Today we wrote complex sentences by joining two related ideas with a subordinating conjunction. I asked students to share with a partner what they knew about conjunctions. I did this to prepare students for today’s lesson by making the connection to previous learning.
I reminded students that varying sentence lengths is a part of sentence fluency. It makes our writing more interesting. I reviewed the PowerPoint on conjunctions from Days 1and 2 for the students on the SmartBoard. My focus was on complex sentences. I explained that a complex sentence has two related ideas. The related ideas are joined by a subordinating conjunction. The subordinating conjunction may come at the beginning of a sentence. When it does, a comma follows that idea. I also explained that if the first word of the sentence does not begin with a subordinating conjunction a comma is not needed. I showed examples of both in the PowerPoint.
I displayed some complex sentences on the document camera. I modeled deciding where to insert the comma. I read a sentence aloud, noted the location of the conjunction, reread the rule on where to place the comma, and inserted it in the proper place. I did this with a few more examples before guiding students in doing the same. They reviewed the rule with a partner and wrote the answer on their whiteboards. This allowed me to assess all students and provide intervention when necessary.
For independent practice, students wrote complex sentences by joining two related ideas with a subordinating conjunction. They worked with a partner and explained to each other whether or not to insert a comma using the rules. I required students, the majority of whom are English language learners, to write sentences using the words although, until, and unless to give additional practice with these unfamiliar terms. They also wrote 3-4 additional sentences using subordinating conjunctions of their choosing. As students worked, I walked around the room offering assistance as needed.
I informally assessed students as they worked. Assessing them real time allowed me to address student errors right away. This prevented the cementing of misconceptions through repetition.