Do you have a child that is struggling with diagramming sentences? Here’s an activity to help them see that this is really like a puzzle, putting all the pieces in the right places.
How to Set it Up
- On a piece of paper, make a “template” diagram. You can just have lines or you can label (as I have) what goes on each line. We are doing only simple sentences now, so I have a place for subject, with one adjective, a helping verb, an intrasitive verb, one adverb, and one prepositional phrase.
- Write a few sentences, with words spaced out, onto strips of paper.
- Cut out each word.
- I took a sentence and changed it from declarative, to imperative, to interrogative. I wrote out each sentence and cut them out.
- Have students see the sentences first in order by sentence. Then, they place each word on to the diagram template. Every word has a spot on the diagram. However, not every sentence will have everything on the template. Every sentence must have a subject and a main verb.
Some advantages of diagramming puzzle style:
- There is no worry of spelling mistakes or punctuation mistakes.
- There is no erasing. If you make a mistake, just move the piece to the correct spot.
- There is no accidentally forgetting to put a word into the diagram. All words have a spot to go.
After simple sentences are mastered, you could add to these sentences. Add a clause, modifiers, or a direct object.