Thursday, February 17, 2011

Grammar Activities: Conjunctions


Hello everyone, Chris here again. Today I would like to share a few ideas and activities for helping students practice conjunctions. These activities work for both coordinating and subordinating conjunctions.
I will skip an explanation of the grammar as this will vary according to level, teacher, and language.

Sentence Builder: For this activity the teacher can prepare several sentences and write them onto small note cards. The teacher should also write the various conjunctions on note cards. It is a good idea to include multiple copies of each conjunction in order to keep generating new sentences.

Once this step is complete the activity can be done in a few different ways. You could divide the class into groups and then provide each group with a stack of sentence cards and a stack of conjunction cards. One student in each group will flip over a sentence card and a conjunction card. Using the information on these two cards the other group members must then attempt to create a second clause to add to the first clause and the conjunction. You could have each group member create their own sentence or just one sentence total from the group members.

This should form a logical sentence although you could encourage crazy or nonsensical sentences as well. Some sentence/conjunction combinations may indeed prove more difficult than others. The student who originally flipped over the cards must evaluate which sentence(s) is/are correct. Once this is done another student will flip over two cards and the process repeats until each group member has had a chance to flip over a card as well as write a sentence.

Alternative: Simply have a student flip over two sentence cards and one conjunction card. The students simply have to successfully combine the two sentences into one using the conjunctions. Ensuring the correct word order is key here.  

Alternative 2: Using sentence builders in a board race format. Divide the class into 3 groups. A student from each group will come to the board. Provide students with a the first clause of a sentence as well as a conjunction. The students must then finish the sentence by adding a second clause of their own. The second clause will have to make sense with the previous clause as well as the conjunction.

The longest sentence wins!: This activity is geared more for advanced levels. Divide the class into pairs or small groups (3-4). Start the activity by providing each group with the same two conjunctions. Allow the groups a few minutes to make a sentence which correctly uses the two conjunctions in a single sentence. For this first round it is best to give the students two coordinating conjunctions. Students will have to be able to create some more complicated sentences than they might be used to, especially as the activity progresses. For the next round the groups will need to come up with a sentence using three conjunctions provided by the teacher. You may in fact reach the students' limit in producing correct sentences very quickly. This activity is about forcing them to try and be as creative as possible with their constructions which can be a very useful tool for highlighting word order in various types of clauses and raising students' awareness of it. You wish to provide a reward of some sort for the group which is able to create the sentence with the most clauses using different conjunctions.

Sentence/Story Scramble: This activity works well at various levels. For this activity you will need to use several sentences featuring conjunctions. Before the activity, create a handout with several scrambled sentences (a random word order). When you are ready to do the activity simply provide each student with a copy of the handout. Alone, in pairs, or small groups, the students must then attempt to unscramble the sentences, placing everything in the correct order. This also works well with shorter stories where not only individual sentences are scrambled but the order of the sentences is also presented out-of-sequence to the students. They must first unscramble the sentences and then attempt to put the story back together in the correct sequence. This can work well with mystery stories as the activity itself is like solving a puzzle.

Hopefully you will find these ideas and activities useful in your teaching! Comments welcome!

1 comments:

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