One of my big goals this year is to make writing as FUN and ENGAGING as I possibly can. So many students equate writing with boring skill practice and monotonous prompts, and I want to change that! We are very lucky to have a FABULOUS writing curriculum that we will dive into soon, but for now, I am focusing on some critical grammar skills. One of them is types of sentences and using coordinating conjunctions. Being able to use commas and conjunctions really increases a student's ability to write varied, interesting pieces of writing.
We started off by making an anchor chart together. I made the “shell” of the anchor chart ahead of time so that we could talk through it as a class. I strongly believe in making anchor charts WITH a class, but I have also found that making these “shells” eliminates any down time while creating them. Usually, I just leave the most important content out.
After we filled it in together, we started practicing the skill using our Super Sentences Flip Books. We have had so much fun with these to start the school year– it's amazing how turning a regular worksheet into a flip book can make all the difference in how engaged your students are.
The next day, I wanted a memorable way to review what the students had learned yesterday. I went on Flocabulary and found this A-MAZING video that teaches students about using coordinating conjunctions to make compound sentences.
The hook line of the song is, “A simple sentence has a subject and a verb, and forms a complete thought using every word. A compound sentence is two of them combined. A comma, and a conjunction you will find!” It was like GOLD for my students and soon enough, they were jumping up and down rapping with the video themselves. We did this three weeks ago, and the song is STILL stuck in my head!
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Click on the image above to see the video for FREE until October 31st. While you're there, explore the site. They have a song for just about everything you could imagine, and tons of lesson plans to go with them, too! Next week, we are starting latitude and longitude, and I can't wait to introduce my students to the concept with their song for that topic!
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After we watched the video at least seventeen times (that's only a SLIGHT exaggeration), students got to do a fun hands-on activity to practice building compound sentences using coordinating conjunctions.
First, they got a large piece of chart paper with different categories. Then, they had some macaroni noodles for the commas, and sentence strips to write their sentences. They had to write two simple sentences about the topic that went together, with one sentence on each sentence strip. Then, they combined them on the chart paper to make a compound sentence. Here's a look at some of their charts to get a better idea of how they did it.
They had to cut off the first (capital) letter of the second sentence so that they remembered to make it lowercase. They used the macaroni to make a comma, and wrote in their FANBOYS.
Pay no mind to the dead flowers here. This poor table's flowers died over the weekend, and they were determined to revive them!
I loved seeing their sentences, and this made the concept so concrete!
I knew that the rest of our coordinating conjunction practice would be embedded into our writing, but I wanted to do one quick assessment with the kids. My students this year are absolutely OBSESSED with Kahoot, so I took my Coordinating Conjunctions Task Cards and created a Kahoot with them. I simply took a screen shot of each card, typed in the answers, and I was done. It look less than ten minutes to convert a few task cards into a Kahoot game! I made the game public, so if you would like to play it with your students, click HERE to access the game for free!
If you would like the rest of the task cards in the set, click HERE!