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A Poetry lesson to teach the Subordinate Clause


Language Arts  



   Language Arts
Using Poetry to Teach the Subordinate Clause
by Ann Bordelon
Grade Level : 9

Time: one class period

Students will:
1. Identify and use subordinating conjunctions
2. Identify subordinate clauses
3. Correctly punctuate subordinate clauses
4. Write an original eight line poem

Materials and Procedures:

Supply the students with a list of commonly used subordinating conjunctions. This can be a handout, a list written on the board, or the page number on which the list can be located in their text.

Establish the guidelines: It is best to write the guidelines and the example on the board.

1. You must write two stanzas of five lines each. (Teacher note: You may vary the number of stanzas or the stanza length depending on the class level).

2. The first four lines of each stanza must begin with a word from the list of subordinators and cannot be a complete sentence.

3. The last line of the stanza cannot begin with a subordinator and must be a complete sentence.

4. The first word of each line must begin with a capital letter.

5. The first four lines are punctuated with a comma, and the last line is punctuated with a period.

Sentence Order: Subordinator – Subject – Verb


   Whenever I get up,
After  the alarm clock has gone off,
Before the sun comes up,
As I stumble to the shower,
I slowly get ready for my day of school.

When I arrive at school,
As I am talking to my friends,
Before classes begin,
While I do my work,
I long to be back in my cozy bed.

Have the students peer edit each other’s poems to see if the guidelines were followed. Have students write a final copy. Students usually enjoy sharing their poems with the class.


This idea can easily be adapted to other parts of speech. I have successfully used this poem format to teach prepositions and the prepositional phrase. My students love writing these “grammar” poems as they are fondly call them.

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