Lesson plan

Functions of Conjunctions

A deeper comprehension of clauses and conjunctions will help your young writers understand the building blocks of language. Practice with conjunctions will also help them create more complex sentences and correct run-on sentences.
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  • Students will be able to identify clauses and use conjunctions to combine them into more complex sentences.

  • Students will be able to repair run-on sentences using conjunctions.
(5 minutes)
  • Recruit two student volunteers to come to the front of the room and hold up the run-on sentence strip.
  • Read it as a class.
  • Conduct a think-pair-share about this sentence. What do students notice?
  • Share out student thoughts. Students should notice that the sentence doesn’t really make sense, or that it reads awkwardly, as if something is missing.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain that this sentence is what we call a run-on sentence.
  • Distribute the Gluing Words: Coordinating and Subordinating Conjunctions worksheet
  • Go over the information on the sheet, explaining that conjunctions are like glue. They are the connecting pieces that combine two thoughts in a sentence. The bigger pieces in the sentence are clauses — a group of words that represent a complete thought. A complete thought (or sentence) has a subject and a predicate. That means you can identify a “who” or “what,” and a “what about it?"
(15 minutes)
  • As a class, generate two clauses and fill them in together on the worksheet activity.
  • Have students generate two clauses of their own and add them to the sheet. Share out briefly.
  • Explain that, by using coordinating and subordinating conjunctions, you can make new, more complex sentences out of simple clauses.
  • As a class, make two new sentences, using the clauses and conjunctions listed on the sheet.
  • Touch back on the idea of run-on sentences. Explain that by understanding how conjunctions work, you can take two clauses that make up a run-on and use the conjunctions to glue them together.
  • Distribute the Conjunctions: The Cure for Your Run-ons worksheet
  • Call students’ attention to the lists of conjunctions on the sheet.
  • Take out the original sentence strip and conjunction cards.
  • Invite students to consider how they could use a conjunction to glue the two clauses together so that the sentence makes sense.
  • Share student suggestions by tearing the run-on sentence strip so that the two clauses are divided. Insert conjunctions to reconstruct the sentence.
(10 minutes)
  • Have students complete the worksheet by revising the five run-on sentences provided using conjunctions.


  • Provide clauses and conjunctions on sentence strips and allow students to manipulate them as sentence building blocks.


  • Have students locate complex sentences that utilize conjunctions in their independent reading books. Instruct them to write them on the board and analyze them as a class.
(5 minutes)
  • Select two of the student-generated clauses from the first worksheet. Instruct students to combine them using a conjunction on the back of their worksheet.
(5 minutes)
  • Discuss: What would happen if we didn’t have conjunctions? How would our writing be different? What challenges would we face as writers?

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