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Activity and strategy

Sentence Structure

ELA lesson aligned with CCSS making sentence structure accessible to students who are blind or visually impaired.

This lesson is based on classroom activities that I use with my textbook in my English Skills 10 class. (McDougal Littell’s Language Network)


  1. Students will determine the difference between an independent clause and a subordinate clause.
  2. Students will identify sentence structure by the number and kind of clauses it contains.
  3. Students will utilize coordinating conjunctions and conjunctive adverbs (as necessary) and will utilize proper punctuation.
  • Grammar reference book
  • Textured or colored cardstock
  • Brailler, iPad, note taker, or computer
  • Braille labels
  • Scissors
  • Velcro or Magnets
  • Flannel board/Magnetic board
  • Pieces of cardstock *labeled with the following:

    • simple sentence (3)
    • compound sentence (3)
    • complex sentence (3)
    • compound-complex sentence (3)
    • independent clause (at least 6)
    • subordinate clause (at least 2)
    • plus (+) signs (at least 4)
    • examples of independent and subordinate clauses (several of each that can be used together in sentences

*These can be large print, braille, or dual media.

  1. Explain the differences between simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences to the students.
  2. Give students the cardstock (with Velcro or magnets on the back) labeled with the four types of sentence structure, the two types of clauses and the plus signs.
  3. Students use the labels to create “formulas” (or formulae) for each type of sentence on the flannel (or magnetic) board.

Examples:

  • SIMPLE SENTENCE: INDEPENDENT CLAUSE
  • COMPOUND SENTENCE: INDEPENDENT CLAUSE + INDEPENDENT CLAUSE
  • COMPLEX SENTENCE: INDEPENDENT CLAUSE + SUBORDINATE CLAUSE
  • COMPOUND-COMPLEX SENTENCE: INDEPENDENT CLAUSE + INDEPENDENT CLAUSE + SUBORDINATE CLAUSE


  1. Once the students master that task, give them a list of sentences (with mixed structure) on their flannel/magnetic board and have them label them.
  2. Next, provide students with *multiple labels showing the two types of clauses and have them construct their own sentences. (Be sure to provided them with some conjunctions, commas, semi-colons, etc. for building their sentences.)

*Make sure that the content of the clauses is related so it is easier to build their sentences.


  1. Once complete, students will write original simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences.

Different colors and textures of card stock can be used to help students be able to differentiate between the type of labels.  If the student is a braille reader, I would suggest cutting the edges of the paper labels with scrapbook scissors to assist with distinguising between the types. 

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