Today, I meet my students on the rug, and I talk in a funny way. Everything I say to the students is in very short, simple sentences. For example, I say, “Hello boys and girls. Are you ready to learn? It’s time for Language. Please sit on the rug. Please sit criss-cross apple sauce.” The students are all looking at me funny, and so finally, I say, “I see many of you looking at me funny. Why is that?” A student raises their hand and says, “Well, it’s just that you sort of sound like a robot Mrs. Hesemann!” I have to chuckle inside, and I say, “You’re right, I do! And I’m doing this on purpose!” I explain to the kids that it’s not much fun when we speak, or even when we read, text the way I just spoke to them.
I explain that in order to make writing, or speaking, more interesting to listen to and read, we can add other words to our writing and speaking so that it’s not so “robotic” and boring. For example, instead of saying, “I took my dog for a walk,” and then saying, “I gave my dog a treat.”, I could say, “I took my dog for a walk and gave her a treat.” I ask the students if they heard the word that helped me make my sentence more interesting. One student says, “I think it was just the word ‘and’, right?” “Exactly!” I say! The kids seem surprised that just the little word “and” was the word that could help make my writing more interesting!
I tell the students words like “and” are called conjunctions. “They’re called what?” I say. “Conjunctions!” the kids chant back! I explain that conjunctions help our language be much more interesting by joining together short simple sentences into much more fun, lengthy sentences. And, believe it or not, we use conjunctions ALL the time, probably without even realizing it! I think conjunctions actually deserve a little more credit than they get! They are probably some of the hardest working words in the English language. (I get a couple laughs at my teacher joke!)
At this time, I ask my students to move back to their desks, but before they do, I want them to stop at their book bins (the individual books bins that students have in my room to keep texts that they are reading independently) and take out one book and bring it to their seats.
Once students are back at their seats, I pull up our Conjunction PowerPoint presentation. We will not use all of the presentation today, but we’ll go through slide 6 today. I take our students through the slides and introduce simple sentences, and how we can create compound sentences using coordinating conjunctions. I also share with the students the acronym of F.A.N.B.O.Y.S. to help them remember the seven coordinating conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so). We also practice identifying some coordinating conjunctions in a few sentences within the powerpoint as well.
Once I know my students can identify coordinating conjunctions, and can explain the function of a conjunction, it’s time for our Coordinating Conjunction Scavenger Hunt! I give each student a copy of our Conjunctions Scavenger Hunt page (though today we’ll only use the coordinating conjunctions side) and tell the kids that now that we know about coordinating conjunctions, I want the kids to see how often we really use them, without even noticing them! Today, we’re going to do a scavenger hunt for coordinating conjunctions through the books that we’ve selected from our book bins! For each coordinating conjunction the students find, the students can place one tally mark along side it on their Coordinating Conjunctions Scavenger Hunt page. I challenge the students to see which conjunction we can find the most! Then I say, "On your mark, get set, begin!” The kids have a ball quickly opening their books and looking to see where they can find coordinating conjunctions! I give the kids about 2-3 minutes to find as many as a can and then say, “Freeze!”
To wrap up our lesson, I ask the students which conjunction they had the most of by show of hands! We also review the function of a conjunction and specifically, that there are seven coordinating conjunctions that we use all the time! Tomorrow, we’ll learn more about conjunctions as we delve into subordinating conjunctions!