Lesson: Dependent and Independent Clauses

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Lesson Objective

SWBAT differentiate between independent and dependent clauses.

Lesson Plan

Lesson Objective:

SWBAT differentiate between independent and dependent clauses.

Essential Questions:

• What is the difference between a clause and a phrase?
• What does independent mean?
• Where might I expect to see a subordinating conjunction?


"Dependent vs. Independent Clauses"


Use one of the early warm-ups in the “Clauses/phrases warm-ups” document attached at the unit level.

Materials Needed:

Notes on independent/dependent clauses
Classwork sheets
iPod, speakers

Lesson Plan: I Do

Teacher plays a bit of “Miss Independent”—lyrics on the notes. Students write in response to a brief question—what does it mean to be independent?

We share our conclusions, write down definitions.

Lesson Plan: We Do Together

Students pick out clauses that are independent—can stand by themselves—against a few that can’t.

Brief discussion of subordinating conjunctions, where to look for them, what they are, etc.

Lesson Plan: You Do

In partners, students work through the classwork sheet provided. If time permits, de-brief that sheet as a group.


1. What went well?

2. What would you change?

3. What needs explanation?

The use of a song--and it doesn't have to be the Ne-yo one; there are dozens with "Independent" in the title--really works as a way to help students remember the difference between "independent" and "dependent"--two quite similar words.







This lesson is awkward in length--it's too miniscule an objective to really fill an hour, but it's too difficult to have kids tackle it and another whole learning objective in the same hourlong period. I'd suggest tacking on some other review topic to make sure that you're connecting this new idea to what's come before and after. 

 It's important to drill the idea of the subordinating conjunction as the only difference between independent and dependent clauses. Otherwise, students will fall under the impression that just hacking a needed word away from a clause can make it dependent (i.e. "he ate the").

Lesson Resources

Lesson Dependent Independent teacher  
Lesson Dependent Independent  
cw Independent Dependent  
Youtube copy of the song to be used


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