You Want to Become a Great Writer, Use Complex Sentences!
Give half of your students an "IF" strip like "If you open it," from "The IF Game for Introducing Complex Sentences." Explain that this half is holding dependent clauses and because they are "dependent" they can only crawl around the room until they can join with an independent clause that can help them walk or stand by themselves. Dependent clauses are identified by the "baby bottle" or subordinating conjuction, IF. Other subordinating conjunctions include "after, when, because, since, whenever, before, until, unless, as, although, as soon as ...)
The other half will hold the independent clauses like "Close it." Allow the "independent clauses" to walk freely around the room to try to find their partner (a dependent clause) to help them create a complex sentence. When complete, ask each pair to stand in a circle around the room and read their strips. (Some may be funny.) It's okay to laugh! Compare the lists to the list below. Before ending the activity, have each pair switch positions in their sentences. So, "If you open it, close it," becomes "Close it if you open it."
Before school is out, have each student write one new complex sentence about something that happened in school today. Remind them that complex sentences contains both an independent and a dependent clauses. Suggest a list of subordinating conjunctions like when, after, because, although, since, and before, to replace the "if" we used in the practice.
As a get acquainted activity, give some students one "If....," part each and others one independent clause each. Instruct them to walk around, meet each other partner-up find the best match. Discuss the results.
Rules for the New Year
If you open it, close it.