Diagramming Sentences

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by runsw/scissors, Apr 14, 2007.

  1. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Apr 14, 2007

    For the past couple of years I have taught sentence diagramming to my students. What I have done is teach a lesson or two with each unit (nouns and verbs, adjectives, adverbs, compounds, etc.) I can tell diagramming sentences help them understand the parts of speech better, but I wonder if it would be better to just do one big unit on sent. diagramming at the end of the year rather than spreading the lessons out during the year. Does anyone on this forum teach sentence diagraming? If so, what has worked best for you?
     
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  3. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Apr 14, 2007

    Even though some people consider diagramming a waste of time, I have found it to be invaluable. I taught it in the middle school and I teach it now at the college level.

    A diagram of any kind is a picture of something. We can more easily understand the layout of a building if we look at a diagram. Maps are diagrams. Blueprints are diagrams. Charts are diagrams. The diagram of anything is supposed to make something more clear, not more confusing.

    Diagramming is also used in the legal environment. Sometimes, we think our sentence says one thing, but a diagram shows us, SHOWS us, that it actually doesn't. I have some friends who are paralegals and some days, all they do is diagram sentences, every sentence in a court document, etc, to make sure the document ends up saying what it meant to say.

    I teach diagramming at the end of the parts of speech unit. I start with the basic base line, broken in the middle by a vertical line that goes all the way through. . . . etc.

    Students also learn that it makes a heck of a difference if your line slants even a little bit to the left or right, and that if your line goes all the way through another line, the meaning is changed.

    Lower-level students generally appreciate diagramming, too. A picture is worth a thousand words, and a diagram, like any diagram, is a picture.

    Besides, which, after we'd learned the basics of diagramming, I encouraged my students to use their colored pencils and really fancy them up.

    Diagramming song lyrics, lines from Harry Potter, and goofy sentences they made up themselves about vomit, burping, farts, etc, also made the lessons fun.

    Meaningful dialogue about farting. . . . it can happen in the middle school!!!
     
  4. Jame

    Jame Comrade

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    Apr 14, 2007

    I also teach diagraming of sentences, but because I teach fifth grade, it is simply the basics. I teach it right along with every unit, as we work on parts of speech. I think it really helps to clarify and identify the roles words play in a sentence. Having to pull the sentence apart and place the words in the proper spaces on the diagram really makes the students focus in on the words and how they are being used. I really think it helps! :)

    I, too, really feel it helps the students to better understand sentence components and how they all fit together to make a good sentence. I have found it to be an invaluable visual to help the students make a connection between the words they choose and the way they construct their sentences. It is like a road map, almost!! :) The kids really seem to enjoy it, too. We approach it as a sort of puzzle to be filled in or solved. :) It carries over both into their writing answers to questions and into their longer works of writing. They have less fragments and seem to stretch toward having more complex sentences. I really think it makes a difference, but then it is what I grew up with, so I could be just a bit biased. :D
     
  5. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Apr 14, 2007

    I taught a form of sentence diagramming last year at the beginning of the school year. I had the students color code the parts of their sentences on sentence strips and with colored pencils to help them understand sentence structure since I teach second and the traditional diagramming is a bit above their level. We used it in our writing all year and when we made vocabulary sentences, but I don't think they did as well as they should have.


    This year, I spread out the lessons throughout the year. We still use it during other writing as well. I think their writing is better this year- of course, it could just be the group. They may still forget by the time they get through their summer and into third grade, but I will feel better about my efforts to help them remember longer.
     
  6. PurpleTweety

    PurpleTweety Companion

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    Apr 14, 2007

    Why not do both? Teach the diagramming with each unit as you have been doing, but then review at the end of the year. Give them sentences where they have to diagram every single word. That way, they learn the diagramming in manageable chunks, but get a solid review of sentences and all parts of speech at the end of the year.
     
  7. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Apr 17, 2007

    That's a good idea PurpleTweety. I like teacherintexas's idea of color coding the parts of speech as well. Maybe next year I will start off the year with the most basic two word sentences and just keep reviewing as we go. I currently have them keep a notebook to refer back to if they forget something we have previously covered, but they don't think to use it and by this point in the year many of them have been lost or damaged.
     

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