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Lesson Plan

Polishing Preposition Skills through Poetry and Publication

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Polishing Preposition Skills through Poetry and Publication

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Sharon Roth

Sharon Roth

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Through the text Behind the Mask, students have the opportunity to deepen and refine their understanding of prepositions, including some of the more confusing standard usage guidelines, while enjoying the vivid pictures of Ruth Heller. After reading Behind the Mask, students discuss the book, focusing on the use of prepositions in the text. Taking those experiences as a reader, students continue to engage with the prepositions by composing prepositional poems, modeled on the text of Behind the Mask. To conclude the project, students create study guides that demonstrate their more advanced understanding of prepositions.

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Multigenre Mapper: Students can use this online tool to create multigenre, multimodal texts, including three types of writing and a drawing, in response to the Gettysburg Address.

Flip Book: This online tool is designed to allow users to type and illustrate tabbed flip books up to ten pages long.

Prepositions handout: This handout includes a handy list of prepositions.

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"Grammar worksheets and grammar textbooks have their place and their purposes, but their limitations are serious," cautions Brock Haussamen in his chapter "Discovering Grammar" from Grammar Alive! A Guide for Teachers (16). As an alternative, he suggests that "we should teach grammar from authentic texts as much as possible. You can use the literature students are reading . . . to demonstrate any grammar lesson. You can also use the students' own writing to illustrate points of grammar-to illustrate not just errors but effective grammar as well" (17).

Constance Weaver similarly advocates for learning grammatical structures and sentence patterns by imitating quality literature in Teaching Grammar in Context (189). While her argument applies to all grade levels, she notes that "by the middle school level . . . many students should benefit from imitating literary sentences that feature [more advanced] constructions" such as the special standards for preposition use in the book featured in this lesson, Behind the Mask.

Further Reading

Haussamen, Brock, et al. 2003. Grammar Alive! A Guide for Teachers. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

Read more about this resource


Weaver, Constance. 1996. Teaching Grammar in Context. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

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