Teaching poetry can be a challenge. It is easy to get caught up in the mechanics of poetry when teaching about rhyme scheme. It is easy to get lost in imagery when teaching about meaning and depth of poetry.
Sometimes you just need a little fun when you’re teaching rhyme scheme—like in the Facebook Live videos that my students made of me teaching the about the importance of syllabication in rhyme scheme development—using funny rhymes and even a little rapping.
I am finished with the second book/download in the “Letters and Sound” series (only two more to go!). And this one is probably the most important of the four. Yes, the ABC Letters and Picture Cards are valuable for learning clue words for each letter (the first step in learning each letter’s sound) and are amazing for practice activities and games. And yes, the upcoming Little Rhyming ABC Books are tons of fun (and very catchy!). However, this packet/book will have your students singing the sounds of each letter of the alphabet in no time—in a pain-free, multi-sensory manner.
Children remember words of songs. They remember rhymes and mnemonics. They remember jingles and ditties. Thus, a natural way for littles to learn their beginning letter sounds is through one of these means. Enter “The ABC Sounds Song Packet.”
Today’s Comma Clue can be confusing–but it is one of the most needful for comprehension as well as for sentence fluidity when reading aloud.
When you start a sentence with a subordinate clause,
Put the comma in when you hear the pause!
That is a cute rhyme (don’t you think?)….but unless you know what a subordinate clause is (and prior to that, what a subordinator is), it will not do you much good to recite it. So this post will go back to what subordinators are first.
Maybe you were taught that subordinators (words that make the part of the sentence that they are in be “subordinate” to the rest of the sentence) are called other things, like conjunctives or subordinate conjunctions. Some grammar handbooks do not even classify subordinators at all but call them whatever other class they fall under (i.e. the preposition before might always be called a preposition, even though it is a subordinator when it has a subject and verb following it).
Regardless of what you were taught about subordinators, they are extremely important to good writing. Why?
1. A subordinator is a word that falls at the beginning of a subordinate clause.
2. A subordinate clause is a group of words that begins with a subordinator and has a subject and verb following it.
3. A subordinate clause is subordinate to the rest of the sentence–that is, it is “less than” the real sentence.
4. A subordinate clause may not stand alone as it is not a real sentence.
5. A subordinate clause sounds as though something is missing when it is read–because something is (the real sentence!).
6. A subordinate clause may be joined with a complete sentence to create a complex sentence, but the subordinate clause may never stand alone.
So….what are subordinators?
Let’s start with the first six that we teach our youngest language arts students in our books:
Since, when, though
Because, if, although.
Yeah, it’s a rhyme! Cute, huh? (I love teaching!)
Anyway, for you older folks, we have a Subordinator-Check Sentence that most subordinators fit into. In a nutshell, if a word fits in the check sentence and the word is not an adverb, it likely a subordinator:
________________________ the submarine went down, we could no longer see it.
Since the submarine went down, we could no longer see it.
When the submarine went down, we could no longer see it.
Though the submarine went down, we could STILL see it.
Because the submarine went down, we could no longer see it.
If the submarine went down, we could no longer see it.
Although the submarine went down, we could STILL see it.
Okay, that is the first six. Here is a lengthy, but not exhaustive list of subordinators:
-after (also a preposition when it just has an object following it)
-as (also a preposition when it just has an object following it)
-as long as
-as soon as
-because of (also a preposition when it just has an object following it)
-before (also a preposition when it just has an object following it)
-in order that
-now (more commonly used as an adverb)
-than (also a preposition when it just has an object following it)
-til (also a preposition when it just has an object following it)
-until (also a preposition when it just has an object following it)
In as much as the submarine went down, we could no longer see it.
Until the submarine went down, we could STILL see it.
While the submarine went down, we could no longer see it.
We will stop here and give you time to memorize these before we go on in a day or two working on punctuating sentences that begin with subordinate clauses. Just looking at the Subordinator-Check Sentence, though, you can probably deduce that the first rhyme in this post is accurate: a subordinate clause opener is followed by a comma. More later!
Picture from http://staff.jccc.net/mfitzpat/style/bd04892_.gif