Language Unit: Adverbial clauses of time (when Dad came home)
This unit was written for middle to upper elementary students, however, if you have older students who need to develop this structure, you can use a similar format with age-appropriate materials and activities.
As you develop this language component, use only language structures and concepts the students already know. They should be familiar with sentences that contain words that tell when such as, We went on a field trip yesterday, and sentences that contain phrases that tell when such as, We will have a math test in the morning. They should also be familiar with when question forms that require one word or short phrase answers. For example:
- Q. When will we have our spelling test? A. Tomorrow
- Q. When do you eat breakfast? A. In the morning
Tell students what they will learn and why
- Review what the students already know about when words and phrases.
- Write a sentence containing the new structure on the board, for example:
- When it is time for lunch, you will walk to the cafeteria.
- Students read the sentence.
- Ask: How many clauses does this sentence have? Which clause tells when?
- Underline and read the clause. Compare the clause to the single word and short phrase answers from your review of the when question form. Remind them that the when clause has a subject (it) and verb (is). The one word response and the phrase do not have a subject and verb.
- Show them the subject (you) and verb (will walk) of the main clause (independent clause) and explain that this is the main part of the sentence.
- Show the students two more sentences containing a when clause, for example:
- When you finish eating, you will play outside.
- When you return
to class, we will have
- Students read the sentences and discuss the meaning.
- Tell the students that the first clause tells when. Ask them what clue helps them identify the when clause (the clause starts with when).
- Underline the clause and have the students identify the subject and verb of the when clause (you and finish) and of the main clause (you and will play).
- Students identify the when clause in the second sentence; underline the clause and identify the subject and verb of the when clause (you and return) and of the main clause (we and will have).
- Refer to the first sentence again. Ask: When will you walk to the cafeteria? Explain that to answer this question, they would respond with the entire clause: When it is time for lunch.
- Ask questions about the second and third sentences. Encourage the students to respond with the when clauses.
- Write sentences in which the when clauses
comes first. (When you finish your
math paper, you may go to the reading
- After the students have read the sentence, ask what part of this sentence tells when. Underline the when clause and have the students identify the subject and verb of both clauses.
- Discuss the meaning of the sentence and the English format.
- Show them 2 more sentences with when clauses. Ask them what part of these sentences tells when and repeat the same steps. Give them enough support so they can respond successfully.
- Students work in pairs. Give each pair
the same 3 sentences, each containing an
adverbial clause beginning with when.
- Each pair underlines the correct clause, circles the subjects of each clause, and draws a box around each verb. Students share their work, discuss their responses, and the meaning of their sentences.
- Give each student a paper with five
sentences, each containing an adverbial
clause beginning with when.
- Each student underlines the when clauses in the sentences and identifies the subjects and verbs. When finished, students work in pairs to share, compare answers, and discuss meanings of the sentences.
Tell the students what they will learn and why
Review the previous work.
Remind the students that they have learned to identify, read, and understand sentences containing clauses starting with when. Now they will practice writing sentences with a when clause.
- Write a
when clause on the board, for example, When I arrived at
school this morning, _______________. Tell the
students that now they need to tell what happened when they
first got to school.
- Complete the sentence, for example: When I arrived at school this morning, I slipped on some ice by my car and fell. Discuss the meaning of the sentence and the English format.
- Repeat the same modeling procedures with another sentence, for example:
When I fell on the ice, I hurt my knee.
- Write a
when clause on the board and ask each student to complete
- For example, When I finished eating breakfast this morning,_______________.
- Write each student’s response on the board and discuss the meaning of the sentence.
steps using different when clauses for sentence starters.
- For example, When I get home after school,_______________.
another when clause on the board:
- When I go to the cafeteria, _______________.
- Each student writes the clause on a paper and completes the sentence. Students write their sentences on the board, share them with the class, discuss the meaning.
- If necessary, repeat these steps with 2-3 more clauses.
- Students work in pairs. Each pair writes 2 original sentences containing clauses beginning with when.
- When finished, students share their sentences with the class and discuss meanings.
- Each student writes 2 – 3 original sentences, each containing a clause beginning with when. When finished, partners work together, share their sentences with each other, discuss meaning.
Tell the students what they will learn and why
- Tell the students they will learn how to write the same sentences they have been working on, but they will use a different order.
- Explain that changing the order of the sentence can make our writing more interesting.
Have the sentences from the previous lessons written on the board or chart. Use these sentences for this lesson.
students one of the sentences, for example:
- When you finish your math paper, you may go to the reading center.
them you will put the sentence in a different order and it
will still mean the same thing. Write on the board:
- You may go to the reading center when you finish your math paper.
- Explain what you did and how the change in the order of the clauses also changed the punctuation. However, emphasize that it did not change the meaning of the sentence.
- Repeat the reason for using a different order, that is, it will make our writing more interesting.
- Model again how to change the order of the clauses using another sentence and explain what you did.
- Use 3 additional sentences. Ask the students how to change the order of each one.
- Write the students’ responses on the board under the original sentences, discuss the changes made in the order and the punctuation, and reinforce that the meaning of both sentences is the same.
- Students work in pairs. Give each pair 3 – 5 sentences
that contain when clauses in initial position.
- Each pair writes “new” sentences on the board.
- When finished, they share their work by reading and discussing their sentences with the other class members.
- During guided reading activities, have students identify sentences containing when clauses that they read. Discuss the order of the clauses and the meaning of each sentence.
- When students are writing, remind them to use when clauses in their sentences whenever possible. During editing, show students possibilities for including the targeted structure.
Subsequent units should present adverbial clauses of time that begin with before and after, for example:
- Before you go to bed, brush your teeth.
- Brush your teeth before you go to bed.
- After you eat your lunch, you may have a cookie.
- You may have a cookie after you eat your lunch.
You can follow steps similar to those in this unit with the addition of work on the sequence of events, that is, which activity in the two clauses happens first and which happens second.