Let’s use a classic piece of poetry to enhance a lesson on parts of speech and context clues. This exposes students to a great work and also increases the complexity of a typical task.
Lewis Carrol’s Jabberwocky, available on its Wikipedia page, is packed with nonsense words. Can students determine each made-up word’s part of speech?
Here’s a sample, with nonsense emphasized:
And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!
Using the clues in the rest of the sentence, students can determine that “uffish” must be an adjective, describing the noun “thought.” Naturally, your class must back up their answers with clear explanations.
To further explore this poem, ask students to come up with a definition for each nonsense word. They’ll have to dig into the context surrounding each word.
Finally, students can develop their own stanza featuring brand new nonsense words and challenge you or their peers to decipher the parts of speech and meanings.