Saturday, October 3, 2015

Get Hands On with Conjunctions!

As a child, grammar baffled me. I could never remember all the rules. I remember tuning out whenever conjunctions, dangling participles, or any other grammar terminology surfaced. This grammar deficiency made it very difficult to teach grammar. I had a grammar phobia... 
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It took me awhile to get in my grammar groove. I basically had to rethink and reteach MYSELF all of the grammar rules that I had tuned out as a child. This included conjunctions. A conjunction is a word that is used to connect sentences or clauses within a single sentence, It is the glue that holds the thoughts together.

I wanted to create something visual that would demonstrate how the conjunction holds those thoughts together. Almost immediately, I came up with an index card and clothespins. It is simple to make and use, but a very powerful tool in showing how the conjunction holds the thoughts or sentences together.

Make Your Own Conjunction Connector

You will need:

  • Index cards (I would use a different color for each conjunction)
  • 2 clothespins for each conjunction
  • Tape
  • Sentence Strips for the phrases or sentences
  • Post-it notes (If you need to change the verb to match the subjects)
It is so simple to create your own conjunction connector! 

Write your conjunction on the front of the index card.

Flip your index card over and tape a clothespin to the left and right. The end that opens should face outwards. That's it! You are ready to combine sentences!!
The following sentences use the conjunction "and", but you can use the same idea for other conjunctions, too! 

Here is a quick idea of how I presented the conjunction "and" when combining two sentences together to create compound subjects or predicates.


1. Start with two sentences and have students look for matching subjects or predicates . 

 2. Use a marker to underline the subject or predicates that are the same. In this case, there is a matching subject "The dog".


3. Cut out one of the matching subjects or predicates. Use tape to affix the matching subjects or predicates together. This is a visual and kinesthetic representation of combining like subjects or predicates. It is a powerful way to show exactly what is happening when you combine like subjects or predicates.

4. Use the "and Conjunction Connector" to combine the sentences. Clip the clothespins to attach the predicates and create a compound predicate. 

"The dog was hungry" + "The dog was thirsty"
Becomes  "The dog was hungry and thirsty."

The same thing can be done to combine two sentences with like predicates. This is where it can sometimes get interesting...

You will start out the same way. Read two sentences, identify the like subject or predicate, and underline the matching subject or predicate.
Cut and tape the matching predicates, and attach the two subject together.  The subject of your sentence may change from singular to plural, when you combine two sentences and create a compound subject. If the subject changes from singular to plural, you will need to change the conjugation of the verb.
 We placed a Post-it note over top of the verb that needed to change. This highlights the need to change the conjugation of the verb in a visual and kinesthetic way.
I hope you found some ideas to use with your own kids! Maybe it will even make learning about conjunctions FUN!

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