Clauses and Complex Sentences
Students are learning about clauses and phrases as well as the punctuation associated with complex sentences. By the end of this short chapter, they should know the following:
- An independent clause has a subject and verb and can stand alone. (He ate pizza.)
- A subordinate (dependent) clause has a subject and verb, but it can't stand alone because it begins with a subordinating conjunction, such as although, because, if, or when. (although she sings well)
- Many phrases starts with a prepositions, such as in, on, by, for, or to. All phrases are missing either the subject or verb. (in the park, with the kids)
- A complex sentence is formed by placing at least one independent clause with at least one subordinate clause. Prepositional phrases are optional. (Because she likes the movies, the DVD was her favorite gift.)
- When the subordinating conjunction is at the beginning of the sentence, a comma is needed between the two clauses. (Although she loves her dog, she adores her cat.)
- When the subordinating conjunction is in the middle of the sentence, a comma is not needed. (She plays with her dog since she loves it so much.)
Writing Children's Stories/ Plays
Students will be writing a short story or play, focusing on character dialogue. Stories should be written with kindergarten or first grade in mind.
• Stories can be written in the form of a book (six or more pages -- large font and illustrations -- or a puppet show -- shoot for two to three minutes.
• Limit main characters to two to four to eliminate confusion.
• Don’t forget to indent each time a new person speaks.
• If working with a partner on a play, each must contribute equally to all aspects of the project -- writing, illustrating, creating, acting, etc.
Memorizing Primary Linking Verbs
Students created monsters with their words. Visualizing their creatures, the students added details to their descriptions. The next step was to illustrate the monster, according to their own writing.
To test their power of detail, the description was given to another student to illustrate. Did the drawing match?
Students are writing a couple short character dialogues to practice using quotes. The first set of characters were chosen by chance.
• Don’t forget to indent each time a new person speaks.
• Lines should contain a he said/she said section as that affects punctuation.
• Vary the placement of the he said/she said section. Try to place some at the beginning, the end, and the middle of the sentences.
• Remember that there are many other word choices other than said. Be specific.
• Make sure that your dialogue makes sense and doesn’t rely on being gross, violent, or rude.
• You may include a bit of narrative to move your dialogue along, but the focus of this piece should be on the spoken word.
• Check the work of your partner if you have one. If he or she has made an error, nicely explain how to correct the mistake.
Memory Book Option
Your seventh grade year is going to go down in history -- your personal history! You may choose to make a memory book throughout the year that covers topics from sports and holidays to entertainment, friends, and family. Before the end of the year, you will make a cover for the book and put the pages in order. The cover will be laminated, and the book bound before you take it home.
The best books are detailed and filled with various types of pages. If you have a great idea for a page that I have not made, ask me about it. Maybe we can make your vision a reality.
Pages may be turned in at any time. When you are ready to turn your pages in, fill in the “Look at Me” page, put the completed pages in the left pocket of your two-pocket folder, and turn the packet in the turn-in bin. Do not put your name on each individual page. I will grade what you have turned in, list the grade on your “Look at Me” paper, and then place your folder in the memory book bin for you to pick up next time you have more pages. This way you may look at the pages if you need to, but they won't get too wrinkled over the course of the year.
Pages will count as additional grades in your language arts average. Book pages will be graded for the following: sentence structure, spelling, neatness, and completeness (details). Effort is the main ingredient. Pictures, stickers, bright colors, newspaper clippings, articles, and other additions will make your book much more exciting. Use pen, colored pencil, and/or marker -- not pencil. Take time with the pages and turn them in when you are proud of your work.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them. Most of all, have fun making a memory book!
The following are the concepts the class is covering in the mechanics unit:
* beginning capitalization & end punctuation - What are you doing tonight?
* proper nouns - United States, General McCoy, Mars, July
* proper adjectives - Spanish rice, Irish lace
* commas in a compound sentence - Jack went up the hill, and Jill tumbled down.
* commas in a list (series) - The flag is red, white, and blue.
* commas after introductory words - Yes, I am going to the game.
* commas around interrupters - She, however, will not go to the party later.
* commas to set off nouns of direct address - Nancy, are you listening?
* commas setting off appositives - Lois Lowry, the author, wrote an interesting novel.
* commas and capitals in dates addresses, and letters - I have lived in Champaign, Illinois, for over twenty years.
* quotation marks in dialogue - Lucy yelled, "Are you going with us or not?"
(Remember that dialogue is indented when a new person speaks.)
* titles of short works - "We Are the World"
* Titles of long works are underlined or placed in italics. - The Runaway Bunny The Runaway Bunny
* semicolons - I wanted to go to Italy for years; now I can't wait to return.
* colons - I need to buy the following items: Thanksgiving supplies, napkins, and paper plates.
* abbreviations - IL, MLB, cm, Mon., Rte.
* apostrophes in contractions - can't, shouldn't
* apostrophes in possessive nouns - man's hat, men's hats
* hyphens - There are thirty-five balloons in the room.
* dashes - The Komodo dragon -- a great name for a lizard -- is huge.
* parentheses - The program is on this evening (8:30)
Summer "ing" Poems
Brainstorm the interesting things you did over summer vacation.
Choose a minimum of five moments to highlight.
Begin each phrase with a verb ending in ing.
Take out unimportant words in the phrase (but make sure the phrase still makes sense).
Experiment with your words so they paint a picture.
Write the phrases in an order that makes sense to you.
Surround your "ing" poem with images.
Constructing sand castles, rising out of the cool Atlantic shores
Rescuing seashells from the pounding surf
Gobbling ice cream faster than it can melt