Call me a grammar nerd, but one of my favorite topics to teach is coordinating conjunctions. When students master the use of coordinating conjunctions, I see such a shift in their writing. They can connect ideas more coherently, and vary their sentences, which helps their overall writing flow. You get major “learning-bang” for your “instructional-buck” when you explicitly and thoroughly teaching students how to use coordinating conjunctions. Here are a few tips, tricks, and resources to get you started today!
1. Teach Their Functions
Each coordinating conjunction has a very specific function, which should be explicitly taught.
- For- Means because; It introduces the cause of a cause-effect relationship
- And- Adds information or connects ideas
- But- Contradicts, offers a contrast, or introduces something unexpected
- Nor- Eliminates alternative; Tells what something is not, rather than what it is
- Or- Offers a choice or another possible outcome
- Yet- Expresses a stronger contrast than but; shows conflict or contradiction
- So- Means as a result; Introduces the effect of a cause-effect relationship
2. Khan Academy
Do you love Khan Academy as much as I do? When I was studying for my science CSETs, I spent hours on this site. The modules are laid out perfectly, and I love the guided practice it offers. Their unit on Coordinating Conjunctions is excellent!
It can be a challenge to weed through all the content on YouTube. I found this short video that has some great visuals and discusses punctation and coordinating conjunctions.
4. Coordinating Conjunctions Mini-Book
I love the simplicity of mini-books! No glue. No staples. Just a single sheet of paper is all you need. Students can assemble this one in minutes and use it as a handy reference tool during writer’s workshop. I created it in two versions: One version is completely filled out, and the second version has areas for the students to complete. I will send it to you for free when you enter your email address below (even if you are already on my VIP email list).
5. Comprehensive Curriculum
If your students need more than just a refresher, then it’s time to get down to business with explicit instruction. The units below are packed with content to make sure your students master the use of coordinating conjunctions. Each unit contains a PowerPoint mini-lesson, a practice printable, 30 task cards, sketch notes, and an assessment. There is no duplicate content between the third-grade and fifth-grade versions; The fifth-grade unit contains more complex tasks and language.
Let me know if you’re able to try any of these resources. I would love to hear your thoughts.