Diagramming Sentence: Prepositional Phrases

Before you can effectively write using the English language, or even analyze how others use writing effectively, you need to be familiar with the basic parts and components of the English language. Knowing and being able to identify these smaller component of your own language will allow you to write more effectively and assess and improve your own writing as the year progresses.

This week we will be examining how to correctly diagram adjectives and adverbs. Remember, you must pay attention to whether the adjective or adverb describes the verb or subject or direct object of a sentence, or if the adverb is modifying an adjective to determine where you should place it in your diagram.

A prepositional phrase is a group of words that begin with a preposition and end with a noun. The whole phrases functions as either an adjective or adverb.

But what is a preposition? The technical definition is that a preposition is a word that shows the relationship between nouns or pronouns and other elements in the rest of the sentence. The easy definition is that a preposition is anything a worm can do to an apple:


Remember, when a prepositional phrase acts as an adjective, it modifies nouns and pronouns:


When prepositional phrases act as adverbs the modify verbs, adverbs or adjectives:

Remember, when a prepositional phrase acts as an adjective it can modify any noun or pronoun – not just those in the subject. Sometimes they modify the object of another prepositional phrase:

Practice diagramming prepositional phrases with the sentences below:

  1. The exquisite, red flowers in the garden are growing strong.
  2. Has Lucy been reading all night?
  3. The hot air balloon floated above the puffy, white clouds.
  4. Little Jack Horner sat in the corner of the room.
  5. The chocolate chip cookie dough is in the back of the freezer.
  6. The rusty lawnmower with the broken axle sat in my garage.
  7. In May, the vigorous plants in Cathy’s vegetable garden grow very quickly.

8. Which of these is NOT a prepositional phrase?

  • in the journal
  • at the table
  • how are you
  • on the floor

9. True or False: Some prepositions show time and place and others add detail.

10. True or false: As an adverb, a prepositional phrase will answer questions such as How? When? or Where?

11.Most people in Japan follow the traditional customs of their country.  Is this prepositional phrase acting as an adjective or adverb ?

12. The Japanese traditionally bow on certain occasions.  Is this prepositional phrase acting as an adjective or adverb?



11th Grade American Literature Fall 2019

Diagramming Sentences – Adjective and Adverbs

Before you can effectively write using the English language, or even analyze how others use writing effectively, you need to be familiar with the basic parts and components of the English language. Knowing and being able to identify these smaller component of your own language will allow you to write more effectively and assess and improve your own writing as the year progresses.

This week we will be examining how to correctly diagram adjectives and adverbs. Remember, you must pay attention to whether the adjective or adverb describes the verb or subject or direct object of a sentence, or if the adverb is modifying an adjective to determine where you should place it in your diagram.

Please watch the video below if you need an example, or didn’t get the notes from class.

image from english-grammar-revolution.com

You will be diagramming the sentences below as examples:

  1. Two fat birds chirped.
  2. That cute baby has been laughing.
  3. Will my mother sing?
  4. The lovely, scented candle burned brightly.
  5. Very politely, Henry bowed.
  6. The little red bird flew rather gracefully.

    image from english-grammar-revolution.com

  7. Where did that fat cat go?
  8. Who is eating so noisily?
  9. Can my chicken stay here?
  10. Stop rudely slurping that soup!
11th Grade American Literature Fall 2019

Diagramming Sentences – The Basics

Before you can effectively write using the English language, or even analyze how others use writing effectively, you need to be familiar with the basic parts and components of the English language. I know grammar isn’t your favorite subject to study and learn (hey, it isn’t my favorite either), BUT knowing and being able to identify these smaller component of your own language will allow you to write more effectively and assess and improve your own writing as the year progresses.


We’re going to begin by  looking at sentence diagramming. Many of you can list off the parts of speech, but you may not actually know how these parts fit together to create syntactical structures. We’ll begin by looking are very basic, simple sentences. These will contain a Subject, Verb and Direct Object. We’ll then move on to sentences that also contain Adjectives.

Please review the videos below from class, and practice with the sample sentence below.

  1. The flowers grew.
  2. Birds were singing.
  3. The bunnies hopped.
  4. Cally was sleeping peacefully.
  5. Sydney has been hiking.
  6. May I play?
  7. Did Josh eat dinner?
  8. Should we have been reading?
  9. Are they coming?
  10. Can I sing?


11th Grade American Literature Fall 2019

Native American Oral Tradition

SachemThe native people of this land did not pass their stories down through books and letters, but rather through the sharing and memorizing of stories by word-of-mouth, also know as the oral tradition. Native American tribes across the Americas had a rich tradition of storytelling that served to explain the natural world around them, define their relationship with nature, and record and remember their tribal history. Interestingly, it was the role of the women in the tribes to preserve this history, tell these stories, and pass this knowledge down to the next generation of the tribe.

As we begin our study of American Literature, we will start with the traditions of this country’s native people and discuss how their traditions fit into the larger context of global literary traditions, and examine how their literary and oral traditions were affected, changed, and unfortunately in many cases, eradicated by the influx of explorers and settlers.

We will be reading three creation stories –Click here to access the Native American Creation Myths

Additionally, the video below provide an overview of the literary oral tradition of the Native Americans. We will be taking notes over this in class, and you may re-watch the video as many times as needed below:

While watching this video you need to practice the Cornell Note-taking methods we reviewed in class today. If you forgot how to do this, please see the post on how to take these notes.

Click here to access the example notes over Native American Literary Tradition in the Cornell Note style.

Also, remember that we’re not just examining the oral tradition of the Native Americans, but also how their storytelling tradition fits into the larger context of literature. You should hopefully remember your study of archetypes from 9th grade, but in case you have forgotten please visit the link below to view a Prezi I have put together for you to review.

Click here to view the Prezi on Archetypes.

As you review the story, be sure to answer the question: How does ‘The Earth on the Turtle’s Back’ represent the themes of Native American storytelling?

Also, be sure to consider how the settings (Skyland, The Great Tree, Earth as a lush land of plants and animals) and characters (The Great Chief, the pregnant Wife, the Muskrat and all the other animals) are archetypes.

Please click here to access the Cornell Notes we took together over the creation myths ‘The Navajo Legend’ and ‘When Grizzles Stood Upright’. 

In class we reviewed and practiced how to write concise summaries of texts – this is an important skill for discussion, for review and studying and for comprehension.

Please click here to review the handout over writing quality summaries.

We practiced summarizing the creation stories “The Earth on the Turtle’s Back” and “When Grizzlies Walked Upright”, as well as summarizing how the themes of Native American creation stories were present in each of them.


11th Grade American Literature Fall 2019

Pre-Colonial: Native Americans Prior to European Settlement

We’re starting out this semester by looking at the very beginning of American culture – Native American culture.

In class we discussed the stereotypes and preconceptions we have about Native Americans and their culture, as well as our perceptions of the first interactions between explorers and the Native people. You pointed out that it seems, in the stories you’ve read prior, that Natives we either described as helpful and kind (Pochahontas, Squanto, Sacagawea, The First Thanksgiving) or savage and violent (savages, scalping, Sioux warriors). You also discussed how perceptions of the Native people of America are limited to images of teepees, tomahawks, headdresses, buffaloes and buckskins. A part of this course is to read the voices of past Americans and understand how all of these come together to create the great country we live in today. Over the course of the semester we will continually revisit the voice of Native Americans and how they contribute to the melting pot of America.

First, we watched a brief video discussing the rich history of the Native people of America prior to European settlement – a 14,000 year old culture, with lots of diversity, innovations and history.

We then read a brief excerpt from a 1560’s explorer’s journal title ‘De Orbo Novo’. In this journal we examine the author’s use of figurative language and descriptive, and discussed how the purpose was to highlight and celebrate the diversity of skincolors, flora, and fauna in the New World.

Please click here to access your copy of ‘De Orbo Novo’. 

Next, we examined the ancient city of Cahokia – a massive metropolitan Native American city in what is now Missouri. We discussed the difference between primary and secondary and tertiary sources, pointing out that our journal excerpt ‘De Orbo Novo’ would be a primary source document, but the article about Cahokia would be a secondary source document.

Click here to access your article about Cahokia.

In the article over Cahokia, we learn about the complexity of their social systems, class system, architecture, trade and religion. In our class discussion we highlighted ways that life at Cahokia differed from our preconceived ideas, and practices good traits of active listeners and communicators. You also wrote a constructed response to the questions associated with the article, practicing citing textual evidence.

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2019

Welcome to American Literature

Over the course of this semester we will explore the America’s literary history through fiction, poetry, speeches, legal documents and other primary source manuscripts from various periods, locations and times.

I look forward to our journey through American Literature together!

Click here to access your syllabus

You also need to make sure to sign up for our Remind 101, as well as our Google Classroom! 🙂


11th Grade American Literature Fall 2019

Conducting A Visual Analysis of Rhetoric

We come across many images on a daily basis, but we rarely stop to think about what those images mean or about how they persuade us. Yet, images have power, which is why we need to understand how to analyze them. When you’re analyzing an image to understand the message it portrays, this is called visual rhetoric. Visual rhetoric is a means of communication that uses images to create meaning or to make an argument.

The first thing to consider when breaking down, or analyzing, an image is the rhetorical situation: the audience, context, and purpose. Each of these elements is essential in order to understand the message an image portrays. It is important to remember that you can analyze all different types of images, including advertisements, Public Service Announcements (PSAs), websites, paintings, photographs, and more. Here, we will look at an advertisement:


The audience consists of who is being targeted by the author, designer, or creator. In the above image, it appears that the audience is men. How do we know this? Not only is the person running in the background a man, but the color of the watch and the size of the watch face indicate that the watch is likely a man’s watch. Of course, women could indirectly be an audience, too, since they might want to buy this watch for someone or wear it themselves. In addition, the audience might be male athletes or outdoor enthusiasts. If you pay close attention to the watch features, it includes North, South, East, and West orientations; it is digital with various modes that likely include a stopwatch, and it has a light for when it is dark. All of these features are likely to appeal to outdoors types, athletes, or both.


The context includes any background information that will help you understand and analyze an image. In the above image, the most important context is that the watch is a Pro Trek watch. If you did some research, you would find out that Pro Trek watches are part of Casio, an electronics manufacturing company. Knowing that Casio is an electronics company, we might assume that they value functionality over aesthetics; therefore, this might be the reason why the above watch is not very decorative or complex, but is still the focal point of the image. This is because Casio wants to feature the watch’s functionality.


Purpose refers to the overall goal for creating an image. With advertisements, that goal is fairly easy to understand. Advertisements are almost always made to sell items.

There are many other strategies to consider when breaking down an image. It’s always important to consider the rhetorical situation first, since that will help you interpret the purpose of the other strategies the designer uses. Then, you can begin to interpret the other persuasive techniques that influence the overall message of the image, including the tone, arrangement, text, typography, and color.


In literature, tone refers to the author’s attitude toward the subject. So, with regard to images, tone can also refer to the photographer/artist’s/designer’s perspective on the issue.


Arrangement refers to the placement of images, graphics, and text in an image. There are two key elements of arrangement—location and scale. Location refers to where a text or image is placed, whereas scale refers to the relative size of the visual components.


Typically, our eyes scan an image, text, and/or webpage from left to right and from top to bottom. The designer of this advertisement has placed the Jello logo and the image of the product to the right side of the page. If the designer wanted our eyes to go to the logo first, he or she probably should have placed the logo at the top left corner so our eyes would catch that logo first. However, because the size of the watch is so large, it is obvious that the focus is the watch. This brings us to the term scale.


As discussed in class, image of the ice cream cone is much smaller in scale than the cup of pudding. Thus, the scale of the ice cream (its size in relation to everything else on the page), indicates that the designer wants to viewer to focus on the pudding, ensuring that viewers understands what this product being sold is, and how much better a cup of pudding for 60 calories is compared to a tiny bit of ice cream.



Text is another important element to analyze, assuming an image includes text. If it does, the text is obviously there for a purpose. Now, the only text on this advertisement is the company logo and the name of the dog food. This is obviously there for the purpose of showing viewers what type of dog food it is so they can find it online or in a store. However, it is possible that this image could have been more effective if it included a catch phrase like those we often see in print ads or in commercials (think of Skittles’ “Taste the Rainbow” or Subway’s “Eat Fresh” slogans). If you see an image with text, consider the connotations of the words, the possible underlying assumptions of the phrase, and the effect the words are meant to have on the audience.


Typography refers to the font size and font type choices that are made in a visual composition.

Font Size

Notice that the font size of ‘Jardiland’ is actually smaller than the ‘Light’ under it, indicated its a low fat dog food! This seems to actually reduce the importance of the company as compared to the importance of the benefits of this dog food for your pets. Do you think this is an effective visual strategy to persuade the audience?


Color choices can really affect your audience, too. Colors can have different meanings (connotations) that implicitly portray a message. Colors can also enhance or detract from an image’s readability depending on the level of contrast used.


Notice that this advertisement has yellow hues in the background. The orange/yellow hues from the background tie in nicely with this complimentary color of blue under the Pedigree logo. The color pops and gets your attention, and contrasts with the image of the dog in the foreground.


You also should think about practical concerns with color, such as whether or not the text color is contrasted well enough with the background so that it is readable.

In class we will also be analyzing a series of commercials,  – you will be tracking how these ads use rhetorical appeals, and determine if they effectively appeal to their audience. Additionally, you will form an argument on whether you believe the use of rhetoric in their advertisements has improved over time, and why.

Two of the ads we watched together focus on how a company can use music and an upbeat tone to sell their product, or how they can use diversity to appeal to a broad audience.

Apple iPhone 5s – 2014

Apple iPad Air – 2014


We also looked at how companies can use commercials that surprise us – either to shock us into action, or to rebrand their products in a new light.

The Sandy Hook Promise organization filmed their PSA to look like a real news report – this shocking irony got our attention and made the audience focus on the issue of gun violence.











Opening up on a dalmatian, and focusing on a beautiful and unpolluted landscape with wind-turbines, the Superbowl ad put out by Buswieser this year focused on re branding their company as environmentally friendly.







I would like you to analyze the visual rhetoric being used in the ads provided to you in class (color versions are posted below). Post a detailed analysis of the rhetorical devices being used in the advertisement and whether or not you think it uses these to effectively or ineffectively achieve its purpose in the comments below. You analysis should cover all the elements discuss in this post for visual rhetoric, as well as the elements of SOAPSTone, and should be at minimum of one 6 sentences – though a well done analysis may be longer.

10th Grade Literature Spring 2019