Students need to connect ideas in logical ways in order to display and build precise factual knowledge, develop their ideas to persuade more convincingly and express more complex relationships in their speech and writing.
Conjunctions and connectives are cohesive devices that work to improve the flow of the writing. Conjunctions connect meaning within sentences and connectives relate meaning between sentences. Different types of conjunctions are used to express different types of relationships between ideas.
Activity 1: sentences can grow!
Explain to students how conjunctions link ideas in sentences. Using a text with compound sentences,
'Julie bought 3 pencils. She lost 2 of them'. or 'Paul has a football. He threw it across the yard'.
Turn these into compound sentences using but and and. Italicise the verbs. Highlight the conjunctions.
Use examples of student writing to change simple sentences into compound sentences using and or but.
Give students a copy of a text and allow them time to find the verbs in the sentences.
Explain to students how the conjunctions link ideas between the clauses in the sentences. Italicise verbs and highlight conjunctions or use different colours for each on an interactive whiteboard. e.g. Thunder used to yell at him to stop causing so much destruction, but the careless ram didn't listen to her rumblings and the damage was often great.
Game activity to follow
Students are divided into two teams. One student from each team comes to the board and writes one clause each. Each team take turns writing a conjunction to link them without repeating the conjunction. Whichever team gets the most links wins the game.
Activity 2: I want to be a ... because ...
Explain to students that, when a sentence gives a reason for an event or action, a causal conjunction such as because is used. Children are divided into two groups. Using the cards found at esl-kids.com/flashcards/occupations printed, laminated and cut up students take it in turns to run to where the cards are grab one run back to their group and say “I want to be a (card) because (student creates responses.)”
First team to say a complete compound or complex sentence wins.
- “I think... (famous person or someone they admire) is great (or cool or brilliant or...) because...”
- “I want to go to ______ because I want to see / do ______.”
Cohesion in texts effectively improves the flow of the writing through the use a variety of referring words, substitutions and word associations as well as conjunctions and connectives.
Activity 3: conjunction posters
Use the conjunction posters (PDF 818.57KB) resource to teach students about using conjunctions for a purpose.
Activity 4: interactive whiteboard task
Use the and but Notebook to learn about and use compound sentences.
Australian curriculum – ACELA1467: Understand that simple connections can be made between ideas by using a compound sentence with two or more clauses usually linked by a coordinating conjunction.
NSW syllabus – EN1-9B: Uses basic grammatical features, punctuation conventions and vocabulary appropriate to the type of text when responding to and composing texts.
NSW Literacy Continuum – WRIC5M6: Aspects of writing, Cluster 5, Marker 6: Accurately writes simple and compound sentences.