A Sentence Diagramming Lesson Your Students Will Love

One skill lost on many modern students is the ability to break down sentences. Of course, diagramming sentences the old-fashioned way is frowned upon as “outmoded” or “blasé”.

Nothing could be further from the truth especially when teaching students with limited sentence construction skills.

I developed an idea one day about an activity which requires students to creat sentences using a word bank. They work in small groups to construct first a simple sentence like the one shown below and then label the parts of speech using a set of provided tabs.

A simple sentence using the word bank.

They then will be tasked with creating a compound sentence, a complex sentence and then a compound-complex sentence using the word bank. Make it interesting by having them compete for candy or other privileges.

Pictured is a compound-complex sentence

After they do this activity and different teams have bragging rights, shift it up by instructing each team to create original sentences in the four forms. Then instruct them to label the parts of speech and subject, object together.

My kids loved this activity, and beyond doing some back-end work to make word banks and a study set of parts of speech on Quizlet, the lesson almost taught itself.

Give it a try. Your kids might just love it, and their test scores prove it works.

Published by Roger Colby, Novelist, Editor

Roger Colby is a novelist and teacher who has taught English for nearly two decades. He is also an avid reader of science fiction who feels, like many other sci-fi readers, that he has read everything. He writes science fiction for the reader who is looking for the next best thing, something to excite them into reading again. This blog is his journey as a writer and his musings about writing. He also edits manuscripts for a fee and is an expert at helping you reach your full potential as a writer.

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