We’re all terrified of diagramming sentences, but it doesn’t have to be so frightening. There’s more than one way to do it too. You may be diagramming for parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adverbs, etc.), or for finding the subject and predicate (subject = topic, predicate = what the subject does), or you could diagram in this fun, easy way – hunt for the five W’s.
Write a sentence up on the board and then find as many of the five W’s as you can together. You may even want to have a different symbol for each one, like draw a stick figure by “who” or a ? by “why.”
A Find The 5 W’s Example
Here’s a sentence to try:
“Mom cooks dinner at home today because we’re too tired to go out.”
Can you find the 5 W’s?
What: cooks dinner
Where: in the kitchen
Why: because we’re too tired to go out
You can write your own sentences (kids love to be the star, so write some about your own family) or get sentences from their favorite books. Some of the sentences may not include all 5 W’s. To practice writing descriptively, add to the sentence until all five W’s are included. Make it a game and write silly sentences so the kids won’t want to stop! This is a great exercise in looking at sentences and how they are formed, and also in adding description and vividness to your writing.
This is the kind of lesson I would use for a mini lesson in writer’s workshop. The whole mini lesson shouldn’t last more than 5-10 minutes a day, but you could teach it over several days if the kids wanted to keep going. To read more about mini-lessons and the other parts of our Writer’s Workshop, read this article: Writer’s Workshop Basics.
More From Layers of Learning
Here are a few more articles to get you off on the right foot in your Writer’s Workshop. You can also find lots of writing ideas from teaching spelling to writing poetry on our Writer’s Workshop page.