Writing More Complex Sentences
Students will be able to create more complex sentences by learning about independent and dependent clauses and how to use subordinating conjunctions to combine them.
Introduction (5 minutes)
- Write the list of common subordinating conjunctions on the board: After Although As As soon as Because Before Unless While
- Explain that as students get to be more sophisticated writers their sentences will become more complex. For example, a first grader might write: I will go to the park.
- Tell students that they can add clauses, or parts of a sentence, onto another sentence. Discuss real-life examples of how we add smaller things onto bigger, more stable things. Some examples: An older child giving a 4 year old a piggy back ride, snapping a smaller Lego onto a big Lego, adding meatballs to spaghetti, or hooking a trailer onto the back of a truck.
- Explain that subordinating conjunctions (like the ones on the board) help writers glue clauses - or add-ons - to a complete sentence to make it more complex. Subordinating conjunctions can be single words or phrases that indicate time, place, or cause and effect. Tell them that this is a short list and there are many more.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (10 minutes)
- As a class, generate 2-4 very simple sentences, like: “I went to the park” or “I like Minecraft”. Write them on the board.
- Ask students to work in partners or table groups to use the subordinating conjunctions written on the board to make one of the sentences more complex. Provide an example such as: “I like Minecraft because I get to create things.”
- After about two minutes, ask pairs or groups to share their new sentences.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (15 minutes)
- Distribute the subordinate conjunction list.
- Distribute worksheet #1. Match a few of the clauses together as a class. Have students match the remaining clauses. Review students’ responses as a class and discuss as necessary.
- Distribute worksheet #2. In pairs, have students match the clauses. Review students’ responses as a class and discuss as necessary.
Independent Working Time (20 minutes)
- Distribute worksheet #3. Have students complete the sentences with their own clauses. Share in small groups or as a class.
- Distribute worksheet #4. Have students write clauses of their own, creating partial sentences. Have students swap papers with another student, finish each others’ sentences and then swap back. Last, each student should circle the subordinate conjunction.
- Work with a small group to match the clauses on the practice sheets.
- Have students look for complex sentences in novels that they are reading and share them with the class.
Assessment (10 minutes)
- Collect the final worksheet and assess whether students created complex sentences and correctly circled the subordinate conjunctions.
- Pass out ½ sheets of paper at the end of the lesson and have each student write two complex sentences, circling the subordinate conjunctions.
Review and Closing (5 minutes)
- Share some of the more humorous or fun examples. Ask the class to identify the subordinate conjunction in each.