In Multiple Types of Complex Sentences

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Origianlly designed for 5th graders who have some experience with appositives (or interrupters), compund sentences, opening phrases and closing phrases.

  • Read I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman Orloff. It is a great model of persuasive writing!
  • Pass out the worksheet with the text of the story.
  • Look at the first letter with the class. Notice how many commas there are. Tell the class that, other than the commas used in the greeting and salutation, there are commas being used for 4 different reasons in this letter. Challenge them to look at the text with a partner and see if they can identify the 4 reasons.
1. I know why you don't think I should have Mikey Gulligan's baby iguana when he moves, but here's why I should. is a compound sentence.
2. If I don't take it, is an introductory phrase.
3. he goes to Stinky and Stinky's dog, Lurch, will eat it is an appositive.
4. You don't want that to happen, do you? is a closing phrase.
  • Come together as a class and identify the four reasons. As you do list on the board Opening phrase, Closing phrase, Appositive, Compound.
  • Assign a crayon color to each type of comma (blue, green, yellow, red)
  • Together as a class, look at the second letter. Decide why the first comma is being used (compound sentence) and circle the comma in the corresponding color. Then decide why the second comma is being used (closing phrase) and circle that comma in the corresponding color.
  • Have students work individually or with a partner to go through the rest of the letters and circle all of the commas (excluding the greeting and salutation commas) with the correct color crayon.
  • If the students need a hint tell them that, including the first letter you did together there are 9 opening commas, 4 closing commas, 1 appositive comma and 2 compound sentence commas.
  • When finished have students check their work with a partner or another group.
  • As a class quickly go through the letters and identify and discuss all of the commas.
  • Here are some choices of extension activities
Start a blog and challenge them to find sentence with all 4 types of commas in their own reading to post on the blog
In class, have them look through books and try to find 1 example of each kind of comma to put on the bottom of their page
Ask the class to write a letter to their family asking for an animal. Challenge them to be persuasive and use 1 of each kind of comma somewhere in their letter.
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