Normally, I would put a sentence up on the whiteboard and call on students to identify the
A) Parts of speech
B) Parts of the sentence (subject/predicate/direct object/indirect object/subject complement)
C) Phrases (prepositional/appositive/infinitive/gerund/participial)
D) Type of sentence (declarative/interrogative/exclamatory/imperative) and sentence structure (Simple Independent Clause/Compound I,cc I/Complex ID/Complex D,I)
But since our work with word investigations, I’ve noticed how much the students love figuring things out in small collaborative groups. So I wrote out sentences on long pieces of construction paper. Each pair of students was given a sentence and asked to analyze it. I created two of each sentence so that when groups were finished they could compare their analysis with the other group that analyzed the same sentence. The last step will be for the four who analyzed each sentence to present their analysis on the whiteboard.
I was so pleased to hear the students use reason and logic in making their decisions. Team members felt comfortable challenging suggestions being made, and each pair ultimately made their decisions based on evidence from either a dictionary, their brochure, or their Grammar Examiner notebook. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we are past the days of wild guessing and instead, expecting the order of things to make sense!
I was particularly impressed that with such interesting and complicated looking sentences, they ended up making very few errors. At this point in the semester, the students are discovering that one word can be more than one part of speech, depending on its use in the sentence. It’s interesting to listen to them critically think about which identification is most likely.