In our classroom we analyze sentences about three times a week. We’ve been doing this since late October. Before that the students had a crash course in the eight parts of speech and the five parts of a sentence. During their crash course, they made an interactive notebook that we fondly refer to as their “Grammar Examiner”. It is a combination of information I handed out that they then taped in and information or practice that they did on their own. It included many mind maps throughout so that the students had opportunity to reflect on what they were learning.
We began with simple sentences. After the students were familiar with the layers of analysis, I began to add phrases (prepositional, appositive, and infinitive). Gradually other sentence structures were introduced. In the last month the students have become comfortable with the fact that certain words can be identified as more than one part of speech, depending on their use. The sentence analysis then becomes a logic puzzle to solve. With each new sentence, the students get more comfortable in their own ability to reason things out. They not only learn the specific names of things , but also the relationships of one to another in a sentence.
The best part for me is when I can use the language they now understand to talk about their own writing – their own sentence structures.