Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 3-12, students explore BrainPOP features and resources to learn about misplaced modifiers, including dangling and squinting modifiers. Using what they learn, students will create misplaced modifier cartoons. Then they will exchange cartoons with a partner, and identify the intended and unintended meanings.



Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Identify the intended and unintended meaning of a sentence with a misplaced modifier.
  2. Use the Make-a-Map tool to identify and correct misplaced modifiers.
  3. Create a cartoon that includes a misplaced modifier.
  4. Identify the intended and unintended meaning of a classmate’s cartoon.


  • Internet access for BrainPOP
  • Paper, markers, etc for creating a cartoon


modify, adjective, adverb, preposition, prepositional phrase, modifying phrase, dangling modifier, squinting modifier


  • Preview the movie Misplaced Modifiers to plan for any adaptations.
  • For students who may need support, write examples of misplaced modifiers on separate index cards. They can be from the movie or ones you’ve made up. Here are some examples:

    Moby rode his bike wearing a helmet.

    Tim was walking a dog in shorts.

    The children saw wild animals on a field trip to the zoo.

    While camping out, Moby saw a bear in his pajamas.

    Sitting on the front porch, the sunset looked beautiful.

    Hopping through the woods, Moby saw a bunny.

    Tim can only ride a bike if he wears his helmet.

  • Lesson Procedure:

    1. Write the following sentence on the board as you read it aloud: Topped with hot fudge, Moby enjoyed the ice cream sundae. Ask students to consider what the sentence literally says versus what it’s supposed to mean. If they’re confused have them read it again, slowly to themselves. Then invite a volunteer to share the unintended meaning (Moby with hot fudge on his head is eating an ice cream sundae) and another to share the intended meaning (Moby eating a sundae with hot fudge on it).  Explain that the phrase “topped with hot fudge” modifies or describes the ice cream sundae, not Moby. To correct the sentence, explain to the class that the modifier needs to be closer to what it’s describing.  Ask a volunteer to come to the board and correct the sentence: Moby enjoyed the ice cream sundae topped with hot fudge.
    2. Show the movie Misplaced Modifiers on the whiteboard to the whole class to watch once through without pausing.
    3. Then have pairs or small groups open the Make-a-Map feature from within the movie. As they watch, instruct them to create a chart, such as a t-chart, in the Make-a-Map canvas. As Tim presents sentences with misplaced modifiers, have students pause the movie and write the incorrect sentence in the left column of their t-chart. Then before continuing the movie, have them try and correct the modifier so the sentence read as it is intended. Now have them play the movie confirm if they were correct.
    4. Display the Misplaced Modifiers comic on the whiteboard. Ask students what makes the comic funny. Then ask what the real intention of the sentence is and have them correct it.  
    5. Now have students independently create their own comics of an expression they create that has a misplaced modifier. For students who need support, distribute index cards with prepared misplaced modifier expressions (see Preparation above) and have them create a comic of that misplaced modifier.
    6. Next have partners swap their comics. Challenge them to identify the unintended and intended meaning of their partner’s comic.
    7. Put the comics together to create a Misplaced Modifiers Comic Book.

    Extension Activities:

    For extra practice, have students complete the Misplaced Modifiers Worksheet and Graphic Organizer. If you have limited access to computers or other devices, you may distribute these activities for students to complete offline.