Building Blocks of
By Amy Nicholson
The central elements of subjects and
predicates are nouns (people, places,
and things) and verbs (action words).
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not de- part from it” (Proverbs 22: 6).
We learn grammar as we learn to speak, so why teach it? To learn the rules. That
so-called sentence illustrates the
point. “To learn the rules” is not a
complete sentence. It lacks both a
subject and a verb. You may understand my thought by reading it as an
answer to the question that preceded it, but on its own it does not
express a complete thought. A sentence, by definition, utilizes a subject
and a predicate to express a complete
thought. I broke a rule of grammar.
It is important to familiarize our
students with grammar rules, so that
they can learn to communicate their
thoughts to others effectively. We begin with the basics.
The basic parts of a sentence are
subjects, which tell who or what the
sentence is about, and predicates,
which tell what the subject did or is
doing. The central elements of subjects and predicates are nouns (
people, places, and things) and verbs
(action words). Nouns and verbs are
two of the eight parts of speech. The
other six are pronouns, adjectives,
adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions,
1 If we are required
to teach something our students already inherently know, let’s make it
enjoyable for both parties.
Music can be an effective teaching
tool. I learned the parts of speech that
way. As a child, I would sing “
Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?” along with SchoolHouse Rock
( www.schoolhouserock.tv) on Saturday mornings. Unfortunately, it’s not
aired any more, but the DVDs can
still be purchased. When I teach my
children the parts of speech, I often
refer to these videos. The catchy tunes
are among the more useful things ingrained in my psyche, and I’m hoping
my children will also learn the songs
and refer to them.