Grade: Middle

#4119. Fix-the-run-on Song Relay

Reading/Writing, level: Middle
Posted Fri Feb 22 14:44:11 PST 2008 by Rebekah Melby (Rebekah Melby).
Forest Park IB MYP, Longview, TX
Materials Required: Cut out words to popular songs (email me for the file or use your own), large wearable semicolon
Activity Time: variable
Concepts Taught: Teaching correctly combining simple sentences using conjunctions with commas and semicolons.


• English Language Arts
• 7th Grade

In this lesson, students will address the common struggle of correctly combining sentences (or independent clauses) using either the combination of a comma and coordinating conjunction or a semicolon. Students need to know this to avoid run-ons, comma splices, and choppy simple sentences.
Students need to know how to combine sentences correctly to improve their writing, which may be necessary for a college application or course essay, for a job application, for an employee-to-employer written report, or for their upcoming TAKS test.


(17) Writing/grammar/usage. The student applies standard grammar and usage to communicate clearly and effectively in writing. The student is expected to:

(A) write in complete sentences, varying the types such as compound and complex sentences, and use appropriately punctuated independent and dependent clauses (7-8);

(B) use conjunctions to connect ideas meaningfully (4-8);


• The student will be able to correctly join 80% of the independent clause sets using the laminated word cards, conjunctions, comma, and semicolon.
• The student will be able to correct 75% of the run-ons and comma splices in the homework packet.

Focus/Anticipatory Set

• Rearrange the classroom to the activity set-up and put up the Green and Gold team scoreboards.


• Ask students the following: What makes a complete sentence? What is a coordinating conjunction?
• Read aloud "A Day in the Park" with its abundance of simple sentences. Discuss with students the style of the story and how it could be improved. Guide students to recognize the choppiness of the story because of the lack of compound sentences.


• Teacher:
o Print-outs of the independent clause sets (from song lyrics). [2 copies of each sentence {15 recommended sentences}, one word on each page].
o Two corrugated cardboard semi-colon hangers (for students to wear)
o Laminated coordinating conjunctions (2 sets)
o Laminated commas (largest font, 2)
o Sharpie/Magnum Marker
o Scoreboards (Green and Gold)
o Guided/independent practice worksheet


1. Read aloud "A Day in the Park."
2. Ask students opening/scaffolding questions.
3. Write compound sentence formula on the board.
4. Explain the meaning of "independent clause."
5. Work example sentence on the board. Label S1, V1, S2, V2, insert connector.
6. Check for initial understanding.
7. Proceed to gym (outside if not raining).
8. Divide students into teams. (See TEAM ROSTER)
9. Have each team pick a student to be the preliminary semi-colon, the comma, and the conjunction. These students will play their roles for the first three sentences.
10. Explain to students that you are going to hand each team the same jumbled up set of two independent clauses, or simple sentences, that need to be combined.

11. THEN, the must decide how they are going to join the two independent clauses: with a semi-colon or with the combination of a comma and a coordinating conjunction.
12. The first team to produce an acceptable compound sentence wins one hundred points (completion is signaled by the unused person [comma-conjunction or semicolon] tagging the teacher.
13. After correctly completing the sentence, the team may identify the song the sentence came from for 20 points.
14. (If the team signals a stop in the game but does not have a correct compound sentence, the other team may correct their mistake for 70 points. )
15. After each sentence, the designated comma, conjunction, and semi-colon people need to change.
16. When students have played through all the sentences, declare the winning team.


• To complete the objective, students must participate in the game session. Preferably, each student will take a turn as the comma, conjunction, or semi-colon. Students must also complete the homework, combining at least 80% of the sentences correctly.
• A class average of less than 75% indicates the need to reteach the concept.


• Give me an example of a way to combine two simple sentences into a compound sentence.
• When we use a coordinating conjunction, what MUST accompany it?
• Why does it improve your writing style to use compound sentences?


• Visual: The print of the sentence sets (for the game) is VERY large font.
• LD: Peer-help/tutors, team activity.

Example song lyrics (single word per page)

"People keep talking they can say what they like" (run-on).

"I'm hearing what you say, but I just can't make a sound." (take out the comma and "but" to make it a run-on)


My kids also mentioned that they wanted more hip-hop. Tune into the musical interests of your students!