September 2, 2017
by Maggie Knutson

Lesson plan

Functions of Conjunctions

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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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