Monday, February 17, 2014

Sentence Analysis: Subject, Predicate, Direct Object

*  Note:  As always, my pictures will enlarge if you click on them.  Depending on your screen size, you might need to do that if you want to read the writing on the slips/charts.

This week we started the "sentence analysis" or "logical analysis" thread in Montessori grammar.  We own these boxes of wooden analysis symbols from iFit.  For about $10 more you can buy the boxes with wooden charts to match (here and here).  I made my charts by tracing the symbols onto 12x18 paper (yes, it has to be that big.  You won't find printables for these.  I used poster board for one of the other charts because it is even bigger.), writing the questions/words on with a Sharpie, and then shading them in with colored pencils.  Of course, if you are introducing analysis in elementary you don't need the charts. They seem to exist as a guide so that the child can remember how to arrange the shapes and arrows when they are doing this work independently.  At least for these first simple charts, the elementary child can probably manage to remember the layout on their own.

I made charts because I starting thinking I would use the Cultivating Dharma language album for sentence analysis.  Usually I use Montessori R&D for grammar because it matches the homemade materials handed down to me from a friend.  Montessori R&D has all of the sentence analysis in it's own album separate from the grammar album that houses the parts-of-speech key experiences, grammar box, and command card work.  I bought the analysis album because the two albums weave in-and-out of one another. The regular MRD grammar album cues you to begin the analysis album right after you do the "Verb: hunt the action" work and the bridge works really well.  I really like the main MRD grammar album but so far I don't like the analysis album at all.  I'm pretty sure the first 40 pages are the same lesson over, and over and over and that we covered those pages in about 15 minutes on our first day.  

When I realized that MRD was going to be a flop, I turned to KotU.  However, KotU is strictly an AMI album and AMI elementary albums don't include presentations that are covered in the AMI  primary albums. The KotU album states: 

"The elementary work will hopefully pick up on the primary foundation of the reading analysis work.  The material we start off using is very similar to that used in the primary classroom, but it's going to add something.  With both function of words and reading analysis, we do not give the names of the parts of speech; we add these in elementary."

That's some pretty hefty hoping if you take into account the Montessori by Hand AMI primary album has this to say about the reading analysis work:  

"Only one or two children will do this work because it is advanced work."

That's one thing I've never liked much about AMI albums.  The primary albums are so relaxed and breezy and "some of this is advanced work and you might not get to it."  Then the elementary albums are all stern business and like "the child should have covered all that in primary."  

I'm a little slow on the uptake so it hadn't occurred to me to look at the presentations in the primary album earlier. I skimmed them this weekend and liked them a lot.  So, today I'm not sure if I'm going to use Cultivating Dharma or Montessori by Hand for a little while.  Cultivating Dharma is a training album done in an AMS program that was being taught by an AMI instructor.  So, it's a bit of a hybrid and leans AMI for some subjects and AMS for others.  The sentence analysis is a pretty good mix and seems to be automatically adjusting primary analysis presentations to an elementary audience which is just what I need.  However, the Montessori by Hand might do a better job of getting me back into the KotU faster.  I'll figure it out as I go.

In the meantime, this is what we've been up to.  The CD album has you use the charts, and for the first presentations you cover the direct object half of the chart with a piece of paper to hide it.  The Montessori by Hand album, which I love for it's "off presentation" teaching tidbits states "always present to two children if you have the option."  Check.  They also state, "there is independent work available, but it is so much more meaningful and exciting for the child to have the teacher write the phrases.  The teacher can write phrases that pertain to that particular child.  Check.  (I didn't want to make all those boxes of sentence strips anyway.)  Also, these are elementary kids so I didn't even make up the sentences outside of the demonstration.  They invented their sentences all on their own and I wrote them down to keep things moving quickly.  MY demonstration sentence was straight out of the CD album and very normal, "Birds fly."  Normal lasted for a very short time.

Me Too loves dogs, so his first sentence was "Puppies bark."  We write the sentence on strips of paper I have pre-cut and in a basket.  The boys "find the action" (why it is so appropriate to start this thread right after the "hunt the action" verb activities in the main grammar thread), cut it out and place it on the red circle.  The subject, whether it be a noun; noun and article; or noun, article, and adjective goes on the large black circle.  The black arrow points from the verb circle to the noun circle.  One side is printed with the questions "Who is it that?" and "What is it that?" while the other side is printed with the word "subject."  The emphasis is on what function the words have in the sentence and the child uses the questions to determine the function.

However, as soon as they realized that they were in charge of these sentences it became "all boy" very fast.


Me Too (My husband can't believe I consented to write that one down but he's not the one up late at night reading articles like "Say 'yes' in Your Homeschool."  I did draw the line at writing down what body part "pees.")

Back to Kal-El.  Can you tell?

Kal-El again

Me Too getting into the spirit of things.

They really didn't need the chart.

Thanks to Star Wars, grammar is now Kal-El's favorite subject and he demands it daily.  Later this week I'll show you our Star Wars-themed preposition work.  When Me Too tired of the analysis work Kal-El had NOT and asked me to "secretly show him the next level" so he could "write bigger sentences."  So, Kal-El and I went on to add direct objects.

before it was cut


Finally *I* got tired of the work and told Kal-El he would have to record his own sentences, which he did happily for a long time.  The subjects and direct objects got longer and longer.  Technically attributive extensions will get their own symbols and arrows eventually.  For now all I cared about was that he was happily continuing this work, writing his own sentences, and understanding that the attributive extensions were indeed part of the subject.

I think tomorrow's post will be our annual SCHOOL ROOM TOUR, but I'll likely share our Star Wars-themed prepositions work on Wednesday.


  1. Hi, I just wanted to drop you a note to tell you how much I love your blog. I read every single post and I am so inspired by what you do that I will be going along the same path with my 2 year old. Well done to you, you are amazing.

  2. Another grammar boy hum? He and T should get together and have a grammar party. :) You gave me another idea since T doesn't like to do much original writing, the auditory processing thing, this work might give him a boost. That is, make it fun, and break it up into manageable parts. His would probably be all Lego Ninjago. :)

  3. Ok so I'm just glad that my kids aren't the only refined Montessori kids that turn everything into a "pooh" and "pee" Glad you posted those sentences. I can already see that coming my way when we get to those works :). Now I won't feel like such a loser mom who doesn't teach her kids manners and keeps wondering where I went wrong. :)

  4. How funny! Butts poop - that, sadly. sounds all too familiar - though I will refrain from saying whether it be boys or girls in my house that would produce such an answer.... ;) I am so thankful for the detailed pictures and descriptions of the charts - they are a help, and I know it extra work and time to detail the post that way. I also look forward to your school room post!

  5. I have to tell you a sad story about how my dog ate one of the arrows for our first sentence analysis box.....

  6. Hm. That typo isn't in the album ('of' instead of 'off') - I must have corrected it ;) That's funny.

    I am also going in right now to edit that part to say "but if a child doesn't get the work in primary, just start with the elementary work and take as long as needed for each step."

    Interestingly enough, I get the idea from other AMI trained people that sentence analysis is an upper elementary work - but I have had children of ALL elementary ages doing it, so go figure.

    Interesting about the other primary albums though - because kindergarteners in AMI schools routinely get to this work and LOVE it. At least the schools I've been in ???

    Fascinating to compare! Well, no - fascinating to hear the comparisons; I bet it's frustrating at times trying to figure it all out! I love your analyses though!

    1. That's MY typo silly ;/ What's funny about that is that I corrected three or four typos that were in the Montessori by Hand album when I quoted it, but ADDED a typo to yours. I'll go fix it. Sorry :(