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Basic Grammar Review Using “Jabberwocky” Lesson Plan

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Lesson Plan #:AELP-WCP0004
Author: Monica R. Greene
School or Affiliation: Antioch Hilltop Christian School, Antioch, CA
Endorsed by: These lesson plans are the result of the work of the teachers who have attended the Columbia Education Center’s Summer Workshop. CEC is a consortium of teacher from 14 western states dedicated to improving the quality of education in the rural, western, United States, and particularly the quality of math and science Education. CEC uses Big Sky Telegraph as the hub of their telecommunications network that allows the participating teachers to stay in contact with their trainers and peers that they have met at the Workshops. Date: May 1994

Grade Level(s): 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12


  • Language Arts/Writing (composition)

Overview: Most students do not like to be taught grammar in the upper grades. If they did not grasp the basics in lower and middle elementary, it becomes more difficult as they move into the upper grades.

Purpose: The purpose of this activity, used at the beginning of the year is to help students identify where they are weak in their grammar skills (in a fun fashion). From there, the teacher can choose to emphasize the various areas of grammar that need to be strengthened.

Objectives: As a result of this activity, the student will:

  • Summarize the action of the poem.
  • Identify and label the various parts of speech found in the lines of the poem.
  • Rewrite the poem using standard dialect words to replace nonsense words. This activity works best of the poem is taught prior to the grammar breakdown. It does not have to be in-depth, unless the teacher chooses to do so.
  • Resources/Materials Needed:

    Students’ copies of the poem Jabberwocky, writing utensils, textbooks if review of parts of speech is necessary.


  • Introduce the concept of grammar (parts of speech) as important to individual writing procedure. Explain that it is essential for students to review these concepts at the beginning of each school year in order to progress to the next level of learning. Tell students that they are going to review parts of speech in a unique fashion.
  • Distribute copies of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky to each student. Read the poem aloud for students. Ask the students to summarize the action of the poem orally. Discuss several of the nonsense words, in context, as examples. Tell students that they are going to label each word with the appropriate part of speech (review the parts of speech of you need to). The labeling can be done individually, or in cooperative learning groups. Upper level students can be asked to identify clauses, prepositional phrases, etc.
  • Teacher collects the poems and redistributes them the next day for general discussion of labeling. Students are then assigned the task of rewriting the poem with standard words, being as creative as they choose. This can also be done individually or in groups.
  • Tying It All Together:

  • Return the poems ungraded. Students will correct.
  • Grade the rewritten poems. This will give the teacher an opportunity to evaluate the students ability.
  • Have student volunteers read their poems orally, then put them on a bulletin board.
  • Use this activity as a review for your first unit in writing.