Sie sind auf Seite 1von 8

ProQuest Standards-Based Learning Activity

Sentence Combining Using


Subordination
English Language Arts Lesson -- Teacher Procedures
Appropriate for: English Language Arts, Grades 6-8

Timeline: Two Class Periods

ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS STANDARDS ADDRESSED THROUGH THIS LESSON

NCTE: http://www.ncte.org/standards
Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to
communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.

Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements
appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation),
media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and non-print texts.

Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing
problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print
texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.

Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., forlearning,
enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

LEARNING EXPECTATIONS/OBJECTIVES
 Students will learn how to combine sentences using subordinate and independent clauses.
 Students will use SIRS Discoverer, SIRS Knowledge Source, or eLibrary to research their
favorite activity.
 Students use the information they gather and their knowledge of sentence combining to write a
poem.
 Students will use the steps of the writing process.

MATERIALS
 Computer with printer with access to ProQuest
 Printer paper
 Lined notebook paper
 Pens and pencils
 Index cards
 Overhead projector, transparencies, and pen
 Tape or tacks

© ProQuest LLC 2010 – May be copied for educational use only. 1


ACTIVITY PROCESS: DIRECTIONS TO THE TEACHER

DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITY
In a brief mini-lesson, students will learn how to combine short, choppy sentences using subordinate and
independent clauses. Students will research a favorite activity using ProQuest SIRS Discoverer or SKS,
or eLibrary. Students will then combine their research with their knowledge of sentence combining to
write a poem about their favorite activity.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION/SCENARIO
Why learn about sentence combining? It’s a great way to help student writers make their work more
varied and interesting. Short, declarative sentences tend to be the norm for many young writers. This kind
of sentence is fine, but when it’s used exclusively, it makes for dull reading. Ideally, students will learn that
compelling writing is made up of a variety of sentences: long ones, medium ones and short ones.

Sentence combining using subordination is a good place to begin. This kind of sentence combining links
two related sentences to each other, so that one contains the main idea (this becomes the independent
clause) and the other is no longer a complete sentence (this becomes the subordinate, or dependent,
clause). Subordinating clauses show that one idea depends on another in some way. Sentences
combined using subordination use connecting words such as after, although, as, because, before, if,
since, though, unless, until, when and while.

Just as a reminder, a clause is a group of related words that contains a subject and a verb. Dependent (or
subordinate) clauses can't stand by themselves as separate sentences; independent ones can. An
example of a subordinate, or dependent, clause might be “Because she felt sick that morning.” An
example of an independent clause, one that also functions as a simple sentence, might be “She stayed
home from school.”

It’s also good to review the comma rule for combining sentences in this way. Use a comma if you place
the dependent clause before the independent clause. (“Because she felt sick that morning, she stayed
home from school.”) Do not use a comma if you place the dependent clause after the independent clause.
(“She stayed home from school because she felt sick that morning.”)

For more on subordination, go to the ProQuest Editor's Choice Web site:


http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/subordinateclause.htm

BEFORE THE FIRST LESSON…


Prepare a transparency with these connecting words: after, although, as, because, before, if, since,
though, unless, until, when, and while.

Also prepare a transparency with a paragraph that uses only short declarative sentences. Use the
following, or make your own: “School was over. She walked home. She opened the front door. She took
off her shoes. She looked in the refrigerator. She saw there was nothing good to eat. She sat down at the
table. The dog barked. She heard her mother say hello. Her mother walked down the stairs.”

OUTLINE OF PROCEDURES -- DAY ONE


1. Explain to the class that you will spend the next class periods learning how to combine sentences in
order to create more interesting writing. Present the class with the transparency of the paragraph
made up of short sentences. Ask for a volunteer to read it aloud. Ask students to comment on the
writing. Is it good? What’s the matter with it? How could it be better?

2. Present students with the transparency of 12 connecting words. Students should copy these into their
notebooks.

© ProQuest LLC 2010 – May be copied for educational use only. 2


3. When students have finished copying, replace the transparency of the paragraph. Ask students to
rewrite the paragraph, combining sentences using the connecting words they have just copied. Let
them know there’s not one right way to do this. Encourage students not to use any of the connecting
words more than once. Give them an example using the first two sentences, i.e. “Because school was
over, she walked home.”

4. Once students have completed the rewriting exercise, ask for several volunteers to share their
rewritten paragraphs with the class. Once several students have read their edited paragraphs, point
out that none of the paragraphs were exactly alike, which shows that there are lots of different ways
to combine sentences and ideas. Ask students if they can see the difference between the rewrites
and the original paragraph.

5. With the whole class, briefly review the definition of a clause. Students should copy the definition into
their notebooks.

6. Briefly review the definitions of independent and dependent/subordinate clauses, and have students
copy them into their notebooks. Review the comma rule for combining sentences using subordination.
Point out that it doesn’t matter which clause comes first in the sentence -- another way of making
sentences more varied. Tell students there is an easy way to remember the difference between the
two different kinds of clauses: Dependent/subordinate clauses depend on another clause to make a
complete sentence. Independent clauses, on the other hand, are already complete sentences; they
can stand independently of other clauses.

7. Students will now begin work on researching a favorite activity. To start, have students quietly
brainstorm a list of things they love to do for two or three minutes. Give students a couple of
examples before they begin, such as: play soccer, skateboard, horseback ride, knit, etc. After
students have listed several activities, they will circle the one they would most like to research and
write about. For more on brainstorming and other prewriting strategies, to the ProQuest Editor's
Choice website: http://www.studygs.net/writing/prewriting.htm.

8. Students will now research their chosen activity by doing a search on ProQuest.

9. Students will print out their favorite article and return to their seats. For the rest of the class period,
students will quietly read their article, underlining the seven “most interesting” details or facts about
their activity. This can also be completed for homework.

OUTLINE OF PROCEDURES -- DAY TWO


1. Distribute index cards to students. Each student should receive 26 cards. Using their article, students
will copy their seven facts onto index cards, one per card. Students will use short, simple sentences
only (e.g. “Soccer is the world’s most popular sport.”), and should use their own original sentences
rather than copying directly from the article text. These are their fact cards.

2. When they have finished copying their facts, students will take seven blank cards, and write seven
short, simple sentences about their own involvement in their activity (e.g. “I play soccer on
Thursday.”). These are their personal information cards.

3. On the remaining 12 blank cards, students will copy the connecting words from their notebooks, using
one word per card.

4. Using their fact cards, their personal information cards, and their connecting word cards, students will
create at least five new, combined sentences. Students will move the index cards around on their
desks until they have created sentences they like. Their new sentences can combine two facts (e.g.
“Because soccer is the world’s most popular sport, new soccer leagues are popping up
everywhere.”); two pieces of personal information (e.g. “I practice lots of drills when I play soccer on

© ProQuest LLC 2010 – May be copied for educational use only. 3


Thursday.”); or one fact and one piece of personal information (e.g. “Because new soccer leagues are
popping up everywhere, we play in a lot of games.”). Students also do not have to combine all their
sentences; they can keep a few as is. Remind students that good writing contains different kinds of
sentences -- not only combined sentences or only simple ones. Students should vary their sentences
by creating some in which the independent clause comes first, and some in which the dependent
clause comes first.

5. Once students have finished combining sentences, they will arrange them in an order that pleases
them.

6. Students will then copy their sentences onto a clean piece of paper to create a full paragraph.
Students should make sure to add commas where they are necessary, following the comma rules for
combining sentences using subordination, as well as the conventions of spelling and grammar.

7. Students will share their paragraphs in pairs or groups of three. After each person has finished
reading, the listener(s) should tell the reader what they liked best about the writing. Finished
paragraphs will be evaluated and displayed around the room.

ASSESSMENT
Students will be assessed based on the following criteria:

Research
 Did student brainstorm a list of favorite activities, and choose one to research?
 Did student use ProQuest to research a favorite activity?
 Did student select a favorite article from ProQuest?
 Did student choose seven “most interesting” facts about the activity from his/her chosen article?

Writing
 Did student copy seven facts, seven pieces of personal information and 12 connecting words
onto index cards?
 Did student use index cards to combine sentences, forming at least five new sentences?
 Did student arrange index card sentences into a paragraph?
 Did student write a final copy of paragraph, following comma rules and using the conventions of
grammar and spelling?
 Did student employ a variety of sentence types in the paragraph, i.e. combined sentences
beginning with dependent clause, combined sentences beginning with independent clause, and
some simple sentences?

Participation
 Did student share the paragraph and provide feedback for other group members?

OPTIONAL EXTENDED ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES


 Have students follow up by writing a research paper on the history of their activity or on a famous
person associated with the activity.
 Use the same activity to learn and practice different methods of sentence combining.
 Have students prepare and teach the class a five-minute “mini-lesson” on something related to
their activity. For example, soccer players could demonstrate a particular kind of kick, knitters
could teach a certain stitch, etc.
 Ask students to practice identifying clauses using their own writing. Go to the ProQuest editor
selected website http://www.uottawa.ca/academic/arts/writcent/hypergrammar/bldcls.html and
print out the section called "Recognizing Clauses" to share with the class. After reviewing the
definition of a clause, ask students to choose a paragraph from a piece of writing they are
working on currently, and to underline all the clauses they can find. (If there are few clauses, this

© ProQuest LLC 2010 – May be copied for educational use only. 4


should be a clue to students that they are using too many simple sentences!) You may also ask
students to label each clause as dependent or independent.

© ProQuest LLC 2010 – May be copied for educational use only. 5


Sentence Combining
An English Language Arts Lesson – Student Version
Introduction
Why learn about sentence combining? For starters, it’s a great way to make your writing
more varied and interesting. It’s easy, when you’re writing, to fall back on short, choppy,
declarative sentences. That’s fine sometimes, but when it’s the only kind of sentence
you know how to use, your writing definitely isn’t as engaging as it could be.

What makes up good writing? A variety of different kinds of sentences -- short, medium,
and long ones -- definitely helps. It’s important to remember that variety is the key; we’ll
be working on a particular kind of sentence combining in this lesson, but that doesn’t
mean you can’t continue to use simple sentences, or sentences combined in other
ways.

During this activity:


 You will learn how to combine sentences using subordinate and independent
clauses.
 You will use ProQuest SIRS Discoverer or SKS, or eLibrary to research your
favorite activity.
 You will use the information you gather and your knowledge of sentence
combining to write a paragraph.
 You will use the steps of the writing process.

Day One
1. After a short lesson on combining sentences, we’ll look at a sample paragraph, and
you’ll practice making new sentences by combining the paragraph’s short, choppy
ones. You’ll use the connecting words we learn about to combine sentences. Don’t
worry: there isn’t one right way to do this! But you should try not to use any of the
connecting words more than once.

2. As a class, we’ll discuss some of your rewritten paragraphs. Then you’ll begin
working on your own writing.

3. Before you begin, take a couple of minutes to quietly brainstorm a list of things you
love to do -- for example, play soccer, skateboard, horseback ride, knit, etc. After you
have listed several activities, circle the one you would most like to research and
write about.

4. You will now research your chosen activity by doing a search on ProQuest.

5. Print out your favorite article and return to your seat. For the rest of the class period,
you will quietly read your article, underlining the seven “most interesting” details or
facts about your activity. If you don’t finish this part of the assignment in class, you
will complete it for homework.

© ProQuest LLC 2010 – May be copied for educational use only. 6


Day Two
6. Each of you will receive 26 index cards. Using your article, you will copy your seven
most interesting facts onto index cards, one per card. Use short, simple sentences
only at this point (for example, “Soccer is the world’s most popular sport.”) and make
sure you use your own words instead of copying directly from the article.

7. When you have finished writing your fact sentences, take seven blank cards, and
write seven short, simple sentences about your own involvement in your activity (for
example, “I play soccer on Thursday.”).

8. On the remaining 12 blank cards, copy the connecting words from our lesson
yesterday, using one word per card.

9. Use your fact cards, your personal information cards, and your connecting word
cards to create at least five new, combined sentences. Move the index cards around
on your desk until you have created sentences you like. Once you have finished
combining sentences, arrange the full sentences in an order that pleases you,
making a paragraph.

10. Copy your paragraph onto a clean piece of paper. Make sure to add commas where
they are necessary, and to use the conventions of spelling and grammar.

11. Finally, you’ll share your writing in small groups. After you have finished reading,
listen carefully to the other paragraphs, and tell the writer what you liked best about
his/her work. Finished paragraphs will be evaluated and displayed around the room.

Assessment
Your work will be evaluated based on the following questions:

Research
 Did you brainstorm a list of favorite activities, and choose one to research?
 Did you use ProQuest to research a favorite activity?
 Did you find one great article about your activity?
 Did you choose seven “most interesting” facts about the activity from your
chosen article?
 Did you write down these facts as notes in your own words?

Writing
 Did you copy seven facts, seven pieces of personal information, and 12
connecting words onto index cards?
 Did you use index cards to combine sentences, forming at least five new
sentences?
 Did you arrange index card sentences into a paragraph?
 Did you write a final copy of your paragraph, following comma rules and using
the conventions of grammar and spelling?

© ProQuest LLC 2010 – May be copied for educational use only. 7


 Did you employ a variety of sentence types in your paragraph, i.e. combined
sentences beginning with dependent clause, combined sentences beginning with
independent clause, and some simple sentences?

Participation
 Did you share your paragraph in a group and provide feedback for other group
members?

© ProQuest LLC 2010 – May be copied for educational use only. 8