Subordinating conjunctions are words that connect dependent clauses and independent clauses in a sentence. A dependent clause is a part of the sentence that will not be a complete sentence by itself. Independent clauses are complete sentences by themselves. However, dependent clauses are important because they add important information to sentences. Dependent clauses can tell why, where, when, and how. Like transition words, dependent clauses show time-order, cause and effect, and other relationships between ideas.
We use subordinating conjunctions to form complex sentences. We use coordinating conjunctions to form compound sentences. In a compound sentence, the parts of the sentence can be separated into two complete sentences. In a complex sentence, you cannot form two complete sentences without adding words.
We can use subordinating conjunctions in the middle of a sentence or at the beginning of a sentence. If we use a subordinating conjunction at the beginning of a sentence, we must put a comma between the dependent clause that starts with the subordinating conjunction and the independent clause.
Here is a video to help your students understand subordinating conjunctions.
After introducing subordinating conjunctions to your students, you will want to show them examples. When looking at example sentences, point out the capitalized first letter, spacing between words, and ending punctuation. Speaking of ending punctuation. I recommend sticking with periods until you can give a lesson on the other types of ending punctuation.
This should be a quick part of the lesson. You can ask students what they notice but quickly point out the important parts of the sentence. In these sentences, you want students to notice that dependent clauses always start with a subordinating conjunction. You also want them to notice that when we start a sentence with a subordinating conjunction, we need to put a comma after the dependent clause. They may also notice that without the subordinating conjunction, dependent clauses are independent clauses. This is the main way subordinating conjunctions are different from prepositions.
Subordinating Conjunction: We will go to recess after we finish eating.
Preposition: We will go to recess after lunch.
Subordinating Conjunctions Pictures
You can show these five pictures to your students to help them brainstorm subordinating conjunction sentences. Give students about thirty seconds to think about each picture. Then, have them share with a partner. Finally, collect three to five ideas per picture to record in a class anchor chart.
These ideas will get you started teaching your subordinating conjunctions lessons, but we have printable resources that will make a huge difference. Luckily, my team at For the Love has you covered! You can get all of these resources to make planning and teaching a breeze!
Word List: A list of words for the lesson for when your mind goes blank while brainstorming.
Word Chart: A tool for students to organize words they will use to write sentences. Students record words from brainstorming on their word charts, so when they write sentences, they can focus their attention on the mechanics and syntax of the sentence instead of coming up with new ideas. Word charts are the perfect place to integrate social studies and science lessons into writing.
Example Sentences: A list of example sentences that fit the purpose of the lesson. You can use these to build anchor charts, differentiate instruction or practice for students, or clarify your own understanding of the topic.
Sentence Practice: Students will use the words from their word charts to write complete sentences. The sentence practice pages have more suggestion words as well as reminders about the mechanics of a complete sentence. Students who do not need the support of the handwriting lines can write on a piece of notebook paper, or you can give them the alternate writing paper. It does not have the specific lesson information on it.
You can get the lesson on nouns at Teachers Pay Teachers.
You can access all of the parts of our Learning to Write Complete Sentences program here: