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Relative Clauses in Final Position (Object clauses)
(I met the man who helped you)
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Relative clauses are adjective clauses that modify nouns. As you develop this language component, use only language structures and concepts the students already know. They should be familiar with clauses conjoined by and and but and adverbial clauses telling Why--? and When--? Remind the students that using both short and long sentences makes reading and writing more interesting.

Strategy
  • Review several ways students have learned to join short sentences to make a longer sentence, for example:

    • Clauses conjoined using and

    • Clauses conjoined using but

    • Adverbial clauses of cause

    • Adverbial clauses of time

  • Introduce them to the new language structure. Write two sentences on the board:

    • Kim helped her dad.

    • Her dad is writing a book about sea animals.

  • Students read the sentences.

  • Show that these two sentences can be joined but in a way different from what they have learned before.

  • Demonstrate how these two sentences can be joined to make a clear and fluent sentence. Write the sentence under the two short sentences:

    • Kim helped her dad who is writing a book about sea animals.

  • Discuss how you combined the two sentences to make the longer sentence.

    • Kim helped her dad. Her dad is writing a book about sea animals.

  • Show the students that her dad is repeated (both sentences have a common element).

  • Explain that you deleted the period in the first sentence and deleted the word/phrase that is repeated (Her dad in the second sentence).

  • Point out that you substituted 'who' for the deleted phrase and that is how the longer sentence is formed.

  • Repeat these steps with another set of sentences:

    • Mason waved at Mr. Steinhoff. Mr. Steinhoff is his baseball coach.

  • Tell the students that first you find the words that are repeated:

    • Mason waved at Mr. Steinhoff. Mr. Steinhoff is his baseball coach.

  • Tell the students that you substitute 'who' for the repeated words:

    • Mason waved at Mr. Steinhoff who is his baseball coach.

    • Explain that in both sets of sentences you substituted who for the word/phrase that was repeated and deleted.

  • Reinforce these steps using 3 or 4 more sets of sentences.

  • Write another set of sentences on the board. This set should require the relative pronoun that:

    • Ivan was playing with a small, black and white puppy. The puppy was a birthday gift.

  • Underline the common elements:

    • Ivan was playing with a small, black and white puppy. The puppy was a birthday gift.

  • Write the longer sentence:

    • Ivan was playing with a small, black and white puppy that was a birthday gift to him.

  • Explain that you substituted 'that 'for the word puppy. Ask the students why you wrote that in this sentence and not who. (In the other set of sentences, you were substituting a pronoun for a person so you used who. A puppy is not a person, it is an animal, so you used that.)

(Note: The relative pronouns that and which can both be used in relative clauses that modify an object. That is used in restrictive clauses; which is used in nonrestrictive clauses.)

  • Repeat these steps with another set of sentences, for example:

    • Dad and David went to the aquarium. They saw a big shark. The shark was swimming in a huge tank.

  • Underline the common elements:

    • They saw a big shark. The shark was swimming in a huge tank.

  • Write the longer sentence:

    • They saw a big shark that was swimming in a huge tank.

  • Students explain why you joined the two sentences with that.

 
Advancing the Strategy
  • Locate pairs of sentences from stories the children have already studied which can be joined using relative clauses

  • Students read the pairs of sentences, identify the common elements, and then write one longer sentence using who or that.

  • When finished, have them compare the sentences they wrote and discuss them.

  • Present several short paragraphs. Have the students locate two sentences in each paragraph that can be joined using who or that.

  • Have the students read the first paragraph. Work with the class as a whole to find the appropriate sentences to combine using a relative clause. The students should complete the rest of the paragraphs independently.

  • When the students are finished, have them compare their sentences and discuss their work.