, set assignments that only become available once a lesson starts, or once school is finished, or on a particular day. Great for setting cover work, for example. But also really good for planning in advance without being worried about students tackling assignments before they are ready to do them.
    See this blog post for full info about this new feature :)

  2. Audience: i.e. the ability to set an assignment for specific students as well as for the whole class.

    The new "Groups" feature that accompanies this upgrade makes it really easy to set assignments for a predefined group of students within your class, or you can simply select from the student list. Great for setting differentiated work. Also really good for setting catch-up assignments, or for reassigning to those who have missed or uncompleted assignments.
    See this blog post for lots more info about this new feature :)

The image above shows both of these features in the new Assignment pop-up, accessed via the Assignments tab of all of your classes on SentenceBuilders.com

We hope these 2 updates combined will offer you much more flexibility when it comes to setting assignments via our platform :o)

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tag:sentencebuilders.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1872734 2022-08-25T11:12:15Z 2024-04-17T11:11:45Z "Assign to..." - Assignments for a specific audience within your class

From launch in 2021 until 25th August 2022 it was only possible to set Assignments for a whole class on SentenceBuilders.com 

That's now changed :)

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tag:sentencebuilders.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1870826 2022-08-20T10:15:42Z 2022-08-20T13:24:19Z SB Assignments now have the option of a delayed start

The ability to schedule assignments -- i.e. to make them available from a certain date & time in the future rather than having them immediately available -- is one of the most requested features on SentenceBuilders.com...

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tag:sentencebuilders.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1817163 2022-04-16T07:54:32Z 2022-05-20T08:42:15Z A look back at the 1st year of SentenceBuilders.com

16th April 2022 marks 1 year since SentenceBuilders was launched.

It's been a busy year!

Let's look back at how the site has developed in its first 12 months.

1. SB Premium Content

The original concept for the SentenceBuilders website was as a vehicle for providing interactive SentenceBuilders and interactive activities based on the SentenceBuilders from the best-selling Sentence Builders books from The Language Gym. (We only decided to add some rudimentary authoring functionality in the few weeks prior to launch!!)

So how has the SB Premium content developed in this 1st year?


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tag:sentencebuilders.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1705077 2022-04-05T08:51:48Z 2022-04-05T08:56:59Z Tracking student activity on SentenceBuilders.com

On SentenceBuilders.com there are several ways that students can get involved in interactive activities -- each involving a certain level of performance tracking -- so there's plenty of feedback available to teachers on student progress, effort, accuracy and time spent.


On SentenceBuilders you can set assignments based on any resource, whether an "SB premium" resource (created by the SentenceBuilders team for the website), or a "community" resource (created by our users).

Assignments can be "pre-defined" or "DIY"...

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tag:sentencebuilders.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1812937 2022-03-30T19:35:48Z 2022-10-20T17:15:23Z Direct translations + word order transformations: a German example

Very often the direct translation of chunks within a SentenceBuilder into English can produce L1 English sentences that are far from ideal.

Here's a German example:

In this example the English translation for the sentence (e.g. I ate ice cream) has been split across the first SB row so that it matches the German, as we would expect. In fact, though, the sentences generated by the SB are, for example:

Ich habe Eis gegessen >> I ice cream ate
Du hast Fußball gespielt >> You football played
Sie hat eine Tour gemacht >> She a tour did

This is logical and inevitable if the language is entered into the SB in this way and the sentences are not transformed.

So how can we improve on this?

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tag:sentencebuilders.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1811928 2022-03-28T15:31:33Z 2023-05-26T09:53:29Z Team Competitions

Inside the "Edit" tab of every class there is now (as of 28th March 2022) a "Manage teams" button. When you click this, you see a pop-up that looks something like the one in the image above.

This pop-up allows you to define teams for TEAM COMPETITIONS :)

When you go to set a Competition for your class, you'll now be asked to choose a "Competition mode", which means choosing between individuals or teams.

Here's how the competition teams settings work:

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tag:sentencebuilders.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1796367 2022-02-17T12:07:32Z 2022-02-17T17:50:07Z Some "creating a SentenceBuilders resource" walk-throughs...

Below you'll find a few "walk-through" videos in which I attempt to talk you through the process of converting a basic paper-based / column-based sentence builder into something that will work on SentenceBuilders.com, avoiding many of the pitfalls that are explained in detail in this blog post: "Creating [complex] interactive SentenceBuilder machines that work"

The video preview image for each video shows the finished SentenceBuilder. I've also included links to versions of the finished resources on the SentenceBuilders website (accessible by those who have a subscription).

French - Giving my name and age

The video:

The link to a similar finished resource:

French - School subjects, likes and dislikes

The video:

The link to a similar finished resource:

Spanish - Describing people - "ser" + adjectives (m/f/pl)

The video:

The link to a similar finished resource:

Hope you find this useful :)

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tag:sentencebuilders.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1793106 2022-02-08T19:51:57Z 2022-02-08T20:08:51Z Creating complex SentenceBuilders - a fabulous video guide by Julia Morris (@JuschMo)

SentenceBuilders subscriber Julia Morris has produced a REALLY USEFUL video user-guide for users of SentenceBuilders.com, which she has shared via her YouTube channel.

It is aimed at those users of the site who wish to use the authoring options to create their own SentenceBuilders (which, to be fair, is most of the teacher subscribers...)

Julia's guide deals with most aspects of creating your own resources, including:

  • Clearing data to start a new resource
  • Hints on adding content, including capitalization, etc.
  • Using the various SB tools to add rows and columns, split and merge cells etc.
  • Factors influencing SB design
  • Colour-coding of SB cells
  • Understanding "flow" (in-depth explanation with examples)
  • Adding vertical columns to enable "flow"
  • Excluding "impossible" routes / enforcing certain combinations (cell exclusions)
  • Using the "SB routes / Cell combos" pop-up
  • Using the Transformations pop-up
  • Excluding certain words from gap-fills
  • Introduction to vocab chunks and TTS transformations
  • "Verify now"
  • Uploading your resource

Here's the video. Enjoy!

Julia's video guide is a really good accompaniment to this (written) user-guide: "Creating [complex] interactive SentenceBuilder machines that work"

Hope you find this useful :o)

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tag:sentencebuilders.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1793094 2022-02-08T18:59:27Z 2022-03-01T19:22:22Z A NEW and updated SentenceBuilders review by "Learn with J" (@JeNoMfl)

Jérôme Nogues (@JeNoMfl on Twitter) has done it again! This post features his second comprehensive review of the SentenceBuilders website (January 2022) to include many of the new features that have been added to the site since the original review (May 2021).

You can access both of these reviews on Jérôme's "Learn with J" YouTube channel.

The first one (from May 2021) is already on the SentenceBuilders blog here.

This second review, at 41 minutes in length, covers even more than the first one. (Mainly because there's so much more to cover now!) Another epic review, extremely clear and detailed, as you can see for yourself below.

Below the video, you will see a list of the topics covered, as well as the times in the video at which they occur.

Times below are a guide to content. If you view the video on Jérôme's YouTube channel (click the link above in the video player to view it in YouTube), you'll see the same time points listed below the video, and you'll be able to navigate to the section of the video by clicking on the time link. (On this page, though, they are here as a guide only.)

  • 00:11 Main interface
  • 01:25 Using SB Premium Resources
  • 02:50 Text to Speech speed change
  • 03:02 Sound options
  • 03:12 Print options NEW
  • 4:28 Pdf button - Create worksheets!! NEW
  • 6:59 Teacher tools
  • 11:05 Copy chunks and sentences NEW
  • 13:18 Activity view
  • 14:07 Blue activities tab
  • 14:18 Vocab chunks section
  • 16:02 Delayed dictation
  • 17:57 Jigsaw rebuild
  • 18:46 Random & Circuits tabs
  • 19:55 Community Resources
  • 20:51 My Resources & Text Search
  • 21:38 Create a SB NEW
  • 31:55 Create a class
  • 32:23 Adding students
  • 33:41 Share usernames & passwords with students
  • 34:12 Reset a password
  • 34:42 Set an Assignment
  • 37:36 Student view
  • 38:30 Create a competition
  • 40:15 Final opinion NEW

Hope you find this useful :)

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tag:sentencebuilders.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1772722 2021-12-18T12:59:26Z 2021-12-18T18:09:18Z Worksheet printing options (with French "Cadeaux de Noël" examples)

Worksheet printing options have now been added to SentenceBuilders.com :o)

The worksheets pop-up is accessed via a new "PDF" button which teachers should see next to the SB print button below every SentenceBuilder on its resource page.

The sentences that are included in worksheets are randomly selected from the 100s or 1000s of sentences generated by each SentenceBuilder resource.

As you can see from the image of the pop-up (at the top of this post), you can select the activity type (from a total of 11 -- correct as of 18th December 2021) and the number of questions to include, and you can also change the font size of the text in the activities.

Each worksheet can include up to 3 sections. Here's an example of one with 3 sections:

Below are examples of all 11 formats available at the time of publication. They are all based on a French "Cadeaux de Noël / Christmas Presents" resource, which can be found on the site in the following location:

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tag:sentencebuilders.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1772709 2021-12-18T12:16:05Z 2024-02-25T20:33:52Z Exporting random chunks & sentences

We recently added some functionality that allows teachers to export lists of chunks or sentences for use elsewhere.

The pop-up is accessed via the "Teacher Tools" button which teachers should see below every SB on its resource page:

The options in the pop-up (see image at top of post) are fairly straightforward. You choose between chunks and sentences, the number that you wish to export, what to copy, and how to separate pairs (if pairs are selected).

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tag:sentencebuilders.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1769752 2021-12-11T19:53:42Z 2022-02-07T15:22:32Z Using the "Teacher Tools" to generate random prompts for front of class interaction

The "Teacher Tools" pop-up can be found to the bottom right of every SentenceBuilder on SentenceBuilders.com

This pop-up offers all sorts of options for exploiting the SentenceBuilder for front-of-class interactions.

Random L1 prompt

If you select the "Random L1 prompt" (in this case English) option, a random sentence -- selected from the potentially thousands of available sentences -- appears below the SentenceBuilder.

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tag:sentencebuilders.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1741151 2021-09-29T19:57:31Z 2023-04-03T15:53:36Z Creating [complex] interactive SentenceBuilder machines that work :)

This post will give an overview of the new "complex" SentenceBuilder authoring page and talk you through some of the many considerations involved in designing and producing the perfect interactive SentenceBuilder.

SentenceBuilder Design

Before embarking on creating a resource -- and before you start working with the authoring tool -- it really is worth spending a bit of time thinking about the design and layout of your SentenceBuilder table. Maybe plan it out on a piece of paper. That's what I often do -- just a rough idea of the types of structures that I want an SB to focus on and how to fit these together.

It helps, of course, to have some idea of what the options and constraints are, otherwise you're just operating "blind" as it were. So definitely have a good read through this user guide. And you'll find that this design process is easier each time you do it. Practice makes perfect seem more achievable :)

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tag:sentencebuilders.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1706194 2021-06-22T14:39:58Z 2021-09-30T11:22:25Z Creating column-based resources that "work" on SentenceBuilders.com

Update - 23rd September 2021: this post is now, to all intents and purposes, null and void, since we've now added full authoring capabilities, allowing you to create complex SentenceBuilders. It's been left here, though, because it contains useful information about the need to give careful consideration to your SB content and ensuring that the sentences that it produces are accurate.

See this NEW blogpost: Creating [complex] interactive SentenceBuilder "machines" that work :)

SentenceBuilders.com is primarily about teachers and students interacting with our SB Premium resources, featuring complex SentenceBuilder tables, and based largely -- but not exclusively -- on the content of the Sentence Builders books from the Language Gym team.

But the site also offers teachers the facility to create their own "column-based" resources. This blog post looks in detail at these column-based resources and makes some recommendations for creating column-based SentenceBuilder resources that work best on SentenceBuilders.com.

Column-based SentenceBuilders

A column-based SentenceBuilder (see image above) can be used to generate 100s or even 1000s of random sentences which can form the basis of word-, chunk- and sentence-level interactive activities, which scaffold listening, reading and writing practice in multiple ways.

Your user-generated column-based SentenceBuilder resources can be used as the basis for assignments and competitions that you can set up for your classes, and they can provide you with all sorts of feedback about student progress and performance.

Your column-based SentenceBuilder resource can also be used front-of-class for all sorts of interactions including speaking practice.

So... how does a column-based resource differ from an SB Premium resource?

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tag:sentencebuilders.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1690983 2021-05-15T10:33:49Z 2021-11-08T11:42:21Z Comprehensive SentenceBuilders review by "Learn with J" (@JeNoMfl)

Jérôme Nogues (@JeNoMfl on Twitter) has done a comprehensive review of the SentenceBuilders website via his "Learn with J" YouTube channel.

Jérôme's review is extremely clear and thorough, and I would say that it covers almost every aspect of the website.

It's an epic review, at over 28 minutes in length, which just goes to show how many things are covered, and the level of detail and commentary involved. A truly excellent job! 👏👏👏

(So much so that I'm wondering whether I need to bother making any more myself... 😉)

Below the video, you will see a list of the topics covered, as well as the times in the video at which they occur.

Here is the video:

Times below are a guide to content. If you view the video on Jérôme's YouTube channel (click the link above in the video player to view it in YouTube), you'll see the same time points listed below the video, and you'll be able to navigate to the section of the video by clicking on the time link. (On this page, though, they are here as a guide only.)

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tag:sentencebuilders.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1690301 2021-05-13T10:46:14Z 2022-04-09T09:02:58Z SentenceBuilders blog post & walkthrough by Madame Michael :)

US-based teacher of languages Madame (Dawn) Michael has written a really useful blog post / walkthrough of the SentenceBuilders website.

>> Here is a link to the post <<

Dawn makes it clear in her introduction that her post is not an impartial review of the website, nor is it a set of in-depth how-to videos. But it is a really useful introduction to various aspects of the SentenceBuilders site, across 4 separate videos, and it covers all of the following:

Video 1: Using Premium Resources

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tag:sentencebuilders.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1688165 2021-05-07T19:01:14Z 2021-05-07T19:27:07Z SentenceBuilder view, full-screen mode

The video below is an introduction to the interactive SentenceBuilder that forms the basis of every resource on sentencebuilders.com

It demonstrates how the teacher can interact with the TTS-enabled SentenceBuilder table, along with the various teacher-tools options. Ideal for front-of-class work!

The video focuses primarily on the SentenceBuilder in full-screen mode, although all of the same interactions are also possible in the normal tab view.

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tag:sentencebuilders.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1688159 2021-05-07T18:45:24Z 2021-05-07T18:45:25Z Introduction to SentenceBuilders resources

Below is a short (<5mins) video aimed at those who haven't had a chance to try out the SentenceBuilders site for themselves...

It gives the briefest of introductions to the SentenceBuilders website, looks at the SB Premium resources (based on content from The Language Gym), and it gives a quick overview of what a SentenceBuilders resource is all about.

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tag:sentencebuilders.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1687886 2021-05-06T18:59:21Z 2021-05-11T13:38:40Z Welcome to the SentenceBuilders blog :)

Watch this space for tips, tricks, info, tutorials... everything you need to know about the SentenceBuilders website :)

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