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Relative Clauses
Slash lv. 7
 
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Relative clause typically begins with a relative pronoun: who, whom, whose, that, or which or a relative adverb: when, where, why). The relative pronoun is usually related to the noun that precedes it. Relative clauses must be connected to a main clause (NP + V).

Strategy

Teacher actions are highlighted.

  • Students should be familiar with clauses conjoined by and and but and adverbial clauses telling Why--? and When--? and Relative clauses are adjective clauses that modify nouns.

  • 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

  • Write two sentences on the board:

    • Kim helped her dad.

    • Her dad is writing a book about sea animals.

  • Tell the students that two sentences can be joined but in a way different from what they have learned before.

  • Show 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.

    • 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).

      • Illustrate: The period in the first sentence was deleted.

      • The word/phrase that is repeated was deleted e.g., Her dad in the second sentence.

      • 'Who'  was substituted for the deleted phrase.

  • Repeat these steps with another set of sentences:

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

      • Find the words that are repeated:

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

  • Tell the students, substitute 'who' for the repeated words:

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

    • In both sets of sentences 'who' is substituted 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 new sentence:

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

  • Explain the word 'that' is a substitute for the word puppy. Ask the students: Why is 'that' in this sentence and not 'who'. (e.g. substituting a pronoun for a person so you used 'who'. A puppy is not a person, it is an animal, so we used 'that'.)

 
Advancing the Strategy
  • (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 new sentence:

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

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

  • Write 3 – 4 sets of sentences on the board, for example:

    • Francesca rode a bus to go to see her aunt.

    • Her aunt is a kindergarten teacher.

    • Identify the common elements and then combine the two sentences using a relative clause. Compare and discuss the sentences.

  • Continue with similar steps for each pair of sentences.

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

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

  • Have the students read stories that include frequent uses of the targeted structure.

  • Incorporate the targeted structure into all other activities during the school day and emphasize its use.