If You Want to Become a Great Writer, Use Complex Sentences!
Helping Students Understand Dependent and Independent Clauses
Activity by Suzy Red

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.

Classroom Rules for the New Year
Author Unknown 

*  If you open it, close it. 
*  If you turn it on, turn it off. 

*  It you value it, take care of it. 

*  If it isn't broken, don't fix it. 

*  If you break it, admit it. 

*  If it's your fault, apologize for it. 

*  If you make a mess, clean it up. 

*  If you move it, put it back. 

*  If it's not yours, don't take it. 

*  If it belongs to someone else and you want to use it, get permission. 

*  If you borrow it, return it. 

*  If you don't know how to operate it, leave it alone. 

*  It it's not your turn, wait until it is. 

*  If someone else is speaking, wait until they finish. 

*  If it's none of your business, don't ask questions. 

*  If it's not true, don't say it. 

*  If it will tarnish someone's reputation, keep it to yourself. 

*  It if will brighten someone's day, say it.
* If you feel like you’re going to sneeze, cover your mouth.
* If it’s none of your business, don’t ask questions.
* If you can’t control it, don’t worry about it.
* If you need a friend, be a friend.
* If you hurt someone’s feelings, apologize.
* If a bully is bothering someone, get involved.