Teaching Independent & Dependent Clauses

From my experience, there is no easy way of teaching independent & dependent clauses besides good old fashioned modeling and practicing.  However, teaching and practicing this skill does NOT have to be boring. Continue reading to get a glimpse at how I teach this concept in my classroom. 

Day 1- Introduce the skill and provide a reference

In my classroom, I begin teaching independent and dependent clauses using colorful posters.  While I am showing the examples on the posters, the students will be copying down the notes and examples using a fun flip book template. (The kids LOVE when we do these, by the way!)  We usually glue these on a sheet of paper, so they can keep them as a reference for the entire week. If you use interactive notebooks, these are perfect for those as well!

Students create a flip book on the first day. They can use it all week for reference!
Day 1 – Flip book / Interactive Notebook

Day 2: Review & practice

After the first day, you can’t expect the students to have mastered such a tricky concept.  I usually use the second day to review the skill using a step by step PowerPoint presentation. After the review, the PPT also gives 5 practice sentences.  The students use white boards and markers to practice identifying the clauses. Once finishing their boards and markers practice, students complete a super fun coloring activity.  These can be taken up for a quick and easy assessment! These are so easy to grade because you just have to look at the colors!

On day two, students practice using this guided Powerpoint.
Day 2 – A Guided PPT allows students additional practice.

Day 3: Sorting Activity

It is really important for students to understand that the independent and dependent clauses can come first or last in a sentence.  The order doesn’t really matter! After completing a sorting activity, I model how I can write each of these sentences by putting the independent clause first.  I point out that when the independent clause comes first, you do not need to add the comma. I like to have the students take their sorting activity and rewrite each sentence with the independent clause first on the back.

This sorting activity is always a big hit with the students.
Day 3 – Sorting activity & identifying misconceptions.

Day 4: Task cards / Scoot game

Somebody ring the alarm!  It is time for a scoot game!  The students absolutely love task cards (also referred to as a scoot game) because they get to get up and move around the room.   I usually allow the students to work in groups of two during this activity simply because it is quicker this way. I have twenty task cards that I place around the room.  The timer is set for 30 seconds. Once it rings, the students are instructed to visit their next card. I recently updated my bundle to include QR codes. These are amazing because when we are short on time, the students can scan the code to check their answers.  If we have more time, however, I will just wait until the end to assess together, so I can model and discuss each of the cards as a class.

Use these task cards to play a "scoot game". The optional QR code set makes for quick assessment!
Day 4: Task Cards / Scoot Game

Day 5: Assessment

On the final day of our unit, I give an assessment.  This allows me to see who is still struggling and who has mastered the concept.  For those who are still struggling, I will make a note of this and pull them back for a reteaching lesson.  On most occasions, the small group or one on one setting allows the students’ misconceptions to be cleared up.  The extra practice and modeling usually does the trick!

Wrap up your week's unit with an assessment.
Day 5: Assessment

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Get your full week of independent & dependent clauses

To grab your copy of these activities, please click here or click on the picture below.  If you choose to download this unit, you will receive everything mentioned above as well as a common core standards alignment and editable lesson plan for the week.

There’s a multitude of wonderful resources available to help teach independent and dependent clauses.  I hope my bundle is beneficial to you and your students. For additional resources, please visit the links below: 

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Stephanie Nash

I have been helping teachers organize, develop routines, and create inviting & beautiful classrooms since 2012!

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