Color-Coded Sentence Diagrams

Color-Coded Sentence Diagrams lesson plan

Grammar rules are a lot more fun to learn when bright colors, map-making, and cooperative games are part of the learning experience!

  • 1.

    Dive into Ruth Heller’s parts of speech books. Start with Merry-Go-Round: A Book About Nouns and Kites Sail High, which is about verbs.

  • 2.

    On dry-erase boards, write short, two-word sentences, using only a noun and a verb, with Crayola Dry-Erase Markers. Add a simple word, such as a or the to the beginning of the sentence to make a three-word sentence. Match nouns and verbs to make silly simple sentences, such as The ball bakes or A man skips.

  • 3.

    After exploring Heller's Mine, All Mine: A Book About Pronouns, substitute pronouns such as he, she, it, or they, for nouns. Add more verbs to make new sentences.

  • 4.

    A sentence diagram is like a map. To make a simple diagram, draw a horizontal line. Divide it with a vertical line down the middle. Nouns and pronouns are placed left of the vertical line, verbs on the right. Use your dry-erase markers to diagram your sentences. Color code nouns and verbs, perhaps with black and red.

  • 5.

    Continue to read Ruth Heller books. Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: A Book About Adjectives and Many Luscious Lollipops introduce many fun words used to describe nouns. To add adjectives to a sentence diagram, draw diagonal lines under the noun. Try a green marke

  • 6.

    Learn more about verbs by reading Up, Up and Away: A Book About Adverbs. Use a blue marker to add adverbs written on diagonal lines under the verbs on your sentence diagram. Fill your board with sentences and then erase to try new ones.

  • 7.

    Learn all about prepositions in Behind the Mask. Where would you put a preposition in a sentence diagram? Find out!

  • 8.

    As your diagramming skills improve, work in small groups to diagram more complicated sentences. Take turns passing a dry-erase board around to group members. Each person places a word in the correct position on the diagram.


  • Students read Ruth Heller's books and learn to identify various parts of speech.
  • Students label words according to the parts of speech and use the words to form simple and then more complex sentences.
  • Students analyze sentences and diagram (map) the words according to their parts of speech.


  • Enjoy Heller's Fantastic! Wow! and Unreal! A Book About Interjections and Conjunctions. Discover interjections from long ago and surprise friends with exclamations of "Alas!" "Alack!" or "Egad!" Use bright colors and bold, patterned letters to create an i
  • List your favorite nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in your writing folder. When writing, make your stories extraordinary by adding some of these words. Write a better story by turning an ordinary sentence, such as The dog walked down the street into
  • Assessment: Provide a series of mixed-up sentences for students to first unscramble, then diagram.