Teaching Simple and Compound Sentences

Teaching young students to write sentences is one of my favorite things about first grade. Once students learn all about how to construct a basic sentence, it's time to dive into teaching simple and compound sentences! While it can feel a little tricky to convey this idea to young students at first, I promise it doesn't have to be hard! Today I am sharing my top tips for teaching simple and compound sentences in a fun and engaging way. 

Teaching simple and compound sentences is not only fun but super easy with these amazing activities geared towards teaching your students how to identify and write simple and compound sentences.

Introduce Simple and Compound Sentences

First off, you're going to want to spend some time making sure your students really grasp the difference between simple and compound sentences. I love to take my time with this topic and give students lots of examples. My Simple and Compound Sentences unit has everything you need to effectively teach this topic to your students in a hands-on and fun way! 

These simple and compound sentences posters are a great visual resource for your students to refer to during your simple and compound sentence lessons.
To start out, I hang the posters from the resource on the board and read them aloud to my class. Each poster features an example, to illustrate the difference between the two types of sentences. From there, I will start writing examples for each type of sentence on the board. Then, I can underline the differences to help my students visually see how simple and compound sentences differ. Typically, once I provide this explanation along with a few examples, my students are excited to start brainstorming their own ideas. 

I like to ask different students to provide a subject and verb for each clause and then give a list of conjunctions we can use to join the topics. I think of this practice a little bit like "mad-libs". Typically, we will end up with some pretty funny sentences. . . and that's great! First graders LOVE when school feels a little silly! Taking the time to allow for some giggles will help make this concept really stick. 

I repeat this practice quite a few times until I feel that my students have a good understanding of the concept and we have a good list of examples on the board to refer back to during the other activities. 

Play a Game to Practice

Next, I love using the sentence sorting game in my Simple and Compound Sentences resource as a way to practice identifying each type of sentence. This hands-on game is great for small groups and centers and has a self-correcting option as well, making this perfect for students to independently check their work.
This cute and fun feed the monkey game will get your students excited to identify simple and compound sentences.

To play, students will pick a sentence strip from the stack, read the sentence and then "feed" the monkey the sentence belongs to. This is great as a partner game during center time! Students can take turns choosing a card, reading it aloud, and then "feeding the monkey". Once all the sentence strips have been read and sorted, students will also complete a simple activity on the recording sheet as a follow-up. 

The included recording sheet asks students to write their two favorite sentences from the bunch for each category. This is a great way to extend the activity and add in even more writing practice that ties into this fun little game. 

Use No-Prep Printables 

This resource also features four other no-prep printable worksheets to continue practicing this skill in your classroom. These are also great for center work or for independent desk work after a lesson. Two of the worksheets ask students to read sentences and identify which category they belong to. These are a great follow-up activity to the lesson and makes a wonderful introduction to the "Feed the Monkey" game.  

These no prep printable worksheets are a great way to get your students excited about identifying and writing simple and compound sentences.
Also included is a fun activity where students will choose a conjunction to make their own compound sentence. This activity also provides practice with combining two simple sentences into one compound sentence. I find that this activity is great for illustrating that conjunctions are crucial to combine sentences. It's also a great way for students to learn when to use different conjunctions.

Finally, there is one worksheet that asks students to rewrite simple sentences as one compound sentence. This one can sometimes be a little trickier for my first graders, so I recommend doing this after your students complete the others.  I love doing this one with small groups and then sending it home again as homework a few days later, for my students to do on their own. I find that doing the same worksheet more than once is a highly beneficial way to get that repetitive practice in and make sure my firsties understand the lesson!

Finish with a Fun Craft!

If you teach first grade, you already know the benefits of making room for crafts in your curriculum! Crafting allows students to express some creativity, take a small "brain break" and continue working those fine motor skills with scissors and glue sticks! I love crafts that also incorporate a writing activity, just like the one in my Simple and Compound Sentences resource. 

Keeping in line with the theme, students will have the opportunity to create their very own silly little monkey that will display a compound sentence. This makes an adorable bulletin board display full of personality and plenty of examples of compound sentences! 

This craft is the perfect way to wrap up your teaching simple and compound sentences lessons. Students will love creating their very own simple sentence monkey and compound sentence monkey to show what they learned.

I always recommend doing the writing portion of the craft first. No one wants to try and write on a sticky, wet craft! Have your students write a compound sentence on the template provided. You can have them brainstorm their own or choose one from the sorting game- whatever you prefer! Next, have your kiddos glue that to a piece of 10x7 construction paper in the color of your choice. 

From there, your students can start assembling their monkeys! 
I recommend copying the pieces onto colored paper ahead of time and then letting your kiddos cut the pieces out at their desks. This is great fine motor practice. So many first graders still need practice with scissors, so I love that crafting gives them this opportunity. Feel free to print the step-by-step, photo instructions for assembly to let your students refer to if needed. 

Once this is complete you can have your students follow the final steps of gluing their writing activity to the monkey. As I mentioned, I love to display these on a bulletin board or in the hallway for everyone to see. The students are always proud of their work and it's a great reminder of compound sentences for my little writers! 

Looking for Even More Writing Activities?

If you like this unit, you will love my HUGE Year Long Grammar Bundle! This bundle features 18 units all focused on teaching some element of writing and grammar. This complete bundle features engaging worksheets, hands-on activities, games, and crafts to help you teach first-grade grammar in a fun way! Students will learn about nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, prepositions, sentence types, simple and compound sentences, and MORE! Save yourself hours of planning and check out the bundle!

This year long grammar bundle includes EVERYTHING you need to help your students understand and love grammar. With activities like worksheets, hands on activities, games, and crafts, you will have a years worth of fun and engaging grammar activities your students will love!

Save These Ideas for Later! 

Don't forget to pin this post to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so that you're prepared when it's time to start teaching simple and compound sentences! 

Teaching simple and compound sentences is not only fun but super easy with these amazing activities geared towards teaching your students how to identify and write simple and compound sentences.

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