Conjunctions lesson plans? I have an overview for you!
I picture conjunctions as puzzle pieces, as glue. Conjunctions join words, phrases, and clauses.
The biggest decision in conjunctions lesson plans is what conjunctions you will teach and when. You can start with a pretest, but since so many advanced grammatical concepts rely on understanding conjunctions, I don’t skimp on these lessons. I do NOT teach subordinating conjunctions with coordinating and correlative conjunctions and conjunctive adverbs. If you do, your conjunctions lesson plans will look different than what I have outlined below.
I typically teach conjunctions after prepositions. They are actually the last part of speech I cover because I spend about two seconds on interjections.
I hope you can fit these conjunctions lesson plans to fit your needs.
The best technique is to write with students and let them see how to use the words. Doing so also builds off prior knowledge.
Day one of conjunctions, I work with FANBOYS, our coordinating conjunctions. We list what the FANBOYS are, but I take it a step further and write with students. Students can say they know FANBOYS, and they can even list them. Until they can use them in writing and create those sentences using each one, I’m not convinced that they really understand those coordinating conjunctions.
If you are nervous about writing on the spot, create pre-made sentences to avoid extra problems. You can substitute subjects and verbs as students participate.
Tips: Be sure that you have a “so” sentence prepared in advance. Oftentimes, “so that” will sneak in, and “so that” is subordinating, not coordinating. Students might also struggle with “for” as it is not frequently used. Remind students you’re building their vocabulary and asking them to think.
Writing these conjunctions and practicing them with students will definitely boost your confidence. And I promise, after you teach grammar bunches you’ll be able to just have fun with your students, and you won’t need pre-made sentences. If you’re just starting with conjunctions lesson plans, make the sentences ahead of time.
Next, we study correlative conjunctions, and we review the list and practice writing them in sentences. I honestly think some students don’t even know of these combinations like “not only, but also.” These conjunctions are writing tools, though.
I encourage students to make the sentences, and they always create something so funny! (Students love to talk about animals and vomit, so I always get these really goofy sentences.) For instance:
- My dog likes pizza. (Independent clause. . . ask students to make another one.)
- My dog likes pizza, and he throws it up. (Now we have two independent clauses joined with a coordinating conjunction.)
- Not only does my dog eat pizza, but he also vomits. (Two independent clauses joined with a correlative conjunction.)
After students know two types of conjunctions, I typically start with grammar manipulations. If you don’t know what grammar manipulatives are, they are little pieces that students can manipulate. You can create these words to manipulate, put them on little squares, and cut them out. (You can laminate the grammar manipulatives, but I prefer cardstock. Some teachers put them on blocks.)
At this point, we have listed, studied, written, and practiced coordinating and correlative conjunctions.
I introduce the semicolon and the comma along with conjunctive adverbs. I keep the goofy sentences on the board or an anchor chart. After we discuss conjunctive adverbs like “however,” “meanwhile,” “therefore,” and “otherwise,” we add to our sentences:
“We have to keep pizza away from my dog; otherwise, he will vomit.”
You can use the grammar manipulatives to build with conjunctive adverbs. I also use sticky notes and move around different components of sentences and join them with a variety of conjunctions. (Remind students to use a variety of conjunctions.) If you need a grade, ask students to take a picture of their creations, or ask them to write them out. I’ve also used a checklist as I walk.
If you’re not comfortable with grammar, and this is something that’s kind of new and kind of scary, you might want to have independent clauses (a simple sentence, a subject and a verb, probably a direct object) pre-made.
Connect to writing and literature
We write with every grammar lesson. To emphasize conjunctions with student writing, you can ask them to find conjunctions in their writing and to check punctuation.
Conjunctions can be tough with the punctuation rules. You’re joining clauses, phrases, and words with conjunctions. Remind students of punctuation rules as you build sentences. If you are writing with students, ask them, “would a sentence be improved if you combined two simple sentences and threw in a conjunctive adverb?” Be sure to emphasize the terms by using them naturally in class and to empower them in their writing
An easy extension activity with literature crosses over with writing. Ask students to write about whatever literature you are doing using a certain number of conjunctions. Finally, You can also pull sentences that contain conjunctions from your stories. Ask students to find conjunctions in literature for you and discuss them.
Stations allow for student choice and movement. I also get a glimpse of what students understand and of where they might need more help. We might do worksheets for identification, we might do task cards for more discussion, and we might do color by grammar for extra concentration. Sometimes students really do well with grammar manipulatives and since I keep the pieces in little boxes, they can be a station too. If students are confused between prepositions and conjunctions, I add that practice to the station rotations.
I definitely spend some time on conjunctions!
I close with exit tickets before moving to phrases. If we need extra review, we might work in stations again or concentrate on a simple worksheet.
Conjunctions are important ELA domain specific vocabulary. My biggest piece of advice with the eight parts of speech is to establish with students. . . these ideas aren’t going away. We’re going to use these terms when we analyze author’s writing, in our writing, and with vocabulary.
My conjunctions lesson plans are my final part of the eight parts of speech. Let me know what methods help your students in their understanding of conjunctions.