Thursday, 9 July 2015

Connectives and How to Help Pupils to Use Them

Connectives 
A connective is a word or phrase that links clauses or sentences. They are important in writing as they join ideas together and act as signposts for your audience; they highlight different things such as the reason, the purpose, a contrast and so on.

The new job wasn’t very exciting, but on the other hand it was well-paid. (Here the connective “on the other hand is used to introduce a contrasting idea.)

Remember that connectives can often be used as openers for sentences too, like this:
I sat outside and ate my fish and chips even though it was raining.
Even though it was raining, I sat outside and ate my fish and chips.

There are several problems for children when they use connectives but the main one is that they have had less exposure to the more ambitious ones, as they tend to be used in more formal spoken language and writing. So we have to help them with this.

Ideas to learn how to use connectives

Spot the Connective  Pupils have to highlight or underline connectives in a text, preferably ones useful for a writing genre you are studying.
  • Challenge - set a time limit.  
  • Differentiate - some pupils texts could include some already highlighted or clues.  
  • Extend-  think of alternative connectives that you could use in their place.
Learning Grid Pupils work in pairs and throw a dice twice to get the co-ordinates for a square on a 6 x 6 grid. Each square has the beginning of a sentence with a connective and  they have to copy and complete it. Meanwhile their partner is having a turn. When they have finished each sentence they need to have it checked by their partner to win a point. Try to keep up the momentum by having each person writing whilst the other 
is throwing their dice.
  • Challenge - let them know that randomly selected sentences will be shared during the plenary.  Set a time limit.  
  • Differentiate - provide different versions of the grids with different levels of connectives.  
  • Extend-  have some more open-ended sentences to allow pupils to be creative.

Random Picture  Pupils work individually 
or in pairs. The teacher selects a few images which are interesting and which may loosely fit in  with the writing theme. The pupils select a random card or lollipop stick with a connective on then the random picture is shown; you could use powerpoint or keynote to theatrically present these. The learners must make a sentence using their connective about the picture.
  • Challenge - let them know that randomly selected sentences will be shared during the plenary.  Set a time limit.  
  • Differentiate - provide different sets of connectives.  
  • Extend- pupils could write a follow up sentence.

Blockbuster Grid This is similar to the Learning Grid but using a  game board based on the game show Blockbuster. Pupils work in pairs and take it in turns to choose a hexagon to create a path from either the top to the bottom or from the left to the right. Each time they can create and write a sentence using the given connective, they cover that hexagon and also block their partners way through it. The first person to cross the board wins.

  • Challenge - let them know that randomly selected sentences will be shared during the plenary.  Set a time limit.  
  • Differentiate - provide different versions of the grids with different levels of connectives.  
  • Extend-  have some more open-ended sentences to allow pupils to be creative.
Resources:
Blank learning grid 
Blank Blockbuster grid