DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

"Conquering Your Jabberwocky"

Interdisciplinary Reading, Grade 6

Mt. Royal Elementary/Middle School, Baltimore MD

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

UNIT PLAN: Conquering Your Jabberwocky

6th grade Reading with Ms. Westray-Wright

Mt. Royal Elementary/Middle School, Baltimore City


UNIT TITLE: Conquering Your Jabberwocky


  • Visual Art 
  • Reading


  • Lesson 1 (Nov 8) Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll
  • Lesson 2 (Nov 9) Jabberwocky, Character Development
  • Lesson 3 (Nov 16) Jabberwocky, Personal Fears
  • Lesson 4 (Nov 18) Jabberwocky, Ink Monsters
  • Lesson 5 (Nov 19) Jabberwocky, Critique


Sixth grade reading class at Mt. Royal Elementary/Middle School, Baltimore City, MD. Class 601, 27 students all African American, about half female and half male. Most are new to the school, have transferred from a different elementary school to middle school. Most have scored passing on the MSA’s but there are some special education students in the class (learning disabilities, not physical). The students are grouped into classes through a tracking system based on their scores on the MSA’s, since this class in number 601 they are the lowest preforming class of sixth graders. 



Students in the sixth grade, ages 11 to 12 years old, are at a developmental stage where their physical, social and cognitive elements are all fighting with each other. Developmentally they are facing the big concerns of identity, power dynamics, transition and metamorphosis, rebellion, and each student is at different level of this development. Socially they are dealing with their social identity, themselves as a individual within the whole, their interior versus their exterior, community, and independence. Students at this stage are “establishing their own identities and becoming individuals” and “friends become even more significant to them” (Smith). Their development is being influenced by popular visual cultural and technology. 

Students artistic development at this stage is one of pseudo-realism stage of reasoning (Lowenfeld) or concrete operational (Piaget). Students focus on realistic approaches, the importance of the art product, develop spatial effects and emotional color use, and begin to implement various techniques to solve problems. Students interpersonal relationships become cooperative and they are de-centered and can perceive other’s viewpoints. Children begin to be grouped as visual or non-visual, and develop a sense of incompetence. They are uncertain, being in a stage between childhood and adulthood. 

Also artistically, students are more comfortable with contour line and surface textures, become more specific and detailed, understand viewpoint and spatial relationships, and are able to make choices about using various materials. (Smith).

I have chosen this art activity because it connects art making with student’s personal fears which gives them a personal connection to the piece and a way to relate to what they are creating. It addresses student’s identity, they are defining themselves by what they are afraid of but at the same time overcoming that fear. By drawing from an ink blot students have a starting point for creating their image, they do not have to create the entire image from their imagination, which developmentally would be difficult at this age, but only parts of it. It also gives them an opportunity to focus on details and specific aspects of their drawing. By limiting the materials being used students are challenged to come up with successful means for representing their ideas with what they are provided with, and they learn how to technically master the materials because they are forced to use them. Through creation of a visual metaphor for a personal fear, student’s art works are connected to their own emotions as well as being connected to the content being covered in the class, the poem Jabberwocky. By reflectively writing about their art works they are reinforcing their ideas as well as coming up with solutions for how to overcome their own fears. 



Mt. Royal is a K-8, inner city urban school, a distinguished title one school, with a 99% African American population and 80% of the students being eligible for free lunch. There are 826 students, with an average class size of 24, there are 35 full-time teachers.

The school has an environment of test preparation and busy work and silent independent learning. The teacher is a guide for what worksheets need to be filled out and what pages need to be read, creative teaching and learning is hard to come by. Art is not a class that all students take, if they do it may only be once in the three years they are there, for a quarter of that year. The school has in place a arts integration program, I have not seen the program at work, and think that even these lessons happen on rare occasions and only a few times a year. The classroom itself is packed with furniture and hard to navigate through. The teacher stands at the front of the room and the students sit at desks arranged in groups of u’s. There is no area of the room for everyone to gather in, they stay at a seat and that is the only place they will be for the entire class. The students are somewhat social, they are in middle school so the social element is developmentally inherent, but seats are always being changed and students rearranged to stop the talking or distractions. 



Through this lesson reading skills are emphasized through the exploration of the poetic form and the understanding of inference of unknown. Students are expanding their knowledge of vocabulary and skills of translating meanings of words. Through structured grammar related worksheets where they are asked to identify parts of speech and discover meaning of unknown words, students are concretely applying their knowledge of reading. Through further exploration of the poem they are expanding that concrete knowledge into the abstract, creating meaning and rewording content to comprehend understanding completely. They also further explore reading content through writing. They are able to transfer the knowledge they have acquired through exploration, to their own personal reflective writing which includes elements taken directly from the literature read. Through invention of their own nonsense words they are further understanding Carroll’s reason’s for including them within his poem, as well as exploring how to use these ideas to express their own personal feeling and experiences in an imaginative manner.

With the use of character development sketching, students are expanding their understanding of meaning into the visual. By representing the characters within the poem in the visual form they are further creating meaning for the poem and the visual learners in the class are beginning to see the poem much clearer. 

Though the translation of the meaning of poem to the personal individual idea of fears and facing obstacles, students are able to further understand the meaning of the poem while exploring their own personal emotions and characteristics. The artistic element of representing this fear translates the students idea into a concrete visual form which serves as a metaphor for that fear. Through representing this fear with the artistic process of ink blot creature drawings, students are able to use imagination and inventiveness as well as not having the pressure of having to draw realistically and accurately. The students are learning that art does not have to be realistic object representations, and that everyone is able to create art. They are learning visual metaphors, extension of mark making, and imaginative and narrative drawing skills. 



Students will develop an understanding and analysis of the poem Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll. They will develop connections between the poem Jabberwocky and their own personal fears as well as how to overcome these fears as the character in the poem did. 



Students will create imagined creatures/monsters from ink blots that are metaphors for personal fears or obstacles that they wish to overcome. They will connect their personal experiences with those from the poem Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll. Student will reflect on their monster and how they can conquer this fear, through writing. 



Grade 6 Reading 

Standard 1.0 General Reading Processes

D. VOCABULARY: Students will use a variety of strategies and opportunities to understand word meaning and to increase vocabulary.

INDICATOR 1. Develop and apply vocabulary through exposure to a variety of texts

a. Acquire new vocabulary through listening to, independently reading, and discussing a variety of literary and informational texts

E. GENERAL READING COMPREHENSION: Students will use a variety of strategies to understand what they read (construct meaning).

INDICATOR 3. Use strategies to make meaning from text (during reading)

b. Use own words to restate the difficult part

h. Visualize what was read for deeper understanding

j. Explain personal connections to the ideas or information in the text

INDICATOR 4. Use strategies to demonstrate understanding of the text (after reading)

c. Identify and explain what is not directly stated in the text by drawing inferences

h. Connect the text to prior knowledge or personal experience

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text: Students will read, comprehend, interpret, analyze, and evaluate literary text.

INDICATOR 4. Analyze elements of poetry to facilitate understanding and interpretation

b. Identify and explain the meaning of words, lines, and stanzas

INDICATOR 7. Analyze the author's purposeful use of language

a. Analyze specific words and phrases that contribute to meaning

c. Identify and explain figurative language that contributes to meaning

Standard 4.0 Writing: Students will compose in a variety of modes by developing content, employing specific forms, and selecting language appropriate for a particular audience and purpose.

INDICATOR 4. Identify how language choices in writing and speaking affect thoughts and feelings

a. Use precise word choice, formal to informal, based on audience, situation, or purpose


Grade 6 Visual Arts

Standard 1.0 Perceiving and Responding: Aesthetic Education: Students will demonstrate the ability to perceive, interpret, and respond to ideas, experiences, and the environment through visual art.

INDICATOR 2. Interpret and communicate the meaning of art works

b. Create narrative artworks from observation, memory, and imagination that show settings and characters

Standard 3.0 Creative Expression and Production: Students will demonstrate the ability to organize knowledge and ideas for expression in the production of art.

INDICATOR 1. Demonstrate how media, processes, and techniques communicate ideas and personal meaning

c. Create visual images or forms from observation, memory, and imagination to convey ideas and personal meaning with attention to 2- and 3-dimensional form, proportion, qualities of surface texture, detail, and spatial relationships

Standard 4.0 Aesthetics and Criticism: Students will demonstrate the ability to make aesthetic judgments.

INDICATOR 1. Analyze selected artworks using established criteria

a. Describe how the elements of art contribute to aesthetic response

INDICATOR 2. Construct and apply different sets of criteria for making judgments about artwork

c. Establish and apply a set of criteria for assessing personal artwork






  • Students will understand how to infer meaning about something unknown
  • Students will understand how to read and gather meaning from a piece of poetry
  • Students will understand what a fear is, and become aware of their own personal fears
  • Students will understand the meaning of a metaphor

Visual Arts

  • Students will understand what character development is and imaginary drawing
  • Students will understand the meaning of visual metaphors
  • Students will understand art can created in a variety of ways



  • Students will be able to translate nonsense words based on inference of meaning
  • Students will be able to connect their personal fears with a visual metaphor
  • Students will be able to descriptively write about the visual they have created
  • Students will be able to creatively write about how they can conquer their fictional character and therefore their personal fear
  • Students will be able to connect their personal fears and their metaphor drawing to the poem Jabberwocky

Visual Art

  • Students will be able to make character sketches from nonsense words.
  • Students will be able to create uncontrollable abstracted ink blots and then be able to transform these ink blots into a imaginary creature or monster
  • Students will visually represent their personal fear through the inclusion of visual cues in the background of their monster drawing
  • Students will create final products that are seen as metaphors for a fear



  • Students will be open to the unknown, and the unexplained
  • Students will produce work to the best of their ability and put effort into what they are asked to do

Visual Art

  • Students will be open to expressing their personal emotions and feelings
  • Students will be creative and imaginative but still make concrete connections
  • Students will be respectful of each other, themselves, and the art making materials and experience


  •  Infer - deduce or conclude (information) from evidence and reasoning rather than from explicit statements
  •  Stanza - a group of lines forming the basic recurring metrical unit in a poem; a verse.
  •  Nonsense - spoken or written words that have no meaning or make no sense
  •  Jabberwocky  - invented or meaningless language; nonsense. ORIGIN early 20th cent.: from the title of a nonsense poem in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass (1871).
  •  Character - a person in a novel, play, or movie
  •  Plot - the main events of a play, novel, movie, or similar work, devised and presented by the writer as an interrelated sequence.
  •  Interpret - explain the meaning of (information, words, or actions)
  •  Translate  - convert or be converted into
  •  Portmanteau -  a word or morpheme whose form and meaning are derived from a blending of two or more distinct forms (as smog from smoke and fog)
  • Character Development - the gradual revelation of information about a character that the audience needs to know in order to understand the character's motivations and intent
  • Sketch - preliminary drawing for later elaboration, a brief description of someone or something giving only basic details
  • Imagination - the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses, to suppose or assume, form a mental image or concept of
  • Suppose - assume that something is the case on the basis of evidence or probability but without proof or certain knowledge
  • Assume - suppose to be the case, without proof
  • Fear - an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat, a feeling of anxiety concerning the outcome of something or the safety and well-being of someone, the likelihood of something unwelcome happening
  • Counterpane, dated - a bedspread
  • Phobia - an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something
  • Anxiety - a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome
  • Metaphor - a thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else



  • Prezi Presentation: prezi.com...
  • www.youtube.com performance of poem The Jabberwocky from the muppet show
  • Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll (Text)
  • The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll (Text, Illustrated by Sir John Tenniel)
  • The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll (Illustrated by Jane Zalben)
  • The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll (Reimagined and Illustrated by Christopher Myers)
  • The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll (Illustrated by Graeme Base, online)
  • The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll (Illustrated by Joel Stewart, online) 
  • The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll (Illustrated by Disney, online) 
  • The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll (A pop-up book Illustrated by Nick Blanton)
  • Life Doesn’t Frighten Me by Maya Angelou with paintings by Jean Micheal Basquiet
  • The Daily Monster Stefan G. Bucher (100 Monsters book and DVD)


  • pencil
  • erasers
  • worksheets (characters, writing)
  • water color paper
  • black ink
  • sharpies, fine and thick
  • straws
  • paint brushes



  • Envisioning Writing: Toward Integration of Drawing and Writing by Janet L. Olsen 
  • Steps of Reading worksheet
  • Stages of Artistic Development Lowenfeld
  • Developmental Stages in Children’s Thinking and Art Lowenfeld and Piaget
  • Nancy Smith
  • Internet (see visuals)


  • Pre-assessment, obtaining prior knowledge of subject matter, the poem Jabberwocky and Alice in Wonderland
  • Word defining worksheet
  • Group work of translating/summarizing poem
  • Class discussion
  • Sketches of character development
  • Contribution in class brainstorm of personal fears/obstacles
  • Ability to answer questions presented to class
  • Participation
  • Answering questions posed to whole class
  • Creation of ink blot drawing
  • Written reflection
  • Combination of writing component ideas with visual metaphoric ideas
  • End Product
  • Contribution to class critique of final pieces, being able to talk about end product 



Strategies used within this unit included:

  • leading questions to discover meaning within reading materials
  • group work to combine opinions and create new ideas
  • imaginative drawing to spark creativity and give abstract ideas or characters some concrete visual form
  • pre-visualization to create images of the characters within the poem
  • using multiple resources to show different points of view
  • connecting material to students lives such as with the illustrated version of the poem represented through basketball, something more relatable then slaying a monster
  • drawing from a uncontrollable starting point, ink blots
  • brainstorming personal fears with the entire class, sharing ideas
  • creating visual metaphors for personal fears
  • reflective writing about visual responses
  • class critique of finished art pieces, through artist sharing information about their piece to the class
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.