I’ve seen numerous teachers tell their students to “turn and talk” or “think, pair, share” in class and then be flabbergasted when they don’t talk. One reason for this is because they may not know how to begin. Very often students know just enough about new concepts or materials to be familiar with it, but cannot discuss it, which means they probably can’t write about it yet. Using sentences starters is a wonderful way to take the pressure off of how to get started and allows students to focus on discussing the content. These are wonderful to use for students of all ages and across content areas. Sentences starters are especially helpful for English Language Learners. By focusing first on speaking, then on writing, teachers can help their students internalize the sentences starters/stems and over time they will be able to independently initiate conversations and write about their thinking. Some links with resources are below and there are some example pictures from Pinterest.
Examples from Pinterest: