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Clauses conjoined with but
Slash lv. 6
 
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Check for student’s concept and functional use of the conjunction ‘but’ prior to introducing conjoined sentences. Conjunctions are words that can be used to connect  nouns, verbs, clauses or sentences or to coordinate words in the same clause (e.g. and, but, if ). When introducing the concept of ‘but’ as a conjunction, engage students in activities and illustrate the functional use of ‘but’ with a phrase or clause that is different or excludes what was mentioned in the first phrase ( e.g. I got an A in math but I got a D in reading!; I want to go to the movie but I have to clean my room.).

Strategy

Teacher actions are highlighted.

  • Review sentences using and, for example:

    • Hannah went to the mall.

    • Her little brother went with her.

    • Hannah went to the mall and her little brother went with her.

  • Remind the students why some sentences are joined by and.

  • Have a chart prepared with three pairs of sentences, for example:

    • I went to the mall.

    • My little brother stayed home.

    • Toby went to the gym to meet Jeff and Ramon.

    • They did not come.

    • Sara wanted to go swimming.

    • Mother said, “No, it’s too cold.”

  • Students read the first two sentences. Join the sentences using but.

    • Write the new sentence on the board:

    • I went to the mall, but my little brother stayed home.

  • Point out that you changed the period at the end of the first sentence to a comma, added but, and changed the upper-case letter at the beginning of the second sentence to a lower- case letter.

  • Tell students that sometimes we use and, sometimes we use but to join two sentences. Compare the two sentences:

    • Jose went to the store and his little brother went with him.

    • Hannah went to the mall, but her little brother stayed home.

  • Point out that in the first sentence, the two clauses tell about similar activities or have common elements,  e.g., Jose and his brother are both going to the store.

  • In the second sentence, the two clauses do not have common elements. The word but signals that the second clause will tell about something different, e.g. Hannah goes to the mall, but her brother does not.

  • Follow similar procedures for the next two pairs of sentences.

 
Advancing the Strategy
  • Show two more pairs of sentences that can be joined by 'but'. For example:

    • Sam wanted to be a pitcher on the baseball team.

    • The coach said, “I want you to be the catcher.”

    • Maria joined the Book Club.

    • She didn’t join the Science Club.

  • Students read the first pair of sentences.

  • Write a new sentence by joining the two sentences using the word 'but'. Check the change in punctuation.

  • Write on the board:

    • Sam wanted to be a pitcher on the baseball team, but the coach said, “I want you to be the catcher.”

    • Sam wanted to be a pitcher on the baseball team and the coach said, “I want you to be the catcher.”

  • Compare the two sentences explaining why 'but' should be used instead of 'and'.

  • Follow the same steps with the second pair of sentences but let the students explain why the sentences are joined with but instead of and.

  • Present the sentences/paragraphs to the students; read the pairs of sentences

    • Write a new sentence using but.

    • For example:

      • Alex’s mother was calling him.

      • Alex did not hear her.

      • Mother went to the store.

      • Alex stayed home.

      • Alex wanted to stay in the house and read a book.

      • His dog wanted to go outside.

  • Compare and discuss the sentences students wrote. Present several short paragraphs. Have the students select two sentences in the paragraph that can be joined using 'but'. For example:

    • Dad showed Thomas how to weed the garden. He said, “Please pull out all the weeds. Do not pull out the flowers. We want the flowers to grow and bloom.”

    • Mom said, “You were very good today. I have a surprise for you. I usually bake chocolate chip cookies. Today, I have made peanut butter cookies.”

  •  Ask which two sentences can be joined using 'but'.

    • Help students determine the correct sentences, e.g., Please pull out all the weeds. Do not pull out the flowers.

    • Students combine the two sentences using 'but', e.g., Please pull out all the weeds, but do not pull out the flowers.

    • Students work with partners to complete the next three paragraphs.

    • When finished, have the students share their work and explain how they identified the two sentences to join using 'but'.

Review sentences conjoined by and and but.

  • Have students determine when the conjunction 'and' should be used to conjoin sentences and when 'but' should be used. For example:

    • Tom rode the bus to school.

    • His sister rode the bus, too.

    • Tom rode the bus to school.

    • His sister rode her bicycle.

  • When finished, students compare and discuss their work.

  • Show students an example of a short story that you have written and have them note the sentences conjoined using 'but'.

    • Discuss how these sentences add interest to the story.

    • Have students write a short story and see if they can use at least two or three sentences that use the conjunction but.