Grammar games can add some needed zest to your English grammar instruction. Looking for a new game? Try diagramming sentences! Seriously, your students will think that it's fun. There are a few ways that you can turn away diagramming into a classroom game.
1. Competitive Sentence Diagramming
Most students love a chance to get up to the whiteboard and show their skills. After teaching students some basic sentence diagramming, have them split up into teams. Write a sentence on the whiteboard. Students then work as a team to diagram the sentence. Teams earn points based on the accuracy of their diagram and the amount of time that it took them to complete the diagram.
One teacher I interviewed who teachers middle school English had this to say about competitive termination diagramming:
"I have discovered that students LOVE to compete at sentence diagramming – even if they are not very good at it."
He even started a graduation diagramming club since the kids loved it so much.
2. Diagramming Puzzles
I like to make little sentence diagramming puzzles for students to solve. First, think of a good sentence to diagram. Then, make clues for the diagram. Make your clues similar to the clues in a crossword puzzle. Next, the students have to use the clues to guess the sentence and diagram it. It's great fun for all!
Here is an example:
Clue # 1: This sentence is a famous slogan for Nike.
Clue # 2: It is an imperative sentence. That means that it is giving a command.
Clue # 3: It has only three words.
(Answer: "Just do it.")
3. Diagram Famous Quotes
Who does not love a good quote? Diagramming quotes is a great way to integrate other lessons into your English grammar class. You can use quotes from a literature book that your students are reading or from a famous person living during a period in history that you are studying. It's fun to integrate topics. Write out the quote and have the students diagram it, or diagram it as a class.
Do not Remember How to Diagram a Sentence?
Most likely, you have no idea how to diagram sentences. It's okay. I have started a whole website devoted to teaching grammar with diagrams.
The site includes free lessons, exercises, and diagrams so you can keep one step ahead of your students!