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"I read it but I don't get it". I want to eliminate that from my students' vocabulary. I want this unit to equip my students with strategies, skills and knowledge that they can apply across all content areas. I want my students to read challenging texts and be able to discuss, question, think, and infer what is happening in them. I also want them to understand why the development of interpretive skill is important for them, and this unit is meant to help them reach that understanding.
Teaching predominantly eighth grade boys with behavioral and emotional disabilities, I have had trouble getting them to focus on what they read. Reading disabilities prevent some from answering basic comprehension questions. In addition to inconsistently answering basic questions they struggle answering first order interpretive questions that require more thought. Therefore the goal for this unit is to immerse my students in poems with themes (mainly sonnets) that will serve as a basis for practicing "pre-reading," "during," and "after" reading strategies, enabling them to read challenging poems and craft thoughtful responses. I also want to use this unit to encourage my students to benefit from the wisdom of literature in their own lives. At times, I think the students are not applying themselves, but I may not be helping them make the appropriate connections to support them while they read. With this in mind, I will be sure that students have in advance any information that is necessary to approach the poems.
I teach in Charlotte, NC, which is the second largest county in the state and the twenty-fifth largest school district in the United States. My school district has over 180 schools. I teach in one of two separate schools that are exclusively for students with Exceptional Needs. My school serves for children primarily with Behavioral and Emotional Disabilities in grades kindergarten through twelfth. 95% of the students receive free and reduced lunch, and the entire school population is ensured a free appropriate public education based on individualized education plans. Although the primary disability among them is Behavioral and Emotional Disabled, we provide services as well to students with Autism, Other Health Impaired and Intellectual Disabilities. The racial breakdown for the students served is 72% African American, 23% Caucasian, 2% Hispanic and 3% other.
Although a poem is not as visually intimidating as a long novel or essay, it is challenging to be able to interpret the compressed meaning conveyed in its few lines. Somehow poets are able to pick minimal words and phrases that convey a richer range of meaning than prose normally does. Sometimes the meaning is hidden in such a way that you are unable to grasp it after one read. Czelaw Miloscz, a Nobel Prize winner, says "Poetry opens our life to invisible guests." Those guests are the gamut of emotions and unexpected thoughts that poetry is able to evoke. According to Georgia Heard, there are three levels at which we read poetry 1. For the first level teachers should use poems that spark the interest of the students. The second level should help students make personal connections to the poem. The third level involves analysis of the poem. Heard also says poetry is a way to hold hands with strangers that have more in common with you than you think. That makes students feel as though they are not alone. That statement is helpful because students find poets remote and inaccessible. With this unit, I want to give them background information about the poet, context clues about the poem to help them scaffold, and a photograph of the poet so they can see that the poet is a human being like them.
History of the Sonnet
Around 1200, sonnets appeared as expressions of romantic love in Italian courtyards 2. Petrarch made the 14 lines popular with Canzoniere, a sequence of 366 poems dedicated to his beloved, Laura. Because the sonnet is short, it obliges poets to use condensed expressions. Petrarch influenced Shakespeare's English sonnet. Both the Italian and English sonnet usually have a shift in tone, stance and view point. During the early Renaissance the sonnet was used as an expression of love to court an elusive woman. Then during the late Renaissance the sonnet turned for the most part to religious, philosophical and political themes. Recent sonnets are rarely written using strict traditional rhyme schemes and iambic pentameter. The unique structure of the Italian sonnet in particular allows the poet to develop a viewpoint in the first eight lines and then shift to a different position for the remaining six lines of the poem.
Most sonnets are 14 lines long and contain a variety of rhyme schemes. There are two types of sonnets, the Italian(or Petrarchan) and the English (or Shakespearean). The Italian sonnet contains an octave (8 lines) and a sestet (6 lines). The octave rhyming pattern is typically abbaabba and it contains a narrative, poses a question or presents a proposition. The sestet is identified by cdecde, cdcdcd, or cdedce makes a conceptual comment, applies the proposition and solves the problem. The sudden change of mood in the sonnet, when it occurs, is called a volta.
The Shakespearean sonnet has three quatrains with its own individual rhyme scheme of abab, cdcd, efef, gg. It was practiced predominantly by William Shakespeare. His sonnets usually end with a couplet—two consecutive lines that rhyme at the end of the poem. Quatrains by the way are stanzas with four lines.
My wish to steer clear of the sonnet reveals in itself the reason why I should be teaching it. Sonnets contain powerful words with nuances of meaning. The exploration of unanswerable question about love, war, mortality, suffering, change and adversity touches on all the topics adolescents at times struggle with and love to discuss.
Even though they are challenging to read, I think we will start first by identifying the different types of sonnets. Then we will begin to use pre-reading strategies, during reading strategies and after reading strategies to help us read and simultaneously organize our thoughts. While we are doing this we will identify figurative language. Simile, metaphor, alliteration, hyperbole, personification, paradox, symbol, assonance, onomatopoeia, apostrophe, imagery, metonymy, and understatement are a few examples of figurative language that my students will identify while reading the poems. Simile is a comparison using like or as but a metaphor is a comparison that doesn't use those words. Alliteration is a sequence of words that mainly begin with the same sound. A hyperbole is exaggeration. Whereas an understatement makes something that's big deal seem minor. Personification gives animals or objects human characteristics. A paradox is a statement that seems to contradict itself. A symbol is something that stands for something else. Assonance is a repetition of vowel sounds to create internal rhyme. Onomatopoeia is a word that imitates the sound it is describing. Apostrophe is a figure of speech that talks to the dead or an absent person or object. Imagery is a description of something that conveys an image, sound, taste, smell or feeling to the reader. Metonymy is a figure of speech that replaces the literal thing with a more vivid closely related thing or idea.
Poets and Poetry
The poets chosen have written poems about either love and or politics. While reading the poems you will notice how interchangeable the topic of love and politics is. It is an interesting combination for 8 th grade in North Carolina because we study American History.
Emma Lazarus's "The New Colossus" written in 1883 contains lines that reflect her feelings as a fairly recent immigrant to the United States with her family, trying to escape Russian persecution. She reluctantly wrote the poem to raise money for the pedestal's construction. In 1903 the last four lines of her poem was engraved on a bronze plaque. At that time the Statue of Liberty was not meant to be a symbol of immigration but it was quickly transformed into one. Her poem held out hope for outcasts and the down trodden of the world. The poem contains imagery and symbolism about the message of freedom from the Statue of Liberty. The first line includes a simile by comparing the Statue of Liberty to the Colossus of Rhodes one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Lines 1-9 talk about the country looking at the statue whereas the statue of liberty is personified because she is speaking directly to the immigrants in lines 9-14 3.
Claude McKay, Jamaican-born, wrote during the Harlem Renaissance. Since he wasn't an American he was stunned by the racism in the south and inspired to write about it. He wrote about segregated public facilities. He was a proponent of full liberties and racial solidarity. These feelings motivated him to write "If We Must Die." It is a Shakespearean sonnet written in iambic pentameter and contains three quatrains with a couplet at the end. This poem was written about the race riots all over America in 1919. McKay's sonnet called "America", was written in a more ambivalent frame of mind, expressing grudging admiration for the vast energies of the oppressor that are reflected in the landscape. Throughout the poem America is personified as a woman. This is also a Shakespearean sonnet written in iambic pentameter and contains three quatrains with a couplet at the end.
"The Sonnet-Ballad" was written by Gwendolyn Brooks. This poem describes how a woman feels when her love goes to war. This Shakespearean sonnet has three quatrains and a closing couplet: the rhyme scheme is abab, bcbc, dede, ff. In the first quatrain the woman is expressing her feelings about her love going to war. She is prematurely mourning his loss as if he were dead already. She starts questioning the meaning of life and the purpose of a heart without him. In the second quatrain she clearly states he will never come home and she alludes to him being unfaithful. Finally in the third quatrain she repeats the phrase about his unfaithfulness but realizes it is with the war and not another woman. Personification is used in the poem, and the last line is symbolic because it treats death as a lover. The poem reflects on what happens to women when they are left behind in war time 4.
"Oh Captain, My Captain" is a metaphor-rich poem about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The sing-song meter and rhyme that Whitman used in the poem has never been replicated in any of his other poems. The metaphor of comparing a ship to a national state was used by Wadsworth Longfellow before the Civil War. The broken ship represents America and the fearful trip refers to the American Civil War. The titular "captain," refers to Lincoln's leadership. The poet refers to the Captain as a father, symbolizing the respect he has for him. Although he ensured, that the ship land safely, he himself did not. This sonnet has the feel of an ode. The expression "fallen cold and dead" is repeated three times as if in disbelief.
William Butler Yeats
Although the content in the poem "Leda and the Swan" is for a mature audience I know my students will connect with the poem because the news, movies, video games, and music they listen to contains similar information. The sonnet is a Petrarchan sonnet with a separation between the first 8 (octave) lines and final 6 (sestet). The iambic pentameter of the poem is abab, cdcd, efg, efg. The poem refers to the Trojan War. Zeus fell in love with a mortal Leda the Trojan Queen and raped her while taking on the form of a swan to protect his identity. She became pregnant and gave birth to Helen of Troy who was part goddess and part mortal, which in Yeats's view explains the exquisite beauty that eventually led to the destruction of one civilization and chaos and unhappiness in the other. The violence within the poem mirrors the destruction of Troy, which was thought in Yeats's time to end the Mythological Era and mark the birth of Modern history.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Sonnet 43, "How do I love thee, let me count the ways" has the Petrachan rhyme scheme. She emphasizes the vastness of her love by using the words breadth for width, height and depth for deep, and how far up for height. She continues to say that even if she can't see her love her soul can. She uses a metaphor to compare her love to the love from God. The poem even talks about how love is a basic need similar to food, water, clothing and shelter. Then the poem seems to contradict itself by saying that although love is a basic need it is also a choice and no one is forcing it on anyone. The poet also compares love to childhood innocence and says that it can withstand every emotion beyond eternity. She also mixes her love with her Christian faith. Her love for her husband was so deep that it was necessary for her to merge her love for her husband with her eternal relationship with God.
William Shakespeare is the world's most famous writer. Several familiar words (successful, fashionable, mimic etc.) and phrases (at one fell swoop) first appeared in his plays. Some writers have even turned his work in to famous plays Disney turned Hamlet into The Lion King. His plays and poems engage our hearts and our minds, exploring our most complex emotions and our most fundamental ideals, our fondest hopes and our most disturbing dreams. 5 He wrote for actors to perform his plays never knowing his work would be published, read and performed decades later.
Sonnet 18 is one of his best known and best loved poems 6. It refers to immortal love as a friend and as a gift bestowed by poetry. He also talks about how physical beauty doesn't last but is in the eye of the beholder. He also uses a metaphor to compare his love to a day in summer.
William Carlos Williams
It is hard to decide why Williams wrote the poem "This is just to say". To the reader it appears to be a note innocently left on the ice box but the innuendo behind the lines makes one wonder why he describes how the plums tasted so vividly. Additionally, the first line in the third quatrain is "Forgive me". But when one reads it in a poem it reads more like a command than an apology. He was a doctor so he could have been up early and did not have time to prepare anything else—which is why he probably took the plums. This poem makes one speculate about the relationship between the poet and his wife. Had they previously had an argument and the line "Forgive me" is also for something else that has occurred between the couple? Although there is not any specific rhyme scheme, "th" is repeated in lines 2, 3, and 4. Then the consonance of "f" is repeated in lines 8 and 9. Finally the consonant "s" is repeated in lines 11 and 12, and all these repetitions confer a kind of rhyme pattern on the free verse.
In "Those Winter Sundays," Robert Hayden acknowledges how his father provided for him during childhood. He mentions the pain in his dad's cracked hands that ached from the manual labor of his job but didn't prohibit him from taking care of the family. Even though his dad made sure the house was warm he still gingerly avoided thanking him, weary of the angry atmosphere either between his parents or between his neighbors or between his neighbors and his parents. Hayden had an emotionally tumultuous childhood and was moved back and forth between neighbors and parents. He was also impaired visually, which made it difficult to participate in sports. As a result he spent most of his time reading. Although the sonnet does not rhyme, it creates a rhyming relationship that had not existed with his father until now. It dispels his doubt about whether his father loved him—which he only realized when he became an adult and father himself.
The background information about the poems and poets will be used to help activate prior knowledge. Heard says "Kids need to know what poetry looks like and see how a poet uses the white spaces on the page to create rhyme, rhythm, emphasis, de-emphasis, shape, flow, pauses and stops" 7. When the teacher models lessons for the poems we should ensure the students have individual copies so they can observe the aforementioned concepts. She also talks about how she shares with the students the problems she had with the reading so she had to read it multiple times. When we read in class we are going to use a color coding system so students notice how their knowledge grows after they have read the text more than one time. Which tends to be a problem for some students because, they think that after one reading they will be able to complete all activities and assignments for the text. They fail to realize that even the most proficient readers read text multiple times in an effort to comprehend the message. So yes, students have read the text using their eyes to look at the words but that doesn't always mean they comprehended the text.
When we chose poems for the students we need to tell them why we picked the poem. Let students point out things they noticed about the poems and simultaneously making a list that we can add to throughout the school year. To hook the students into reading poems we should ask questions to help relate to their experience. For example, Who remembers…? Who has ever….? Who has seen…? Who has read…? Who wonders about….? I should share how I relate to the experience and most importantly provide background information about a person, place, event, painting, historical period, novel, or myth alluded in the poem. Then we should start a discussion about the poets' life, pictures, and other works of literature. Although some literary teachers abandon the line by line analysis I would like to invite my students to walk inside the text instead with the hopes of getting creative responses.
Before my students can write poetry I want them to learn how to read and understand poetry for what it does. It helps express feelings and emotions that other genres can't. It phrases things that are difficult. It changes the way we look, listen, talk, and touch one another's lives. It changes every time you read it. In an effort to ensure my students read the poems and don't just look at the words I am going to teach my students how to use metacognitive strategies. My students will be able to use these strategies not only for this unit but they will be able to duplicate them across all areas of content.
Metacognitive strategies are when you listen to the voice in your mind that speaks while you read. When I was a child I grew up reading so I worked on that skill for a long time. Meanwhile a lot of my students don't practice reading when they go home they read for a class assignment and that's it they don't practice how to monitor for meaning. They know when they don't know but they don't know what to do about it. Additionally they know how to make surface connections to poems but they do not know how to make connections to work they have never been exposed to. That is where I have help build a bridge to help them make the connections by frontloading information. Once the information is frontloaded they should be able to ask higher order thinking questions before, during and after reading to gain more insight about the text. While we are reading we need to determine what is and is not important information. Often children retain information solely for multiple choice test purposes. During this unit we will assess knowledge in a variety of different ways. Some knowledge will be gained from making inferences. My students have trouble making inferences because they haven't successfully practiced pre reading strategies. Another strategy we will use is imagery. At times I will ask the students to close their eyes and ask them to listen to the words and share what they see. So after students monitor what they have read we will make connections, ask questions, determine importance, use images we will evaluate everything by combining the text and sources. I want to improve my practice of the comprehension for the students I want the instruction to target/focus on thinking that happens before, during and after reading.
I realize it is ambitious to think that teaching a 35 day poetry unit will solve students reading weaknesses. However the poems were chosen because the topics will be interesting to students. Picking text of interest will hopefully spark their curiosity about the different topics to intrinsically encourage them to read independently and use the selected strategies across the content. This unit is intended for middle school language arts and special education classes.
Before Reading Strategies
Anticipation Guide 8
Anticipation guide helps teach the kids to anticipate what the text is going to be about. It is a set of teacher generated generalizations related to the theme of the poem (Appendix 1). The statements should be something students have to think about their belief before they answer. Students activate prior knowledge by deciding if they agree or disagree. This strategy gives students the chance to interact with the poem prior to the initial read. Then students can discuss their initial responses. After the discussion students should read the poem. While they read they should make notes about the issues related to the anticipation guide. After they read students should refer back to the guide to see how their responses have changed.
Probable Passage 9
This strategy is a different way of making a prediction. You will pick about ten words out the poem for students to place in different categories. The categories are characters, setting, problem, outcomes and unknown words. After students place the words in either category they make put the words together in a gist statement. Doing this forces students to think about the words in the categories prior to reading the poem. Which gives them an insight on what the poem may or may not be about but now they are intrigued to read the poem to see how accurate their prediction was.
Tea Party 1 0
This strategy gives students an opportunity to consider parts of the text before they read it. Essentially they will predict what part of the text is going to entail by actively engaging with their peers. Teacher will place quotes from the text on index cards. Students will move around the room discussing what is on their card and explaining how they think the text on their card relates to the text that is on their peers' card. Then students will be placed into groups to discuss what they think will happen in the text. Students will be asked to record their predictions by making we think statements. Each group will share their "we think" statements to the class and tell the class how they reached their prediction. Then they will read the selection and confirm or alter their group prediction.
During Reading Strategies
Say Something 1 1
This strategy helps students focus on what they are reading by interrupting them and giving them the opportunity to think about what he or she just read. Getting into groups of 4 students will alternate reading stanzas and pause occasionally to Say Something. They will Say Something by making a prediction, asking a question, clarifying something that was misunderstood, making a comment, or making a connection. If students are unable to do 1 out of the 5 they need to reread the text. If students need help Saying Something they can use stem starters (Appendix 2).
Rereading 1 2
Often times struggling readers read a text once and think they do not have to reread the text. They think they observe other students reading the text once but proficient readers reread text often. Especially since rereading does not look any different from reading something the first time. Proficient readers often pause, reread a portion, mirror and continue slowly. After students have been given a poem they will be asked to read it 3 times. Each time they will be asked to rank their level of understanding. Teacher will model what it looks like to reread. Together students and teacher will make a list of when it is important to reread a text.
Think Aloud 1 3
When I model think alouds for my students I am showing them what I am thinking while I read. This strategy helps readers comprehend what they are reading while they are reading. When students practice this aloud it helps the teacher understand why the student may or may not understand something. Using this strategy, Kylene Beers suggests we use the same strategies in Say Something. Make a prediction, visualize a picture, compare the text to something, monitor your reading for comprehension, repair comprehension if you don't understand something, connect to what you do not know and question what you still wonder about 1 4. Doing this aloud either with the teacher, individually or with a partner will help students monitor comprehension.
After reading strategies
It Says I Say 1 5
This strategy helps students organize their thoughts with what is in the text. Students will use a two column graphic organizer. In the first column they will quote a line from the text. Then in the second column they will explain their interpretation of the line means to them (Appendix 3).
Graphic organizers are used for students to organize new information. They can use graphic organizers to help understand material presented. They can be used in all phases of learning from brainstorming ideas to ordering new findings. This strategy is known to help the brain recall information better when personal creativity is involved. KWL and Venn diagram are examples of graphic organizers used during this unit.
Ralph Fletcher states a daybook is your personal space to write badly 1 6. My students use daybooks as their safe space to record thoughts, feelings, highlights, low lights, newly learned concepts, notes from the board, formulation of plans for potential writing pieces, handouts from class etc.
Turn and Talk
Students will turn and talk to one another throughout various activities within the unit. The feedback from a peer is essential for students to be comfortable with one another. Their feedback is imperative for the thinking and writing process. Peers have just as much impact on each other's growth as the teacher does. So it is important that they are comfortable receiving peer feedback. Additionally, peer feedback gives them the opportunity to learn how to take and use constructive criticism.
Politics Day 1-3
I will ask my students to close their eyes and picture their favorite meal, snack, or dessert. Now I want you to write about it down in your day book. I want you to think about how you would feel if you came home after a long day at school and you were looking forward to eating the left over from your favorite meal, snack or dessert. But when you went in the kitchen to look for it you noticed it was gone. Now write about how you would feel in your daybook for a couple minutes. Turn and talk with a partner about your experience.
We are going to look at a poem by William Carlos Williams about a similar experience you just wrote about. Students will be given a copy of the poem "This is Just to Say" and asked to read it to themselves. Teacher will call on two different students so the class can hear the voice of the poem read aloud differently. After the poem is read students will turn and talk with a different partner about their reaction to William's poem. Students will ask themselves how imagery is used in the poem. Now we will look at a different version of the same poem. Students will be asked what it is called when another author makes a similar replica of another poets work. We will talk about parodies and any examples of other parodies students are familiar with. Students will be given a copy of Kenneth Koch's poem "This is Just to Say". Students will be asked to read it individually first. Then two students will be called on to read it to the class so everyone can hear the voice of the poem read aloud differently. Again students will turn and talk to a different partner. Students will be asked how imagery is used in the poem. As an extension activity students will be asked to write their own version of "This is Just to Say". Now, that we have read two poems with the same title and you have written your own, I want you to think about what they have in common and what is different about the poems. While you are thinking about those similarities and differences I would like you to place your responses into a 3 circle Venn diagram. Students will share their version of "This Is Just to Say" poems. Teacher will also share with the class the response from his wife Flossie Williams.
Politics Day 3-7
Introduction to Sonnet
Students will complete an Anticipation Guide (Appendix 1) about America. Then they will turn and talk with their group about their responses to the generalizations. Picking one spokesperson from each group students will report to the class their findings. Students will be informed that we will be reading sonnets with the theme of America for the next couple days. When we have finished the poems we will revisit the anticipation guide to note how and if our responses changed.
In an effort to frontload information students will be given a picture of Colossus of Rhodes and the Statue of Liberty. Students will share information about what they know about either picture. Teacher will provide more background information that they will need to read the poem. Students will be given the poem "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus and asked to read it independently. Two students will be called on to read the poem aloud. Teacher will review with students the 2 kinds of sonnets. Students will be asked if they can identify which sonnet the poem is. Students will be asked if they can get in their groups and figure out the rhyme scheme or iambic pentameter. Once the poem has been read aloud teacher will model the Think Aloud Strategy. After the teacher has modeled the strategy students will be asked to turn and talk in their group to use the same strategy. One person will present from each group what they thought about while they were reading the text. Teacher will review with students' examples of literary devices. Students will be asked if they noticed any literary devices in the text. Hopefully the students will notice the simile in the first line and personification throughout the poem of the Statue of Liberty speaking to the immigrants. Additionally, the imagery of the way Lazarus describes the both the Colossus of Rhodes and the Statue of Liberty.
Politics Day 8-13
Teacher will give students pictures about the Race Riots of 1919. Using the pictures students will write on post it notes what the picture describes. Pictures will be posted on the bulletin board and doing a silent gallery walk students look at what their classmates wrote. After the gallery walk students will independently read the poem "If We Must Die" by Claude McKay. Once students read the poem independently 2 students will read the poem aloud to hear different perspectives. Teacher will review with student the two types of sonnets. Teacher will ask students if they can identify which sonnet the poem is. Students will be asked if they can identify the rhyme scheme or iambic pentameter of the poem. Teacher will model and explain the rules for Say Something prior to letting students get into groups and do the activity. Students will participate in this discussion for no less than 10 minutes. Teacher will review with students' examples of figurative language. Students will be asked if they noticed any figurative language in the text.
Teacher will prepare a slide show using pictures about African Americans history in America. The pictures will contain images of racism, segregation, Civil War, slavery, for example. Students will be given a handout of Probable Passage to activate prior knowledge about what they think will occur in the poem. Students will share their gist statements. Students will be given "America" by Claude McKay. Students will read the poem individually and 2 students will be asked to read the poem aloud so we can hear the vice and varying perspectives. Teacher will ask students if they can differentiate what kind of sonnet it is. Teacher will ask students if they can identify the rhyme scheme and or iambic pentameter of the poem. After reading the poem students will participate in the Say Something Activity. Students will participate in the discussion for no less than 10 minutes. Next students will complete a class graphic organizer of It Says I Say (Appendix 3). Students will be asked to pick the line in the poem that means the most to them. Then the, I say column they will be asked to write down what they have to say about the line. Teacher will review with students' examples of figurative language. Students will be asked if they notice any examples of figurative language in the text.
Politics Day 14 -17
Teacher will ask the students to write in their daybook about someone who means a lot to them and why. Students will be asked to explain the chain of events that have occurred between themselves and that person. Students will be asked to share why this person means so much to them with their partner. In an effort to activate prior knowledge students will be asked to complete a KWL chart about the Civil War, parts of a ship's deck, Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln. Students will be asked to bring in pictures or items so we can make the chart interactive. Teacher will bridge the gap on any content pieces prior to reading the poem. Students will be given a copy of "Oh Captain, My Captain" by Walt Whitman to read individually. We will pick 2 students to read the poems to hear the voice differences. Teacher will ask students if they can identify what kind of sonnet it is. Teacher will ask students if they can identify the rhyme scheme and or iambic pentameter of the poem. Students will participate in the Say Something Activity for no less than 10 minutes. Students will be asked if they can identify any examples of figurative language. Students will think back to the person they initially wrote about and try to write a sonnet about that person. If students want to pick another person they can.
Love Day 18-19
To begin this lesson students will be asked to free write about someone they love and why. We will turn and talk about the person we free wrote about. While we are sharing students will be asked how important it is to inform the person of your feelings and why.
Keeping in mind someone you love we are going to do the Tea Party activity with lines from the poem "Those Winter Sunday" by Robert Hayden. When we finish this activity students will be given a copy of the poem and asked to read it independently. Two students will be called on to read the poem. Teacher will review with students the 2 kinds of sonnets. Students will be asked if they can identify which sonnet the poem is. Students will be asked if they can get in their groups and figure out the rhyme scheme or iambic pentameter. Staying in the same groups students will be asked to use Think Aloud strategies to discuss the poem. After the groups have had 15 minutes to discuss the poems a member of each group will be asked to report out about what they thought about the poem.
Love Day 21-24
Teacher will ask if any of the students can recite a famous love poem. Teacher will front load information about Elizabeth Barrett Browning and the rationale of her poem How do I Love Thee. Students will be given a copy of the poem. 2 students will be asked to read the poem aloud. Teacher will review with students the 2 kinds of sonnets. Students will be asked if they can identify which sonnet the poem is. Students will be asked if they can get in their groups and figure out the rhyme scheme or iambic pentameter. Teacher will review with student's symbolism prior to analyzing the poem. In pairs students will be asked to do a line by line analysis of the poem using a graphic organizer (Appendix 4).
Love Day 25-30
For an extension love activity we will also look at Shakespeare's Sonnet 18. Teacher will ask if any of the students know who William Shakespeare is (the teacher will frontload additional information if necessary). Using any of the reading strategies or graphic organizers we have used throughout this lesson students will pick one to help them do a line by line analysis of Sonnet 18.
Example questions for class discussion
What does the metaphor mean in line 1? Explain the significance of line 2? What is the author trying to say in line 7 fair sometimes declines?
Love Day 31-34
Students will be given a handout of Probable Passage to activate prior knowledge about what they think will occur in the poem. Students will share their gist statements. The teacher will frontload information about the Trojan War by telling them the story and information about the William Butler Yeats. Teacher will pass out the poem "Leda and the Swan" for students to read independently. 2 students will be asked to read the poem aloud. Teacher will review with students the 2 kinds of sonnets. Students will be asked if they can identify which sonnet the poem is. Students will be asked if they can get in their groups and figure out the rhyme scheme or iambic pentameter. After 2 students read the poem aloud, students will be asked to draw what they visualize about the poem "Leda and the Swan". Then students will get into groups and use the Say Something strategy to discuss the poem in more detail. Students will be asked to reflect if what occurred in the poem could occur in real life. They will be asked to write their reasons why or why not in their day book.
Love and Politics Reflection Day 35
We have looked at poems about Love and Politics. Think about the all the poems that we have read do you have a favorite do you have one you want to forget. Do you have a poet you would like to read more of his or her work? Do you have a poet you want to ask him or her questions? Did you prefer the poems about love or politics? Take moment and think about the questions before you write your reflection about the unit in your daybook.
- 1 Heard, Georgia. Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. 1999
- 2 http://www.cranberrydesigns.com/poetry/sonnet/history.htm. (accessed July 17, 2011)
- 3 http://www.easy-schoolwork.de/152_Poetry_Analysis_of_The_New_Colussus_by_Emma_Lazarus.html. (accessed July 17, 2011)
- 4 www.helium.com/items/2167099/-poetry-analysis-the-sonnet-ballad-by-gwendolyn-brooks. (accessed July 17, 2011)
- 5 Kastan, David and Kastan, Maria. Poetry for Young People: William Shakespeare. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc. 2000
- 6 Kastan, David and Kastan, Maria. Poetry for Young People: William Shakespeare. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc. 2000
- 7 Heard, Georgia. Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. 1999
- 8 Beers, Kylene. When Kids Can't Read What Teachers Can: Do A Guide For Teachers 6-12. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. 2003.
- 9 Beers, Kylene. When Kids Can't Read What Teachers Can: Do A Guide For Teachers 6-12. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. 2003.
- 10 Beers, Kylene. When Kids Can't Read What Teachers Can: Do A Guide For Teachers 6-12. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. 2003.
- 11 Beers, Kylene. When Kids Can't Read What Teachers Can: Do A Guide For Teachers 6-12. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. 2003.
- 12 Beers, Kylene. When Kids Can't Read What Teachers Can: Do A Guide For Teachers 6-12. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. 2003.
- 13 Beers, Kylene. When Kids Can't Read What Teachers Can: Do A Guide For Teachers 6-12. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. 2003.
- 14 Beers, Kylene. When Kids Can't Read What Teachers Can: Do A Guide For Teachers 6-12. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. 2003.
- 15 Beers, Kylene. When Kids Can't Read What Teachers Can: Do A Guide For Teachers 6-12. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. 2003.
- 16 Fletcher, Ralph. Breathing In Breathing Out: Keeping a Writer's Notebook. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. 1996
Annotated Bibliography for Teachers and Students
Beers, Kylene. When Kids Can't Read What Teachers Can: Do A Guide For Teachers 6-12. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. 2003. This book is a great resource of strategies for teachers who need exciting and engaging activities for students while they are reading.
Fletcher, Ralph. Breathing In Breathing Out: Keeping a Writer's Notebook. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. 1996. This is a great book to read if teachers are trying to start implementing the daybook in their classroom. It will explain the rationale for a daybook in a way that a workshop can't.
Heard, Georgia. Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. 1999. This book give teachers background information of how poetry should be taught. It also contains a variety of activities, sample student responses, and sample poetry books to give you more ideas and resources.
Hollander, John. Poetry for Young People: American Poetry New York,NY: Scholastic Inc. 2004. This book give background information about the poets who have written poems about America. It also contains poems with beautiful pictures that will captivate your students interest while reading.
Kastan, David and Kastan, Maria. Poetry for Young People: William Shakespeare. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc. 2000. This book gives background information about William Shakespeare in student friendly language. It also has some of his poems with a brief introduction.
Keene, Ellin and Zimmermann, Susan. Mosaic of Thought The Power of Comprehension Strategy Instruction. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. 2007. This is a great resource for teachers. This book reviews for teachers how we should teach in order to ensure comprehension for our students.
It Says, I Say
How do I Love Thee Analysis
North Carolina State Standards
1.02 The learner will monitor comprehension for what is read, heard and viewed.
1.04 The learner will reflect on learning experiences by evaluating personal circumstances and background information that helps shape interaction with the text.
2.01 The learner will make connections to related topics and information.
2.01 The learner will generate questions and extend ideas.
5.01 The learner will increase comprehension by taking an active role in group and class discussions.
5.01 The learner will discuss the effects of literary devices.
5.01 The learner will analyze and evaluate themes in literature in relation to personal and societal issues.
5.04 The learner will study characteristics of sonnets and evaluate the impact literary elements has on the meaning of the text.
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