How to teach and read poetry

June 16, 2016 | Author: María De Los Angeles Rojas | Category: Types, School Work, Study Guides, Notes, & Quizzes
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High School Poetry

Teaching Students to Write and Read Poetry Methods to Encourage Budding Poets to Blossom

A Sample Unit of Poetry Skill Lessons and Strategies for High School Teachers

Jefferson County Public Schools Version 2.0


High School Poetry

Teaching Students to Write and Read Poetry This unit includes a group of lessons to implement Kentucky Core Content and develop supporting skills for High School Poetry. These lessons should be adapted to fit the needs and interests of your students as well as your own teaching purposes, texts, and materials. The lesson plans, while designed primarily for students in grades 9-12, can also be adapted for use with younger writers. The following skill lessons are not intended to fit a single class period or one block of instruction. The teaching time required will depend upon your individual purposes as well as the individual abilities of your students. This unit is not designed as a sequence of process steps that will culminate in the production of one proficient poem. The unit instead is intended to offer a variety of lessons, each focusing on development of a skill related to producing effective poetry. The outcome of each lesson will be to plant a “seed.” The unit of lesson plans will initiate a variety of drafts from which a writer may later pick the most promising start to develop and cultivate into a proficient poem. You may choose lessons that best address supporting skills most needed by your students, and you may supplement the models of student writing provided with additional samples of your own students’ poems. The student models included are not intended as new benchmarks or examples of proficient and distinguished poems. They merely provide samples of writing by Kentucky students that may help in your teaching of writing to other Kentucky students. In order to raise students’ awareness of the power of poetic language, you might choose to begin the school year by focusing on several poetry skill lessons and then incorporate other poetry lessons from the unit later as assignments in response to appropriate class readings. Showing students how to see word pictures and hear figurative language in the world around them is not just a prerequisite for the successful teaching of poetry. Increasing students’ awareness of poetic language is the key to producing more effective writers in every genre. Therefore, training students daily and intentionally to read and think and write like poets can improve their abilities to produce precise language in any category of writing. This unit of poetry lessons is developed around a Reader’s and Writer’s Notebook (R/W Notebook), one of the most useful tools for building language skills. The R/W Notebook is not intended to be used like a diary but a instead language arts learning log—a journal where students can respond to their reading of poetry not only with prose but with pictures and poems. It is a scrapbook where students can collect new vocabulary and original ideas, create fresh figures of speech, and compose verses by practicing writing strategies taught in class mini-lessons. The R/W Notebook is a Safe Place to experiment with language and reflect on thoughts or topics that may later be transformed through the writing process into finished poems. A three-ring folder where notebook paper can be


High School Poetry

easily removed or inserted usually functions best as a R/W Notebook at the secondary level.

Table of Contents Introduction: Teaching Students to Write and read Poetry Read Me First Textbooks Marinate Students In Poetry and Poetic Language Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3 Lesson 4 Lesson 5 Lesson 6 Lesson 7 Lesson 8 Lesson 9 Lesson 10 Lesson 11 Lesson 12 Lesson 13 Lesson 14 Lesson 15 Lesson 16 Lesson 17 Lesson 18 Lesson 19 Lesson 20 Lesson 21 Lesson 22 Appendix

Think Alouds Word Work Previewing and Predicting Fluent Oral Reading/Recitation Project Establishing Prior Knowledge Understanding Characteristics of Poetry Understanding Conventions of Poetry During Reading Strategies: INSERT and Click and Clunk Recognizing Supporting Skills in Proficient Poetry Audience, Purpose and Form Sensory Images and Language Communicating Extraordinary Perception of the Ordinary Using Individual Voice to Capture a Moment in Time Creating a Title Open Response Question Developing Ideas Through Sensory Details Open Response Question To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme? Analogies and Similes/Metaphors Using Poetic Devices Open Response Question Organization and Coherence in Poetry Use of White Space, Line Breaks and Shape Use of Strong Verbs Revision Lessons Extensions/Accommodations for ECE and Other Diverse Learners


High School Poetry

Read Me First Learning to read poetry is an on-going process, requiring regular and frequent use of strategies. (Writing poetry requires skills and is likely to result in a product.) This unit (and the Short Story Unit) integrates strategy and skills lessons to help teachers give all students access to the Core Content for literary reading and writing. In this unit, lessons may refer to specific reading strategies which are detailed in earlier lessons. The strategies should be first taught, then reinforced and monitored (guided practice) as students become more proficient in applying the strategies to make meaning of their text. Variety is the spice of reading instruction, so offering students a menu of experiences and options for strategic reading practice will be more effective than drilling relentlessly on any one strategy! (Also, resist requiring students to “practice” skills on every piece of reading; this might result in mutiny since they will get frustrated at their apparent slow reading rate.) The strategies and activities suggested for this unit are appropriate for different stages of reading: • Before Reading: activating prior knowledge • Think Aloud • Preview • Predict • K-W -L • During Reading: monitoring understanding and connecting • Click and Clunk • Read Aloud • Word and Concept Walls • Think Aloud • Directed Reading-Thinking Activity (DRTA) • K-W-L • Connect text-to-self, text-to-text, text-to-world • Paraphrase and Summarize • After Reading: reflecting and responding • Rereading • Written or artistic response (making connections of text-to-self, text-totext, text-to-world) • Discussion and sharing • K-W –L • Connect text-to-self, text-to-text, text-to-world • Performance


High School Poetry

Part of the instruction for students must include “vaccinating” them with the habits of before-reading, while-reading, and after-reading. Be deliberate. Point out specific places in the reading where students should use each strategy, and name the strategies. Eventually, students will instinctively use the strategies, but until then, require students to be intentional while learning them. The following instructional strategies for teachers are referenced throughout this unit. Specific instructions for each are included in lessons that follow. • Word Work: • establish and maintain “organic” (or growing) Word Walls for words and phrases from poems which students find intriguing, powerful, or even puzzling; and Concept Walls for the terms of poetry (figurative language, symbolism, metaphor, simile, rhyme, etc.), definitions, and examples. • maintain a R/W Notebook that includes a section for personal vocabulary. Students record words that draw their attention, then share them on the Word Wall. • Click and Clunk: model on the overhead or board the sense and non-sense that poems make to you and your students. Teach and use along with the INSERT strategy to note metacognitive responses. Encourage students (where possible) to make INSERT/Click and Clunk notes on their copies of poems, then share with the class to try to “fix” the clunks. • K-W-L (Know –Want to Know-Learned): use the overhead or board to activate students’ prior knowledge about a poem or poet or poetry in general. If students appreciate that they DO know something about a new encounter, they will be more confident and have some “velcro” on which to hang new learnings. Be sure to return to the chart after reading to identify what students learned. • Fluent Oral Reading: “perform” poems for students by reading aloud with appropriate tone, inflection, gestures and movement. “Think aloud” with students about choices you made in the oral reading and replay the poem trying different interpretations. If your textbooks have videodisks available, use these for additional models of fluent oral reading. Also, encourage students to also read aloud poems they choose and have practiced. Include discussion of their choices in these “exhibitions.” Ultimately, students might produce a “coffee house” event to read poems they have written and/or discovered.


High School Poetry

• Choral Reading: first model the reading of a poem for the class, then have students read aloud together (whole class or smaller groups). This gives weaker students a chance to practice without embarrassment.


Reading at the Middle and High School Levels (ERS) Section Four Good-bye Round Robin (Opitz and Rasinski) Sections Two and Four

Textbooks If your school has available sets of literature anthologies, you have a gold mine of resources at your fingertips. The teacher guides, student texts, and support materials include detailed, embedded instruction and practice on reading strategies for all types of reading . Take time to familiarize yourself with the texts available. Possibly, explore a book room or talk to your department chair and find sample copies of other texts to use for models or reading information. Don’t, however, feel compelled to begin at the beginning and march through the text unless your school’s reading/writing plan happens to be reflected in the text. Shop around and find poetry in and out of the text that is relevant to your students and the skills you are teaching. Sets of one of the following adopted texts should be available in most schools: Elements of Literature series (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston) Glencoe Literature series (Glencoe-McGraw-Hill) Literature: Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes (Prentice Hall) Single examination copies of other titles are probably also available and will provide a lot of additional models and instructional ideas.


High School Poetry

Marinate Students in Poetry and Poetic Language 1. Keep a file full of short poems that you can read to the class during spare transition minutes that otherwise might be empty or chaotic: *to settle students down before a school program, field trip, testing, etc. *to begin class after lunch, assembly, pep rally, picture making, etc. *to close a challenging lesson on a positive, less stressful note, *to connect a specific topic or theme from the day’s reading, *to celebrate any “special” day in the school year, *to fill minutes between announcements and beginning/end of class *to establish transitions between different learning activities in a block schedule *to re-introduce concentration or reflection to class routine after intercom interruption(s) 2. Require students to collect new words that they find especially intriguing or picturesque and write them on colorful index cards. They can store these cards in a recipe box and use them as their own “poetry magnets” whenever they compose verses to add color to their language. 3. Maintain a “Poets’ Corner” bulletin board in your classroom, the library, or the school hallway where you can display poems written by students throughout the year. 4. Publish poems by writing them with colored chalk on school sidewalks. 5. Point out and post poetic passages discovered in class readings, magazines, books, newspapers, etc. Make students scavengers for figurative language in what they read. 6. Challenge students to sharpen their senses: to listen for sounds, to look for nuances of colors and tiniest details in the scenes around them, to sniff out the smells in grocery stores, movie theaters, school buses, cafeterias, doctors’ offices. 7. Sharpen students’ ears for the significance of sounds in poetry by reading aloud or playing a recording of a poem in a language other than English. 8. Get students to read poems aloud as often as possible and as many ways as possible: in pairs with a partner; divide a poem into logical halves and have one half of the room (or perhaps just the male voices) read every other stanza while the other half (or perhaps the female voices) read every other stanza; direct the class to alternate reading the lines of a poem with all voices joining together on lines that are repeated throughout the poem. Like a maestro, conduct your students in choral readings of poems. Students need to hear and feel the rhythm of poetry as it is read out loud.


High School Poetry


Use models of poetry such as those in the Kentucky Marker Papers to guide and inspire class work. Collect other models of student poems that are effective as well as those that seem ineffective. Build mini-lessons around analysis of student models.

10. Formulaic poems may function as good prewriting exercises for poetry: but they do not produce effective, imaginative, or proficient poetry. Discourage students from simplistic fill-in-the-blank poetry patterns. Poetry is hard work! Its development takes time and awareness of the intricacies of language. If you can turn your students on to poetic language and painting word pictures, you will see all their writing improve dramatically. 11. Because poems are usually shorter than other categories of writing required in portfolios, publishing students’ poetry in a class anthology is easier and less expensive than publishing any other genre. Students will cherish a class book of their poems and probably work harder to develop ideas and beautiful language if they think that their classmates will remember them by the poetic lines that they compose. 12. Culminate the end of a six weeks, the end of your unit, or the end of the year with a poetry festival. Celebrate poetry by hosting a coffee house and scheduling volunteers to read their best poems to peers, teachers, parents, and the principals at a school “coffee house.” Read your own best poem to initiate the celebration.


High School Poetry

UNIT: Poetry TOPIC: Think Alouds, Lesson 1 LESSON OBJECTIVE: Students will understand and apply active reading strategies for comprehension of poetry. CORE CONTENT: RD-H 1.0.8 Interpret the meaning of a passage taken from texts appropriate for high school VOCABULARY: Think Aloud, passage, metacognitive RESOURCE MATERIALS:

overhead and/or student copies of poem R/W Notebook Additional poems or text for student practice (Glencoe, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, or Prentice Hall) Poster board or construction paper and markers Overhead of Poetry Think Aloud

TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES: Proficient readers “think aloud” as they read, responding to the text in their minds as they read. This is their metacognitive thinking, or their “thinking about their thinking.” The following “think aloud” strategies are for students to use routinely and will be referenced throughout this unit. (Think alouds do not have to be oral, but might be, especially when students are just learning what kinds of responses to text other readers have. “Aloud” actually refers to the “making public” of their thoughts, so they will also be asked to write down their reactions.) • First, model what happens in your head while reading a poem you particularly like. If you practice ahead of time, you might put your thoughts on an overhead. Introduce the terms below, then share with students the thoughts you have while reading. • Ask students to think of and share situations when they have had to concentrate and focus on a difficult or challenging task. “Experiencing” poetry by reading requires sharpened senses, too. • Explain that using active reading strategies will help them “unpack” meaning from both familiar and new poems. • Teach and model the following active reading strategies using a poem you find interesting or challenging: LISTEN

(Read the poem aloud. Breathe when there is punctuation. Note the rhythm and how it affects mood. Listen for special sounds within the words) 9

High School Poetry


(Imagine the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and sense of touch within the poem.)


(Note your reactions to the poem and the connections you make to others things you’ve read or done.)

QUESTION (Note the questions the poem raises. Ask yourself what it is about, what words or phrases mean, and why the poet chose the language she did.) CLARIFY

(Summarize or paraphrase. Find the meaning of symbolic language.)

INTERPRET (Share the poem with others. Read it aloud and talk about the meaning. Connect the title to the meaning. Identify a theme or “big idea.”) • Have students write the above list in their R/W Notebook and check-off the types of comments they hear you make as you think-aloud during the poem. Discuss their observations. • Either continue reading (if you chose a long piece) or begin a second poem. Students will listen and write or orally share their thinking. • Then have students practice on another poem in their text or that you provide. • Have students make posters for wall of each word above, including an explanation if appropriate. •

Extensions/Accommodations for ECE/Other Diverse Learners: Provide students with a wall chart or bookmark of the key strategies, orask students to create posters of each strategy with appropriate questions or graphics to cue them when reading in the classroom.

Technology Connections Have students create a table in a word processing program, such as Claris Works, with each of the active reading strategies listed above. Ask them to fill in their think alouds as they go.

ASSESSING THE LEARNING: In R/W Notebook, students record think aloud responses to poetry and share with class and teacher. 10

High School Poetry

Poetry Think Aloud LISTEN (Read the poem aloud. Breathe when there is punctuation. Note the rhythm and how it affects mood. Listen for special sounds within the words) SENSE (Imagine the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and sense of touch within the poem.) REACT (Note your reactions to the poem and the connections you make to others things you’ve read or done.) QUESTION (Note the questions the poem raises. Ask yourself what it is about, what words or phrases mean, and why the poet chose the language she did.) 11

High School Poetry

CLARIFY (Summarize or paraphrase. Find the meaning of symbolic language.) INTERPRET (Share the poem with others. Read it aloud and talk about the meaning. Connect the title to the meaning. Identify a theme or “big idea.”)


High School Poetry

UNIT: Poetry TOPIC: Word Work, Lesson 2 LESSON OBJECTIVE: Students will identify, post, and discuss words and phrases that impress or puzzle them from poetry they read. CORE CONTENT: RD-H x.0.2: Interpret the meaning of literal and non-literal words RD-H x.0.3: Interpret the terms in meaningful context RH-H 1.0.13 Interpret figurative, symbolic and idiomatic language VOCABULARY: Word Wall, Concept Wall RESOURCES AND MATERIALS: Wall space, chart or butcher paper, markers, wide array of poetry books, magazines TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES: Word (or Concept) Walls are great ways to use classroom surfaces for instruction and avoid Bulletin Board Panic! Create a space where vocabulary related to the current unit can be posted for students to see and refer to as they work on and discuss poetry. Use sentence strips, recycled cardboard and markers, or technology to display currently used terms and physically reference them on the wall when you or students use them. Student-generated word lists can be compiled and honored on a second wall: • If students keep a Poetry Log, ask them to jot down any words or phrases from poems they read which are appealing, puzzling, unique, or powerful. • Invite students to record their favorites on the “Poetry Wall,” a reserved space in the classroom for sharing language. • Ask students to explain to the class the appeal their word entries had. • Include definitions, if appropriate, for new words or new uses. • Assign students to write a poem including a specified set of 10 words. •

Technology Connections Create a class database of their words. Include fields for word, definition, and appeal.

ASSESSING THE LEARNING: • Require a minimum number of contributions from each student • Ask students to underline in their own poetry words or phrases inspired by the Poetry Wall.


High School Poetry

UNIT: Poetry TOPIC: Previewing and Predicting, Lesson 3 LESSON OBJECTIVE: Student will learn and practice strategy of previewing, predicting, confirming, and disconfirming before and during reading. CORE CONTENT: RD-H x.0.5 Make, confirm, revise predictions VOCABULARY: preview, predict, disconfirm RESOURCE MATERIALS: several children’s picture books or appropriate poems overhead projector, board space or chart paper/markers TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES: Good readers always “survey the land” before beginning to read. Ask students what they do before they start to read, and list strategies on the board. Add to the list things you do, such as read the title, check the author, look at tables of contents and numbers of pages. In addition, good readers make predictions based on what they read, confirm or disconfirm, then predict again as they read on. (See Reading at the Middle and High School Level, p. 43, “Directed Reading-Thinking Activity.”) • Using a children’s book or appropriate poem, show students only the title or cover of the piece. • Ask students to predict what the piece will be about based on what they see—and have them explain “why.” List the predictions on overhead, board, or chart paper. • Read the first part of the piece aloud. Check whether the predictions were confirmed, disconfirmed, or unconfirmed. Cross off or check off on the list. Make further predictions. Continue reading, stopping at appropriate intervals to confirm or disconfirm. • Finally, summarize the text and discuss how the predictions helped readers understand and/or get involved with the text. • Provide pairs of students with a new poem or book. Have them read together, stopping at specific points to write down and share their predictions, talk about them, and proceed through the entire text. Ask for written evidence of their predicting, confirmings or disconfirming process.


High School Poetry

• WARNING: DO NOT ask students to use this strategy all the time! Because learning and intentionally practicing strategies like this slows down their reading speed, students get impatient and frustrated. DO, though, use it to demonstrate the process they can use when they encounter a new or difficult text, and practice it together. DO regularly model the necessity of previewing and predicting by asking “What do you think will happen next?” “Where will this go from here?” “What’s the next probable step?” ASSESSING THE LEARNING: • Collect the written predictions and revised prediction. • Ask students to reflect in their R/W Notebook about what happened when they slowed down their reading and intentionally checked their predictions.


High School Poetry

UNIT: Poetry TOPIC: Fluent Oral Reading/ Recitation Project, Lesson 4 LESSON OBJECTIVE: Provide models and opportunities for students to read poetry aloud fluently, using appropriate tone, pace, and intonation. CORE CONTENT: RD-H 1.0.8: Interpret the meaning of passages appropriate for high school VOCABULARY: fluent- using an appropriate pace, tone, and intonation that reflects a reader’s understanding of the meaning a text RESOURCE MATERIALS: audio- and/or videotapes of poetry being read soliloquy or other text teacher is familiar with collection of poetry for students to select from TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES: Poetry is meant to be read aloud. If students use their mouths, ears, and bodies, as well as brains, to process the words of poetry, they can make more meaning. Teachers and students should model fluent oral reading of poetry and “think aloud” processes (see Lesson 1) frequently and energetically, • • •

• •

Introduce the notion of reading a poem “with your body” by asking students to pantomime the story line of a nursery rhyme like “Humpty Dumpty,” “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” etc. Follow with an appropriate available poem that encourages gestures or movement. Have students read the poem as a large group, providing less confident readers the protection of the group. Point out how much easier it is to memorize something if one has a body/mind connection to the text. Model the reading of a poem of your choice (provide students with the text) and “think aloud” with students why you chose to read it as you did. (Focus on issues of pace, tone, word meaning, punctuation, line breaks, etc.) Assign students to select a poem to practice reading orally to the class (or a smaller group, if appropriate). Require multiple at-home practices; provide opportunities to practice with feedback in class; demonstrate how to write out a poem to reflect reading cues; coach students to use appropriate gestures and movement; encourage students to memorize poem and recite it “off book.” • Enrichment: Encourage students to use background music props and/or costumes. Use Prologue from Romeo and Juliet or other Shakespearean soliloquy. 16

High School Poetry

• Technology Connections: Students could coordinate recitation with Power Point presentation of text of poetry. Videotape performances and show video to class. Teleconference performances to students beyond the school walls. ASSESSING THE LEARNING: Establish scoring guide with class for the recitations; allow each student to ask 2 classmates as well as the teacher to score the recitation.


High School Poetry

UNIT: Poetry TOPIC: Establishing Prior Knowledge, Lesson 5 LESSON OBJECTIVE: Use graphic organizers to establish prior knowledge and show similarities and differences CORE CONTENT: RD-H 1.0.9: Analyze critically a variety of genre. VOCABULARY: prose, poetry RESOURCE MATERIALS: overhead transparency for K-W-L two samples of appropriate poems and pieces of prose TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES: Many students benefit from seeing information distilled and organized on paper in charts, columns, webs, or outlines. These graphic organizers can help the proficient reader as well as the struggling reader to organize and analyze information. Demonstrate and use them frequently with students, even if they don’t help you personally! The following lesson uses the common K-W-L and a variation of the Venn diagram to help students identify similarities and differences. You might want to take two periods to have time to process what students learn. • Use K-W-L (Know-Want to Know-Learned) to identify what students understand about how to read poetry: K



• Have students brainstorm what they know (or THINK they know) about how to read poetry; record on “K” column on overhead or board. • Organize students in pairs and give each partner a different poem. Explain that they will need to listen carefully to what happens when they read poems. Ask them first to read their poems silently, then aloud to each other, then switch and repeat the process with the other poem. What did they observe? • Have students identify questions or topics of mystery about how to read poetry and record in the “Want-to-Know” column. • Save the chart and/or post somewhere public for later updates.


High School Poetry

• Revisit at intervals during the unit of study and record what “Learnings” student discover, as well as additional “Wants.” Many CATS open response questions require students to find similarities and differences. Wherever appropriate, encourage students to analyze text or ideas by comparing and contrasting. Venn diagrams or similar organizers will help. See Billmeyer’s blackline masters in Teaching and Reading in the Content Areas for more template models. Ask students to brainstorm the similarities and differences in reading poetry (silently or aloud) versus reading prose. Record ideas on a chart as below:


Similarities Reading Poetry

Differences Reading Prose

Refer to what the class discovers about similarities, differences, and how-tos during the unit. Keep this chart (as well as K-W-L) available for revisiting and updating. • Extensions/Accomodations for ECE/Other Diverse Learners: Revisit definitions of poetry and prose. • Technology Connections: Use the table feature in a word processing program to create the KWL table.

ASSESSING THE LEARNING: • Students will contribute to creation of class K-W-L and similarities/differences charts.


High School Poetry

UNIT: Poetry TOPIC: Understanding Characteristics of Poetry, Lesson 6 LESSON OBJECTIVE: Students will construct a definition of poetry and understand the differences between poetry and prose. CORE CONTENT: RD-H 1.0.9 Analyze critically a variety of literary genre; WR-H 1.3 Literary Writing VOCABULARY: literary genre RESOURCES AND MATERIALS: Handout with various definitions of poetry Overhead transparencies R/W Notebook TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES: •

Distribute a handout with various definitions of poetry. (See page at the end of this lesson.) Ask students to copy in their R/W Notebook the definition(s) that they feel best communicate(s) to them the essence of poetry and explain the reasoning for their choice(s).

Next, on this same page in their R/W Notebook, ask students to freewrite for five to ten minutes. Students will (1) describe their own prior experiences with poetry and (2) reflect on their favorite poet and/or their most special poem(s) from the past. (This writing will reveal not only the students’ knowledge but also their individual attitudes about poetry and help later with establishing cooperative poetry groups and determining the sophistication of writing assignments.)

• Ask for class volunteers to read aloud their notebook reflections on experiences with poetry. On the overhead, record the names of the poets and titles of poems that the class has read and loved in the past. Students should also copy this list in the R/W Notebook as a list of possible poets and poems for future reading. •

Ask students to brainstorm and compose their own definition of poetry in the R/W Notebook. Challenge them to create a definition that distinguishes how poetry differs from prose.

Ask students to read their own definitions of poetry. Record each definition on the overhead or chalkboard in a T-Chart (such as the one below). Ask students to do the same on a new page in their R/W Notebook. As you record what class members say that poetry IS, ask students how this characteristic of poetry is different from prose. Some of their explanations will show the common bond between effective poetry and effective prose. Their chart should look like the T-Chart below and will be used to


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contrast major differences between poetry and prose. In this way, all the class will be speaking the same language when students refer to “poetry.” These reflections—and reflections throughout the R/W Notebook—will provide “fodder,” specific details that students can use later when they compose letters to the reviewer.




• TECHNOLOGY CONNECTIONS: Set up a teleconference with a poet and discuss definitions of poetry from the students’ writer’s notebooks. ASSESSING THE LEARNING: See activities above.


High School Poetry

Definitions of Poetry Which of these definitions captures for you the essence of poetry? 1. Poetry is language that has been condensed, compacted, tightened and trimmed. John Drury 2. Poetry is tied to memory. . . Poetry is ultimately mythology, the telling of the storis of the soul. Stanley Kunitz 3. A poem records emotions and moods that lie beyond normal language. . . Diane Ackerman 4. Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings . . .recollected in tranquility. William Wordsworth 5. Poetry is the art of combining pleasure with truth.

Samuel Johnson

6. A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom.

Robert Frost

7. Poetry says more and says it more intensely “than the language we use every day.” Laurence Perrine 8. Poetry is music in words.

D. Fuller

9. If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way? Emily Dickinson


High School Poetry

UNIT: Poetry TOPIC: Understanding Conventions of Poetry, Lesson 7 LESSON OBJECTIVE: Students will demonstrate their understanding of the conventions and supporting skills found in effective poetry. CORE CONTENT: RD-H 1.0.9 Analyze critically a variety of literary genre. WR-H 1.3 Literary Writing VOCABULARY: conventions RESOURCES AND MATERIALS: Textbooks or poetry anthologies checked out from media center Copies of poems written by former students Student handouts on the characteristics of a proficient poem (included after this lesson) Markers and colored sheets of construction paper (at least 8 x ll ) R/W Notebook TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES: •

Review with class the six criteria by which all writing is assessed on the Kentucky Holistic Scoring Guide as listed on the student handout from the Kentucky Marker Papers: audience/purpose, idea development/support, organization, sentences, language, and correctness.

Direct the class to read silently and reflect on the meanings of each of the specific skills listed under the criteria for poems. A copy of this handout, which is provided at the end of this lesson, needs to be placed at the beginning of the R/W Notebook.

On the next page in their R/W Notebook, ask every student to head a sheet entitled “Characteristics of Effective Poetry.” Then they need to make a list of any words appearing on this handout that they need help to understand or identify in actual poems. Students should leave several blank lines between each term that is unclear to them because they will return later to record answers to their questions.

Divide students into five cooperative groups. Roles include the presenter(s), the scribe(s), and the researcher(s). Assign each group to lead a class discussion designed to review with other class members the key skills listed under their assigned criterion:

Audience/Purpose: convention, image, individual voice Idea Development/Support: sensory detail, simile, metaphor, personification, imagery, mood Organization: coherence, unity, white space, shape Sentences: effective line break, rhythm, melody, rhyme Language: choices based on economy, descriptive language, strong verb, precise nouns 23

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(1) Students will explain a clear definition of poetry terms listed under the criterion assigned to their group. The scribe(s) will be responsible for writing each of the group’s required terms on a separate sheet of construction paper. The group members will work together to create a clear definition of the criterion and the scribe will record the definition on the paper with each word. These sheets will be posted to create a colorful Concept Wall (see p. 6 for more information) made up of a collage of terms essential to effective poems. These visual reminders will make students more conscious of the characteristics of poetry. (2) Groups will read through the provided anthologies or copies of students’ poems or their own texts. They are to go on a “Scavenger Hunt,” looking for an example that fits each of the terms that their group defined. The scribe(s) will copy a clear illustration of each skill that group members think best fits their definition of the poetic term. The examples will be posted under each definition on the Concept Wall. (3) Class will listen as each group presenter shares the assigned terms and, defintions composed by the group and shows the class a specific example of each poetic convention which the group has discovered through an examination of student poems, poetry anthologies, and/or poems in their textbook. These specific examples used to illustrate the terminology should also be copied and posted directly under their definition on the Concept Wall. (4) As groups present and you clarify information about the skills listed under their assigned criterion, all class members will record both definitions and examples from poems of any terms that they did not understand on the page in their R/W Notebook headed “Characteristics of Effective Poetry.” (5) Challenge students to listen for poetry in the world around them—radio, television, greeting cards, songs, children’s books, etc. (6) Give the class the P. I. Q. (Poetry Intelligence Quotient) Test on the following page. All of the statements are false! These FALSE statements are intended to debunk commonly held student misperceptions about the writing of poetry BEFORE they appear in class conversations. • EXTENSIONS/ACCOMODATIONS FOR ECE/OTHER DIVERSE LEARNERS: (See Appendix for additional extensions/accommodations.) Pair students to read aloud the skills needed in writing a proficient poem. In their notebooks, list “Characteristics of Effective Poetry,” then have students list unfamiliar words and phrases.

• TECHNOLOGY CONNECTIONS: Use the Internet to locate poems for analysis. *ASSESSING THE LEARNING: See activities above.


High School Poetry

POEM The writer of a proficient poem demonstrates most or all of the following skills: AUDIENCE/PURPOSE • Meets the reader’s needs and expectations by adhering to the conventions of poetry • Focuses on the purpose (e.g., paint a picture, re-create a feeling, tell a story, capture a moment, evoke an image, show an extraordinary perception of the ordinary) • Narrows topic • Uses an individual voice • Creates a title which captures the essence of the piece and creates reader interest IDEA DEVELOPMENT/SUPPORT • Uses sensory details • Uses poetic devices (e.g., simile, metaphor, personification, imagery) • Creates a mood • Does not sacrifice meaning for rhyme ORGANIZATION • Maintains coherence and unity • Arranges the poem using white space, line breaks, and shape to enhance meaning SENTENCES • Uses line breaks effectively • Employs rhythm, melody, and perhaps rhyme LANGUAGE • Makes language choices based on economy, precision, richness, surprise, impact on the reader • Uses descriptive language • Uses strong verbs and precise nouns • Uses figurative language CORRECTNESS • Spells correctly • Uses correct end punctuation, commas, quotation marks, apostrophes • Capitalizes correctly • Departs legitimately from standard correctness to enhance the meaning of the poem


High School Poetry

P. I. Q. TEST: Who Wants to Be a Poet?

Are these statements true or false?


Poetry is so personal that it does not have to make sense to another reader or have a meaning for anyone other than the person who wrote it.


Poems cannot be revised because they are inspired by intense feeling.


Poetry was meant to rhyme. That’s the very definition of poetry!


Poetry is easier to write than prose.


You cannot be taught how to write poetry; it is just a natural-born talent that some people have and others don’t.


Distinguished poetry is too “deep” to be understood by “normal” readers.


Poems can fit into any category of the Grade 12 Writing Portfolio.


Poetry will not score high in the senior portfolio.


High School Poetry

UNIT: Poetry TOPIC: During Reading Strategies: INSERT and Click and Clunk, Lesson 8 LESSON OBJECTIVE: Student will learn and use self-monitoring strategies to use while reading. CORE CONTENT: RD-H x.0.1 Locate, evaluate, and apply information for a realistic purpose. RD-H 1.0.8 Interpret the meaning of a passage taken from texts appropriate for high school. VOCABULARY: INSERT, click and clunk, T-chart RESOURCE MATERIALS: Note cards, post-its for students Overhead of INSERT code Overhead of T-Chart to record clicks and clunks Overhead with model of poem you have read and your INSERT notes Sample poem for students to read together R/W Notebook TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES: The INSERT strategy requires readers sloooooow doooown and monitor their reading by noting the reactions they have to the text: understanding, confusion, surprise, amusement, or even WOW. Students would NOT necessarily use this at all times when reading because it is time consuming. They should, however, use it regularly and with partners to check understanding and to see how others construct meaning from text. Students might want to develop their own personalized set of codes and reactions. Be sure their original codes allow them to reflect “metacognitive monitoring.” • Explain to students that good readers make margin notes to keep track of what they are thinking about as they read. This makes reading “active!” • Display the INSERT codes (overhead at end of this lesson) and discuss how and when each symbol would be used appropriately. Ask students to write the code on their index card and to use it as a book mark or in their R/W notebook. • Using the sample poem on which you have made INSERT notes, model how students could mark their own poems. • Ask students to read several poems independently, then share with a partner the responses. What made sense in each poem? Why? What part(s) were “fresh” and original? What connection can be made to other poems or texts, your experience, or the real world?


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• Use the T-chart to record “clicks” and “clunks”—the places students made meaning of the text (clicks) and places where the text confused or frustrated students (clunks). Encourage students to “fix” the clunks through discussion and sharing their own thinking. (Note: This activity requires a degree of trust and respect for students to publicly declare what they do not know. Perhaps begin by modeling your own clunks.) • Technology Connections Allow students to use the Internet to locate both classic and contemporary poetry. ASSESSING THE LEARNING: Students will make reflections in R/W Notebook.


High School Poetry













High School Poetry

UNIT: Poetry TOPIC: Recognizing Supporting Skills in a Proficient Poem, Lesson 9 LESSON OBJECTIVE: Students will identify and annotate the skills demonstrated in a Proficient Grade 12 Poem. CORE CONTENT: RD-H 1.0.9 Analyze critically a variety of literary genre. RD-H x.0.7 Formulate opinions in response to reading passage. WR-H 1.3 Literary Writing RESOURCES AND MATERIALS: Student Handouts of Characteristics of Proficient Poem (see handout following lesson 7) Overhead Transparency of “Fire” (Copy provided at end of lesson) Individual Student Handouts of “Fire” (See annotated copy in Kentucky Marker Papers, Draft for Grade 12, p. 19. This is available from your school’s writing cluster leader.) R/W Notebook TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES: •

Divide class into two groups. Read “Fire” aloud by alternating the reading of lines between the two sections of the class.

Subdivide class into five groups: Audience/Purpose, Idea Development/Support, Organization, Sentences, and Language. Assign each group of students to reread the poem “Fire.” As they silently examine this Grade 12 Proficient Marker Poem, they are to look for specific examples of the supporting skills listed under their assigned criterion.

Have groups discuss the skills that they observe in “Fire” and then annotate the line(s) where that skill can be found.

Return to whole class. Begin with Audience/Purpose, the first scoring priority on the Holistic Guide. Ask students who worked in this group to identify for the entire class all the skills that they noted in their small group discussion. They need to explain their annotations so that all students can identify the most effective literary conventions of this poem. Repeat this process with each of the other scoring criteria, following the order of their importance on Kentucky’s Holistic Scoring Guide.

All students will annotate their handout just as the teacher annotates this poem on the overhead. Encourage students to identify as many specific examples as possible. (See the annotated Kentucky Marker Paper for a model of this annotation.)


High School Poetry

Point out to the class that the poet chose NOT to rhyme this poem. Ask students to theorize how the effect of this poem might have changed—for the worse—if these lines had rhymed. (The rhyme would definitely diminish the serious tone and inhibited the writer’s freedom to choose just the most precise, richest word for his or her purposes.) Go back to the list of supporting skills which students have in their R/W Notebooks. Have them highlight the skill under idea development/support which so many teenage writers have not developed: “does not sacrifice meaning for rhyme. Post this admonition on a sentence strip; you may also need to have it tattooed across your forehead: DO NOT SACRIFICE MEANING FOR RHYME!

Students will reflect in their R/W Notebook by drawing the most effective word picture that they saw in their mind’s eye as they read the poem.

Students will then compose a reflection in their R/W Notebook on the single word in this poem that left the deepest impression in their mind. They will write this word on a separate page headed Word Bank. The Bank is a list of precise, poetic words that they plan to use in future writings—either prose or poetry.

When student volunteers share their reflections (which may contribute later to their letters to the reviewer), you can write the rich words on a colored sheet of construction paper and post in a prominent place so that the class will also begin a Word Bank. Share your own discoveries of new words from reading or crossword puzzles. It is vital that your students see you as a lifelong learner and lover of words. • EXTENSIONS/ACCOMODATIONS FOR ECE/OTHER DIVERSE LEARNERS: (See Appendix for additional extensions/accommodations.) Provide separate sheets for each group with their supporting skill listed and its definition. Have the group write down their specific examples found in the poem. After discussion, copy all sheets for all students to keep in their notebook for future reference. • TECHNOLOGY CONNECTIONS: Have students enter their rich words in a class database. Consider future searching/sorting needs before setting up fields.

ASSESSING THE LEARNING: See activities above.


High School Poetry

FIRE I drove my car indifferently On a Saturday of no particular color When I saw the street that was on the six o’clock news (we take you to the scene live) And I turned down that road Reluctant but still wanting to see. A short distance down, it stood Amid pristine new structures that were Impeccably groomed with not a thing out of place The charred timbers that were somebody’s home Reaching with spindly, sickly, blackened arms Pleading toward the sky in frozen agony To be whole again. And I thought of the flames Creating their unholy halo against the night sky Greedily devouring all and belching heavy black smoke This mass of contrasts that were these flames. Glowing yet so cruel Never cold but still uncaring Of whose safe kitchen they invade Or what child’s toys they break Or whose father they burn the life out of. And after a long moment I turned back the way I came Having no more business there Already losing the edges of the memory But knowing that, before I drifted off to sleep that night, I would send a silent, earnest little prayer— Please God don’t let the flames get me.


High School Poetry

UNIT: Poetry TOPIC: Focusing on the Relationship between Purpose/Audience and Form of a Poem, Lesson 10 LESSON OBJECTIVE: Students will explore possible topics, purposes, audiences, and formats for narrative poems. CORE CONTENT: RD-H 1.0.8 Interpret the meaning of a passage. WR-H 1.3 Literary Writing VOCABULARY: purpose, audience, form RESOURCES AND MATERIALS Copy of “Out, out. . . “ by Robert Frost Stacks of recycled daily newspapers or weekly news magazines R/W Notebook Overhead transparency TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES •

Read aloud to class Robert Frost’s “Out, out. . .” a poem inspired by a news story. Use an appropriate reading strategy: predict, preview, K-W-L, think aloud.

Distribute an old daily newspaper to each student and ask class members to peruse the pages until they find two intriguing articles that might inspire an effective “Fire” poem for a particular audience. The purpose of each potential narrative poem should be one of the following: paint a picture, re-create a feeling, tell a story, capture a moment, evoke an image, show an extraordinary perception of the ordinary.

Direct students to reflect on their ideas for these two possible narrative poems in the R/W Notebook. They should use a separate page for each potential poem as they record the following:

Summary: Make a list of the most important specific details in the news story selected. Identify audience and purpose: Specify a possible purpose for this poem and a specific audience you would attempt to reach through this poetry. Form: Write a clear rationale explaining whether your purposes in building a poem around this story could be more effectively achieved by using rhyme or by not using rhyme, just as in “Fire.” •

Get students into groups of four where they will each share one of their ideas for a narrative poem that has been inspired by a newspaper story.

Have each group select and report to the whole class one idea presented in their group that seems Most Likely to Become a “Fire” (proficient) poem. Record all the 33

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potential poetry ideas on the overhead and direct class members to write these ideas generated for poetry on a separate page in their R/W Notebook entitled “Possibilities for Poetry.” •

Students will select one of their poetry possibilities or one shared by a class member and create a first draft of a poem based on a news article.

Attempt writing a similar poem along with your students. Because the idea as well as the details can come from a news story of your choosing, this writing exercise is not time consuming. By sharing your problems and your process with the studentsyou will help students to realize that creating poetry is not just an activity that students must do because they will receive a grade but a challenge that you as their English teacher also enjoy. • TECHNOLOGY CONNECTIONS: Use the Internet to peruse on-line newspapers.

ASSESSING THE LEARNING: See activities above.


High School Poetry

STUDENT MODEL The poem below was based on a daily news story about a robbery at Taco Bell. Because this Kentucky student wanted to achieve a humorous rather than a tragic effect, he chose to use rhyme when translating the crime story into a mock ballad. MEXIMELT MASSACRE Four young people worked that night The late shift at Taco Bell They’d soon be part of a psychotic act That they wouldn’t live to tell Two crazy psycho lunatics Were driving down the street They pulled up to the fast food joint To get a bite to eat The doors were locked but they got past And yes they brought their pistols When the workers saw the gunmen come Their bodies froze like crystals A dedicated worker shouted “May I take your order?” The gunmen laughed demonically “No you better run for the border” These guys were very mean And really kind of rude They wanted green stuff, money, cash They didn’t want some food After all the loot was handed over One gunman yelled out “Chico” “All this hard work makes me hungry Let’s get a bean burrito” All four employees died that night The last shift at Taco Bell And as for that bean burrito I hope it blew them both to hell 35

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UNIT: Poetry TOPIC: Sensory Images and Language, Lesson 11 LESSON OBJECTIVE: Student will use graphic organizer to identify sensory images and language in poetry. CORE CONTENT: RD-H 1.0.14 Critique the author’s word choice. VOCABULARY: sensory images and language RESOURCE MATERIALS: Overhead of “Sensory Images and Language Mind Map” Overhead and student copies of blank mind map for sensory images Copies of appropriate poems using sensory language Chart paper (optional)

TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES: • Ask students to recall the five senses and reinforce their responses with the overhead master. • Remind students that poetry is intended to be “eaten” and savored like good food. (If appropriate, provide samples of food to taste, smell, touch, listen to, look at, and DESCRIBE. Record responses on the overhead.) • Using an appropriate poem, together identify examples of sensory language and record on blank overhead. (Poems included in this unit that are appropriate: “Tree,” “Who Me?” “Maximelt Massacre,” “Fire”) • Using other appropriate poems, students work in pairs to read poems and identify use of sensory imagery. Record responses on blank mind maps. Share orally. • (Optional) Record all responses on chart paper to post in room as a collection of possible sensory images students might want to use in their own poetry. • Technology Connections Use PowerPoint to create mind maps. Allow one frame for each sense. Add graphics, sound, and animation to enhance. ASSESSING THE LEARNING: • Pairs’ presentation of appropriate sensory imagery • See activities above.


High School Poetry

Sensory Images and Language Mind Map






High School Poetry

UNIT: Poetry TOPIC: Communicating an Extraordinary Perception of the Ordinary, Lesson 12 LESSON OBJECTIVE: Students will exercise their imaginations and their powers of observation as they describe a familiar object from a variety of new, unfamiliar perspectives. CORE CONTENT: RD-H 1.0.13 Interpret symbolic and figurative language. WR-H 1.3 Literary Writing VOCABULARY: symbolic language, figurative language RESOURCES AND MATERIALS: Copy of sample student poem “6 Ways to Look at a Corpse” Object to observe Mirror for each student R/W Notebook TEACHING STRATEGIES AND PROCEDURES: •

Tell all students to bring to class a familiar object or photograph of an everyday object, place, or person. Let them know in advance that they will be showing what they bring to other students.

Divide the class into small choral groups to read aloud “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” by Wallace Stevens and/or “6 Ways to Look at a Corpse,” a student’s poem (on the following page) inspired by this idea of looking at something ordinary from different perspectives. Discuss the unique ways that the student has described a corpse. What is the author’s deeper purpose for writing this poem?

Assign students to work with one partner. They are to brainstorm and list together in their R/W Notebook as many physical details as possible to describe their familiar items. The teacher can ask for volunteers to share their object or picture and read a list of all the concrete details that the pair of partners noticed.

Assign all class members to work with a different response partner. Challenge them to brainstorm together five unique, extraordinary perspectives from which to describe both their objects or photos of objects. They should list their five views of the object in their R/W Notebook. Suggest that students use sensory details or even personification to make the object seem to come alive. The five descriptions may communicate entirely different tones or moods, depending upon the associations that students link to their object. The goal is not only to look at something and see it as it is but to see it as a symbol of something even deeper. This task encourages students to think imaginatively from different perspectives and creatively re-examine details.


High School Poetry

Next direct students to work individually. They need to look carefully into a mirror and describe an individual image that they see from three different perspectives. They should restrict their focus to a feature such as a mouth or an eye, their hair or their hand rather than trying to look at “the big picture.” Students should make a list in their R/W Notebook of three different ways that they might see the personal image. Encourage them to use metaphors, descriptive language, and specific details that might communicate different facets of their identity.

Ask students to choose from one of the lists that they have just composed in their R/W Notebook describing an object, photo, or a feature and then convert the unusual details or comparisons into a poem where each stanza develops a different perspective. If neither of the two exercises generated an idea that they want to develop, they can choose to look at a place, an event, or an emotion from five different perspectives. The purpose of this poem is to show an extraordinary perception of the ordinary, so they need to set free their imaginations and challenge themselves to create some unique word pictures with precise language.

• EXTENSIONS/ACCOMODATIONS FOR ECE/OTHER DIVERSE LEARNERS: (See Appendix for additional extensions/accommodations.) Co:Writer, Inspiration software, and/or tape recorders allow students to use richer language. Provide a Thesaurus for each student. • TECHNOLOGY CONNECTIONS: Ask students to display their five descriptions in a Power Point presentation. ASSESSING THE LEARNING: See activities above.


High School Poetry

Student Model

6 Ways to Look at a Corpse 1 On a slab of frozen concrete at the center of the room The corpse is draped in everyday clothing as if it were not dead and white and rotting under its fine dress 2 Go into your church Smell and feel the aura of the corpse in the stale air and grief and in the prayers of the living 3 And then go deep into the earth and rock to the origin of the corpse and beyond Enter the realm of the non-living and converse with the dead 4 Taste me in your morning coffee in bitterness not far from death; The corpse lives there still 5 Bedside, in the dark room we see the corpse knitting in her rocking chair alone in her silence Brooding the loss of her indifference to the Grand Illusion 6 Travel the world; Race upon the decaying skin of the corpse and learn that every reality you penetrate harbors the same grotesque realization; Even in Heaven— When you look into the mirror the face you see will always be your own. . .


High School Poetry

The following poem, also written by a Kentucky twelfth grader, demonstrates extraordinary perceptions of a tree that might guide students in their attempts to look deeper and think differently about some familiar objects.

TREE It Crouches Wisely in a bed or rocks with limbs plunging beneath Grey stones. one quick glance reveals no end—the tree stretches toward the hidden sun, reaches for cotton clouds. Spongy green moss hugs its trunk and surreptitious vines kiss its craggy side. The Grey-brown bark is cracked and full of scars; a wispy insect flutters by a gnarled knot. Where are the branches? I see only anemic twigs poking from the massive woody stem. And at the bottom . . . I stare at a miracle. A cave carved from deep wood, two misshapen parabolic holes reveal a home tiny twisting roots sprout from the bottom of striped wood walls, and stones cuddle on the floor’s lap. Green-leafed plants peep through an arch as though whispering a hello I stare at the tree and walk off! Ignorant of the community sheltered by its stiffly natural strength. I glance back at its scaled back one last time And know. . . I’m seeing God.


High School Poetry

UNIT: Poetry TOPIC: Using an Individual Voice to Capture a Moment in Time, Lesson 13 LESSON OBJECTIVE: Students will examine poems that demonstrate the dramatic impact of voice and point of view in poetry. CORE CONTENT: RD-H 1.0.10 Evaluate the influence of literary elements (point-ofview, voice) in a passage. WR-H 1.3 Literary Writing VOCABULARY: point-of-view RESOURCES AND MATERIALS: 1. Example of a poem and a prose account of the same historical event such as • “Ballad of Birmingham” by Dudley Randall and a Newsweek account of the Alabama church bombing; • “Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” and the account of this historic event as related in a history textbook or encyclopedia • Holocaust poem and an excerpt from the Diary of Anne Frank 2. Index cards TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES: •

Read a prose account to the class that reports on a famous event or time in history. Use an appropriate reading strategy: preview and predict; think alouds and read alouds; graphic organizers to map main ideas and supporting details.

Discuss the mood (objective, encyclopedic) and tone (unemotional, journalistic). Revisit the chart from earlier in the unit comparing prose to poetry; discuss the specific examples of similarities and differences.

Then read a poem, such as the professional examples listed above, the student poetry that follows this lesson, or your own favorite models. These poems should focus on an event or moment in time from an entirely different, more personal perspective and in a tone intended to evoke the reader’s feelings. (Collaboration with a history teacher may help you select historic events that the class will approach with greater depth of knowledge and understanding.)

Contrast the purposes of these two genres—prose versus poetry—in their approach to the subject. Point out the specific details used by the poet to suit the tone/voice of the poem and achieve the intended purpose.

Assign students either (1) to do research in history texts or read microfiche of old newspapers that report an event in history about which they really want to learn more, or (2) to interview a parent or another adult about an unforgettable moment in history that he/she personally experienced and remembers well such as recollections 42

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of the Vietnam War, America’s bicentennial celebration, being bussed to a new school, the explosion of the Challenger Spacecraft, Operation Desert Storm, etc. Students will need to take notes in their R/W Notebook on the specific details of this event as described in the interview. •

Require students to write the following on an index card: Moment in Time/Historical Event: Purpose of Poem: Form of Poem: Intended Audience: Intended Mood/Tone:

Ask class members to share with the group what they have written on these cards. Collect cards and make brief comments on the back where necessary.

Then ask all students to compose a draft of a poem using the specific, factual details that they have gathered, following the plan that they have proposed.

Divide class into groups based on the similarity of the events that they have selected. Reading the verses of group members can spark an interesting discussion on the R/W selection of specific details that make the poem achieve (or not achieve) its purpose for the intended audience. • EXTENSIONS/ACCOMODATIONS FOR ECE/OTHER DIVERSE LEARNERS: (See Appendix for additional extensions/accommodations.) Tape recorders for the struggling writers should be available. Co:Writer, Inspiration software may also be useful. • TECHNOLOGY CONNECTIONS: Have the students use the Internet to locate a variety of texts with varying points of view.

ASSESSING THE LEARNING: See activities above.


High School Poetry

STUDENT MODEL The following poem, written by a Kentucky eleventh grader, was inspired by class readings and study of the Holocaust. Abandoned? The everlasting energy of the storm, The never ending nightmare. The frantic screaming streets, Days later, crimson stained. Faces as pale as ghosts in the night, Marching legions of tainted soldiers. A six-pointed star to them represented the devil, Branded upon us, as a gift of death. The train cried, thousands exited, Timid families parted like the Red Sea. The darkness of the night, Could not surpass the darkness of these hours. The screams, the pleading, a gunshot! Silence, like a shooting star, falling from the heavens. Life beyond the realms of Hell, Darkness never ceasing, though the middle of the day. Heaps of bodies in roaring volcanoes, Never forgetting the smell of burning flesh. Have our lives been a lie? Has our loving God abandoned us?


High School Poetry

UNIT: Poetry TOPIC: Creating a Title to Capture the Essence of a Piece and Create Reader Interest, Lesson 14 LESSON OBJECTIVE: Students will learn the significance of a poem’s title -- “what’s in a name” -- and develop some tools for constructing more fitting and effective titles for their poetry. CORE CONTENT: RD-H 1.0.11 Analyze the effect of theme, symbolism, figurative language. WR-H 1.3 Literary Writing VOCABULARY: essence RESOURCES AND MATERIALS: Model poems Sentence Strips R/W Notebook TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES: • Read a poem to the class, one of your favorites, one from the textbook or one of the student models provided with this plan. Do NOT tell the students its title but ask them to listen carefully so that they can choose a fitting title for this poem after they have heard it all. •

In the R/W Notebook, ask every student to compose what they believe is a title that captures the essence of the poem without telling too much. They also need to write a paragraph explaining the reasons for selecting their title.

Subdivide the class into groups of four to share their titles and defend their choices. Then direct each group to pick one title that best represents the group’s choices. They may even choose to create a new title. They can write the group’s title on a Sentence Strip and post it on the bulletin board.

Write the questions below on the chalkboard or overhead and ask students to copy them in their R/W Notebook. As they judge group suggestions for titles that have been written on the Sentence Strips, ask them to consider each question and select the best title: What’s in a Title?

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Which title hints at just enough of the poem’s contents to intrigue readers? Which title creates an image in the reader’s mind? Which title demonstrates the most originality? Which title is broad enough to encompass all the poet’s intended message? Which title is the most precise and poetic?


High School Poetry

Have students vote on their favorite title with a show of hands. Then tell them what title was, in fact, chosen by the poet. (That does not mean students are incorrect in their own answers. Chances are that your class members will like their ideas better—some may be more effective than the one that the author actually chose. It is the discussion of the criteria that will be most valuable, not matching the poet’s title.) Students may suggest additions to the list of questions that should be considered in naming the poem.

Emphasize that titles are not random afterthoughts but intentional, artistic choices that a writer must carefully make to enhance the effectiveness of the work. Titles are not labels—whether in poetry or prose—but can, like names, make all the difference. For example, the anorexic young woman who wrote this student model explained that she chose her title because she wanted to emphasize the lack of trust that she perceived from the nurses who weighed her every week after her hospitalization for anorexia. She also reveals, of course, that these nurses were wise to look beyond her cheery exterior and see a teenager who still wanted to lose weight—at any cost.

Ask students to return to a draft of a poem that they started in their R/W Notebook. Have them re-examine their title, using the five criteria considered earlier.

Direct students to create three other possible titles for one of their favorite drafts of a poem. Then ask them to get with a partner and “try on” each of the new titles to determine which title a writing partner finds most effective at capturing the essence of the poem and creating reader interest.

Challenge your most capable language arts students to create titles by attempting the kind of word play in their R/W Notebook that they might discover in E. E. Cummings, who sawed up words and tacked pieces on them just to enhance his purposes. For example, he constructed the word manunkind and used it in a bitter poem about the inhumanity of man to man. Of course, today Cummings would probably have to use humanunkind, in an attempt to be more politically correct. One of the characters in Barbara Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible who constantly plays with rhyming words and arranges combinations of words in reverse order might also inspire some intriguing possibilities for poetry titles too. To describe rains in the Congo where nature dumped buckets, Kingsolver writes the phrase backwards to create a new term that is almost onomatopoetic “Stekcub pmud.”


High School Poetry

STUDENT MODEL A Kentucky senior took her prose journal entry and converted it into this poem. How does her title reinforce her purpose? What are other possible titles? WHO ME? We always sit in the waiting room forever I have to sign the yellow paper Name, phone number, insurance company, doctor I sit in the hideous purple chairs And stare at the clown wallpaper A woman dressed in pink rayon Always sits next to me The lights are bright They reflect off her shirt I have to shut my eyes A woman in starchy white interrupts my peace She says, “ ( name),” In a stale voice I stand and follow her down the hallway I know what is coming—it happens every week The graying woman looks at my files Looks at me Looks down “Take ‘em off” I pull them off using my toes and heels Reading over my file That ancient voice penetrates through the folder “Empty your pockets” I do—a couple pennies, a gum wrapper Lots of pocket lint I hand it over to her extended fingers She takes my arm and leads me on the scale She moves the heavy bar to 100 The right side of the balance falls It makes a clanking noise She scoots the small weight across 107, 106, 105, 104, 105, 104 She tells me what I already see

I wonder what it was last week “104, honey” Her honey doesn’t sound smooth It sticks around me I get back my pocket collection Not much I want I start on my sneakers Damn,I should have untied them It makes it easier to put back on I’m lacing and thinking No trust-They have no trust “Empty your pockets” “Take off your shoes” “Eat more-Become healthy” I wish I didn’t care about my weight But they know I do That’s why they make me come I am my weight Standing up-I lean against the teal wall I make a pact with myself No more food! More will power! NO CHOCOLATE Moving away from the wall I say, “See you next week girls.” A blur of white smile and Good-byes reach me I will be back, too soon.


High School Poetry

Reading Open Response Question High School “The Road Not Taken”

Core Content Code: RD-H 1.0.11

Reading Passage:

“The Road Not Taken” Glencoe Literature (Course 5) p.643


The purpose of a poem is reflected in its theme.


A. Identify the theme of “The Road Not Taken.” B. Discuss two places in the poem where the theme is evident.

Scoring Guide:

Use the Kentucky General Scoring Guide for Open Response Questions

Examples to look for in student response: A. Theme involves choices one must make, the author’s desire for unconformity or adventure. B. “sorry I could not travel both…” “Then took the other…” “Because it was grassy and wanted wear…” “Oh, I kept…” “I took the one less traveled by…”


High School Poetry

UNIT: Poetry TOPIC: Developing Ideas Through Sensory Details, Lesson 15 LESSON OBJECTIVE: Students will focus on the power of the senses to develop poetic images about people and places. CORE CONTENT: RD-H 1.0.14 Critique the author’s word choice, style. WR-H 1.3 Literary Writing VOCABULARY: sensory details RESOURCES AND MATERIALS: Audio Tapes or CD’s featuring jazz, Native American, or classical music Colored pictures featuring a variety of scenes (cut from popular magazines ) Pieces of fruit brought to class by students (Have pieces of lemon or oranges for those who forgot their “homework.”) Paper towels TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES: •

Write this quote on the board to focus the lesson on the power of sensory details:

“Through sensory details, a poem communicates the poet’s ideas and feelings about what it means to be mortal, to love, or to loathe.” How to Write a Poem by Margaret Ryan, p. 26 •

Ask students to listen to 3-5 minutes of music that you have selected for this lesson. As they listen to the sounds, students need to freewrite in their R/W Notebook about all the sensory images that come to mind because of this music. Their pencils should not stop moving. They are not to censor their thought processes but to free associate details that come to mind. Put the list below on the overhead or chalkboard. Getting in Tune with the Senses 1. What images do you see in your mind’s eye? 2. What specific kinds of sounds do you hear? 3. What kinds of smells might you associate with this stimulus?

Ask for class volunteers to read their journal entries. Emphasize the variety of specific sensory details students share. Ask those who are reluctant to read if they can add other unusual ideas that flashed through their brains as they listened to the music with minds open to sensory detail.

Give one laminated magazine picture to a pair of students. Ask them to brainstorm together a list of answers to the three questions above along with any other sensory 49

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details that they might associate with the scene in their picture such as taste and touch. Again get a pair of volunteers to show their photo and read the list of sensory details that they compiled in response to the picture. •

Take a fruit break! First ask students to list as many words as possible to describe the outer look and feel of the piece of fruit that they brought to class. Get volunteers who brought the same kind of fruit to share their lists of “outer” sensory details.

Then students may eat their piece of fruit very slowly, tasting each bite as if they have never tasted this exotic form of food before. There should be no talking as students listen to themselves (and others) chew, as they smell the fruit basket of flavors in the room, etc. Tell them to be conscious of their salivary glands and the spurt of juices in their mouths and the nuances of flavor.

Next have students use the three questions on sensory detail to freewrite for five minutes: describe the sensation of eating this fruit to someone who has never tasted it. Tell them to compare its flavor and appearance to something else. Suggest that their freewriting might include memories of places or occasions where they enjoyed this fruit in the past.

Read aloud to the class a sample of a poem that describes a place or person using different kinds of sensory details. (Some sample student models follow.)

After you have read the poem, ask students to jot down in their R/W Notebook the details that they can see, hear, taste, feel, or touch from that piece of writing.

Assign the students to create a start of a poem about either a familiar place or a special person that develops ideas through well-chosen sensory details. The writers’ goal is to include specific details that are focused on creating a unified mood. Coach them: SHOW, NOT TELL. Write this admonition on a sentence strip and display it in a very prominent place throughout the year.

To encourage them to SHOW, NOT TELL, require every student to draw a picture of this place or this person BEFORE beginning to write any words. The more details in their picture, whether anyone else comprehends the art or not, the more details there should be in their verses. • TECHNOLOGY CONNECTIONS: Have students find additional sensory music on the Internet.

ASSESSING THE LEARNING: Open Response Question: Poetic Language 50

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STUDENT MODELS This Kentucky senior uses sensory details to create a mood and a word picture of a familiar place. ESCAPE I settle down into a sagging chair of torn plastic The smells, so familiar— Butter scented Ju-Ju Bees wither in a dried film of sticky Coke near my feet Giggles seep from midget heads in the front row, followed by a quick popcorn shower— The man in the fancy polyester suit calms them. The velvet curtain, pulled back While previews flash, the two heads in front of me connect for a brief kiss The girl leans back as her man stretches his arm around her slim neck Her sneakered feet rest on the seat in front of her— The man in the fancy polyester suit reprimands her. The lights grow dim, all talking hushed At the first crackle of the speakers our eyes are tempted by the screen, then drawn in This is where we have come to kill the villain, travel time, fall in love, win the war, and Ride off into the Western sunset— The man in the fancy polyester suit shows us out.

Another Kentucky senior selects sensory details that connect a familiar place with a special person. Sometimes When I’m Alone Sometimes when I’m alone I walk out to my grandfather’s garden And seat myself on the bench he made strongly of 2 X 4’s for my grandmother, a woman of years and pounds, so that she could admire his vegetables. And sometimes, if it’s warm, and there are birds flirting through the fence rows and butterflies dancing all around,


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I might reach my hands down and delve into the velvety earth, grasping what my grandfather holds dear.

Through well chosen sensory details, this Kentucky senior SHOWS readers one of his classmates and also reveals his special feelings about this person. “Chickenhardedness” Soft waves of blond hair fall unto her shoulders as she stares thoughtfully ahead contemplating her day. Cheerleading practice nail appointment tanning bed Her intriguing blue eyes drift off smiling. Work finally pays off “I get my new Eclipse this weekend!” She utters, to the REST of the class. “Abercrombie” pants place her in the “in”group at school and the qb of the football team makes her so unreachable for a guy like me who sits behind her just to catch a drift of her over priced perfume.


High School Poetry

Reading Open Response Question High School Poetic Language

Core Content Code: RD-H 1.0.11 RD-H 1.0.13 RD-H 1.0.14 Reading Passage:

appropriate poem, such as: “Making a Fist,” Glencoe Literature (Course 5) P. 661 “Southbound on the Freeway,” Holt, Rinehart and Winston Elements of Literature (third Course), p.527


Poets use figurative, symbolic and sensory language in their poems to create certain images and effects for the reader.


Using the poem provided, evaluate three examples of the writer’s word choice and/or use of figurative language.

Scoring Guide:

Use the Kentucky General Scoring Guide for Open Response Questions

Examples to look for in student response:


High School Poetry

UNIT: Poetry TOPIC: To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme—Please Ask That Question!, Lesson 16 LESSON OBJECTIVE: Students will learn how a poet’s choice to rhyme can either enhance or distract from the purpose of a poem CORE CONTENT: RD-H 1.0.14 Critique the author’s word choice, style, use of literary elements WR-H 1.3 Literary Writing VOCABULARY: rhythm, rhyme

RESOURCES AND MATERIALS: Copy of your favorite Dr. Seuss book (such as Green Eggs and Ham) Copies of student poems from previous years or student samples provided R/W Notebook TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES: •

Read aloud a Dr. Seuss book to the class to show the pleasurable effects of rhyme. Try pausing at several points to see if students can supply the missing rhyming word. Use appropriate reading strategies: preview and predict; think alouds; read alouds.

Discuss logical reasons for using rhymes in children’s verses. Write them on the board or the overhead and have the class record them in their R/W Notebooks.

Rap artists often perform in rhyme. Ask students to explain why rhyme is used in rap and discuss how rhyme enhances other effects of rap lyrics.

Read aloud to the class a rhyming poem with an unexpected jolt at the end, such as “Richard Cory.” Discuss the effective use of rhyme in this poem where Robinson lulls readers into expecting a pleasant jingle and then uses the anticipated rhyme to shock his audience with the unexpected suicide of Richard Cory.

Ask students to reflect in the R/W Notebook about poems that they have read and remember from their past. Give them five minutes to write about whether they typically prefer to read or write rhymed poetry and explain the reasons why.

Write on the board or overhead: Times NOT to Rhyme a Poem As a class, brainstorm a list of topics or situations when a poet would be wise to write a poem that does NOT rhyme. Have students record this list in their R/W Notebook.

Distribute copies of poems written by students from past years who have given permission to use their work. (You may decide to use the student models provided.) 54

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Divide class into cooperative groups with four members. Give each group one poem to read. After reading that poem aloud, the group should decide what the poet’s purpose is. They are to discuss whether the rhyme scheme enhances or distracts from achieving that purpose. Every group needs to write a specific rationale to defend their conclusions about the effectiveness of the rhyme scheme. Collect these after they share with class.

It is highly possible that the students may disagree, but the Chaucer poem is intended to be the only student model provided here that uses rhyme effectively. What is most valuable is not getting the right answer but discussing the criteria for selecting rhyme versus non rhyme.

Return to the class-generated list of Times NOT to Rhyme in the R/W Notebook. Add any other discoveries that students have made as they read pieces written by other students. Remind them that their notebook is a treasure house full of gems being saved for final reflections in the letter to the reviewer. • TECHNOLOGY CONNECTIONS: Have students search the internet for samples of rhyming and non-rhyming poetry.

ASSESSING THE LEARNING: See activities above.


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STUDENT MODELS Which poems are more effective because of the rhyme schemes these Kentucky seniors used? I.


Abuse is a struggle that isn’t right, It doesn’t have to be a fight. Abuse can start with a little thing. It can be anything. Sometimes people get hit with a shoe, Abuse can even happen to you. Abuse is like a spider in someone’s ear. It fills mortals with plenty of fear. Abuse is like a person with a double-edged knife. It could take over anyone’s life. Why do people do it, society just doesn’t know what to say,

Because no one can stop it, it happens everyday. A lot of abusers are killa’s They hurt dogs, cats, and even gorillas. Abusers don’t care or give a hoo, But to stand up for what’s right, it takes just you.


As I Move On

As I walk up the steps, My heels click against the ground No one makes a sound As I walk up the steps As I stare at everyone around me, A tear rolls down my cheek And I take a deep breath, I begin to feel weak As I stare at everyone around me. As I walk across the stage My stomach jolts in pain My eyes begin to swell with water As I walk across the stage. As I receive my diploma, My hands tremble and shake They’re so white they look fake. As I receive my diploma. As I hold it in my hand I finally realize It’s all over As I hold it in my hand. As I hug all my friends I know it’s Goodbye As I hug all my friends. As I walk down the steps, My heels click against the floor, But now, everyone applauds, As I walk down the steps.


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This Kentucky senior was inspired to research Medieval trades and create a new Canterbury Tale after her class read Chaucer. III.

“Chaucer, ‘Weave’a Better Story Next Time” By: The Deceived Weaver I am a weaver, by knowledge and trade And there’s a mistake that I feel you have made. You think you’re so clever with rhymes of my ways but trust me, your writing has seen better days.

That’s right, Geoffrey Chaucer, I say you’ve gone stale. To make little of me and my friends in your tale Is simply just rude. And I do not see why The guildsmen must put up with your silly lies. Why, I must ask you, are we not included? Are guildsmen, like us, just meant to be muted? In your Prologue of portraits, I should have a whole page! If it were not for me, you’d be simply in rage Because I am the one who makes your house warm With tapestries and rugs of such excellent form. So be careful the next time you see fit to write, Such an outstanding tale, in the dark of some night Because, there, I will be watching you and your pen To make sure that this never will happen again.


High School Poetry

UNIT: Poetry TOPIC: Analogies and Similes/Metaphors, Lesson 17 LESSON OBJECTIVE: Students will understand the relationships of words in analogies and create metaphors using analogous thinking. CORE CONTENT: RD-H x.0.2 Interpret the literal and non-literal meanings of words. RD-H 1.0.11 Analyze the effect of figurative language. VOCABULARY: analogy, simile, metaphor, figurative language RESOURCE MATERIALS: • examples of incomplete analogies

TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES: • Present students with examples of analogies reflecting varied relationships (see SAT prep manuals often available in counseling office, and literature and writing texts). If possible, provide students with a list of relationships (and examples) commonly found in analogies Examples: alike—talkative : chatty opposite—outgoing : reserved person / job or tools used—glazier : glass or surveyor : sextant degree—powder: navy (blue) stages of development—cygnet : swan Teach the “code” of the punctuation (“roof : house :: hair : head” should be read “Roof is to house just as hair is to head”) and practice reading and solving the incomplete analogies. • Regularly present challenging analogies as sponges, parts of quizzes, or other vocabulary work. Encourage students to WRITE out their reasoning on their answers. • Be aware of metaphors you, colleagues and students use in everyday language. Share them with students and ask them to “deconstruct” the comparison. Add powerful metaphors and similes to the Poetry Wall. Examples: • Choosing an audience and purpose is like being a doctor and prescribing the right medicine for the particular problem of a certain patient. • I had to sheepdog my team, nipping at their heels to be sure the job got done. • You are the expert; your reader is dumb as a brick about your topic. • Sometimes I just want to highlight the past and press “delete.” • Provide students with examples of metaphors and similes in poetry they are reading. In small groups, have them identify the similes and metaphors and construct analogies with them. Have students write the incomplete version on the 58

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board or overhead for the rest of the class to complete. Each group will need to talk through its reasoning for its answer. • Have students create their own original metaphors and similes in their R/W Notebook for future possible use. • Technology Connections Have students create a Power Point metaphor or simile presentation. Include graphics and sound. ASSESSING THE LEARNING: Correctly complete analogies containing new or unknown vocabulary. Create metaphors and use them effectively in poetry. Complete an analogy and explain the relationship in the related words.


High School Poetry

UNIT: Poetry TOPIC: Using Poetic Devices, Lesson 18 LESSON OBJECTIVE: Students will practice strategies designed to help them compose original similes and metaphors. CORE CONTENT: RD-H 1.0.11 Analyze the effect of analogies, figurative language. RD-H 1.0.13 Interpret the following language: figurative, symbolic. WR-H 1.3 Literary Writing VOCABLARY: simile, metaphor RESOURCES AND MATERIALS: R/W Notebook TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES: •

Write on the board or overhead Burns’ famous simile: “My love is like a red, red rose.” Have students make a list of all the ways that love is comparable to a red rose. Urge them to stretch their imaginations to explore how fitting the simile is. Show the same comparison using a metaphor: “My love is a red, red rose.”

In Risking Intensity, Judith Michaels suggests the following exercise to “thrust potential images at students and give them practice in exploring possible connections between object and emotions.

1. Students begin by folding a piece of paper in three vertical columns. In the first column, they write five different emotions that they have recently experienced, one emotion on each line. 2. Then they fold this column to the back so that it is not visible when they fill in column two down the middle. In that second column, Michaels has students write five colors—basic primaries, fancy hyphenated color names such as silver-gray, or new crayola label names like lemon yellow. 3. Folding this column over, they then list five animals. Michaels also uses evocative objects such as star, door, blanket, or mirror instead of animals. 4. Students unfold the paper. As they read across, they will discover five potential metaphorical statements such as “Fear is a red door” or if they prefer five potential similes such as “Depression is like a black mirror.” Students then choose one of these five “instant” metaphors or similes and compose a short unrhymed poem, focusing only on that one emotion and its behavior, its effect on and within them. 5. Try this exercise along with the students to discover what unique comparisons you and your students will create. Encourage them to listen for worn-out similes and metaphors and avoid them


High School Poetry

On the overhead or chalkboard, write a list of common pitfalls to avoid when using comparisons. Students need to copy this list and the examples in their R/W Notebook for future reference. Possible Pitfalls in Comparisons

1. Mixed metaphors: combine terms from two different areas, sometimes creating an unintended humorous effect Example: She had eyes as deep as a well that could say . . . 2. Cliches: contain comparisons so overused that they are trite and ordinary rather than poetic Example: quiet as a mouse, black as night, pale as a ghost, 3. Overextended comparisons: drawing out an analogy to ridiculous extremes Example: One senior composed a poem entitled “Body of Friendship,” showing in each stanza how a friend is similar to a shoulder, ear, mouth, heart, arm, etc. The comparison became more like a list of body parts than a tribute to a deep friendship. 4. Excessive comparisons: a poem that piles up so many different similes that readers lose sight of the poet’s purpose. It appears, in fact, that the point of the poem is to create similes instead of to create meaning. Dorothy Parker once wrote in her review of a novel overloaded with comparisons: “If he doesn’t watch his pen, he might simile himself to death.” • Unfortunately, too many of our students seem to have just the opposite problem, so it is very important that you use similes and metaphors in your daily lessons. • TECHNOLOGY CONNECTIONS: Have students create a Power Point metaphor or simile presentation. Include graphics and sound. ASSESSING THE LEARNING: See activities above. Open Response Question “Miss Rosie”


High School Poetry

Reading Open Response Question High School “Miss Rosie” Core Content Code: RD-H 1.0.10 . RD-H 1.0.11

Reading Passage: “Miss Rosie” Glencoe Literature (Course 5) p. 638 Prompt:

Lucille Clifton uses point-of-view and metaphors to achieve particular effects in her poem “Miss Rosie.”

Instructions: A. Describe the effect that Clifton’s choice of point-of-view has on the poem. B. Discuss one metaphor and one simile that Clifton created and their effects on the sensory imagery of the poem.

Scoring Guide: Use the Kentucky General Scoring Guide for Open Response Questions Examples to look for in student responses: • Speaker is an observer, respectful, sad, protective, and admiring. • Possible metaphors/similes: wrapped up like garbage wet brown bag of a woman Georgia Rose like last week’s grocery Images evoke senses of sight, smell, and touch.


High School Poetry

UNIT: Poetry TOPIC: Organization and Coherence in Poetry, Lesson 19 LESSON OBJECTIVE: Students will learn strategies to enhance the structure and organization of their poems. CORE CONTENT: RD-H 1.0.10 Evaluate the influence of structure within a passage. WR-H 1.3 Literary Writing VOCABULARY: structure RESOURCES AND MATERIALS: Envelopes containing copies of the model poem Overhead transparency of “The Time Has Come” Sentence strip Pairs of scissors for members of the class One envelope for each class member TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES: •

Divide class members into groups of four. Give each group an envelope. In that envelope will be “The Time Has Come,” a poem (on following pages) taken from one High Novice Grade 12 Writing Portfolio used for annual scoring training. The poem, however, has been cut up into individual pieces according to its stanzas. The task of each group is to put the poem back together again in its proper order. Allow the class around ten minutes to struggle with this task.

Before discussing the results, ask students to reflect in their R/W Notebook on the strategies that they attempted to use both individually and as a group to re-assemble this poem.

Put the original copy on the overhead to see if any students duplicated the poet’s arrangement of the stanzas. Since most will probably not have been able to match the original exactly, ask for volunteers to explain why the organization of these stanzas was so problematic.

This lesson offers an ideal teachable moment to discuss problems with repetition and punctuation. Ask students to look at the end of each line of this poem. They should observe the commas used to break up simple sentences. In addition, repeating “The Time Has Come” creates an annoying, rather than an enhancing, effect. One criterion for effective poetry is economic word choice.

Write on a Sentence Strip: Spend your words the way you spend your money! Post this admonition! Ask students to think about whether they would choose to spend four dollars (The Time Has Come) a total of eight times (once per stanza) when they could have a better “product” for a fraction of that cost. It is far easier to criticize the 63

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monotonous effect of repetition in another student’s work, however, than to realize that same problem exists in our own writing. Do not get discouraged. At any opportunity, just say “The Time Has Come” and the message about repetition will be clear to the writers in your class. •

Students need to return to one of their original drafts of a poem begun in their R/W Notebook. Ask them to recopy or word process and, if desired, revise their favorite “start” on another sheet of paper, leaving at least two blank lines between each stanza or line if that poem has no stanzas. Now “the time has come” to ask members of the class to judge the “value” of the words that they have chosen. If they have repetition that leads to overkill of a phrase or line, “the time has come” to cut out the echo and strive for new, different, richer ways to communicate their theme.

Then they will use scissors to cut up their poem and put its lines or stanzas in an envelope. They are to exchange these building blocks of their poem with one partner. The classmate will attempt to put that poem back together again.

If a student has trouble re-assembling a poem, it may be an indication that the structure is not “tight” enough. The partners may even give each other a new idea for constructing the thoughts that is an even more effective structure than the writer originally created. • TECHNOLOGY CONNECTIONS: In Claris Works or a similar desktop publishing software, present the students with an electronically severed poem and ask them to manipulate the stanzas to place them in their original order.

ASSESSING THE LEARNING: See activities above.


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The Time Has Come

The time has come, for her to go. The time has come, for my love to show. The time has come, to say good bye . The time has come, for me to cry. The time has come, to set her free, The time has come, for her to leave The time has come, Just like before, For me to say, Good bye once more The time has come.


High School Poetry

UNIT: Poetry TOPIC: Use of White Space, Line Breaks, and Shape to Enhance Meaning, Lesson 20 LESSON OBJECTIVE: Students will practice various strategies for arranging a poem to enhance in order to enhance its purpose. CORE CONTENT: RD-H 1.0.14 Critque the author’s use of literary elements. WR-H 1.3 Literary Writing VOCABULARY: white space, line breaks, shape RESOURCES AND MATERIALS: Index Cards Textbook or student model of poem R/W Notebook Large sheets of colored construction paper Magic Markers Computer and Disk TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES: • Divide students into triads. Give each group one index card with a word that lends itself to a concrete poem or a visual image such as: zigzag, splash, hurricane, arch, roller coaster, rocket, valley, dripping, somersault, sprint, inflate, pillow, tears, etc. Ask each threesome to imagine how that word could be represented in a concrete form that communicates the essence of its meaning. Then the group will compose a concrete poem using magic markers and colored sheets of construction paper. • As they present their concrete poems to the class, encourage students to focus on the visual imagery. Ask students to copy each of the words presented in their poetry word bank. Display their concrete poems on the bulletin boards to inspire more fascination with powerful words. • Read aloud from your textbook or poetry anthology a poem that demonstrates the effective use of white space, line breaks, or shape to convey its meaning. (Student Model is also provided.) • Write on the overhead or board this information to help students make more intentional choices about arrangement:


High School Poetry

Tips for Organizing Poems (1) A stanza is a group of lines set apart from the rest of the poem by white space above and below. The stanza can make a long poem more inviting and give visual clues to the poem’s meaning. They tend to create a more song-like effect. (2) Lines are often used to arrange more expansive poems. Lines tend to create a sound effect more like speech when thoughts on one line spill over into the next line and a reader pauses appropriately at the punctuation rather than at the line break. Generally poets who use rhyme end their thoughts at the end of a line of poetry. •

Ask the students to go back in their R/W Notebook and reflect on how they have arranged their poem “starts”? Write the questions below on the board or overhead. Give students five to ten minutes to write about what they have discovered about their own use of arrangement: 1. Have you ever organized your poetic ideas into stanzas? Why? 2. Do you typically end your thoughts at the break of a line? Why? 3. Where in your drafts of poems have you experimented with using a poem’s shape to enhance meaning? 4. How have you attempted to use white space to enhance your poetry? 5. Do you typically center your poems or start at the left margin as you write? 6. Do you ever indent alternating lines of a poem?

Divide students into pairs to share their individual discoveries as they reflected on these questions.

Ask students to select a poem with potential that could be enhanced by rearrangement of white space, line breaks, or shape. Take that “start” from the R/W Notebook; type the draft and save it on a disk.

After the poem is word processed, tell students to experiment with its arrangement on the page, even using font or capitalization very intentionally to emphasize central meaning, not just for the sake of making a poem look bizarre on a page. Each student needs to print two copies different from each other and different from the rough draft initiated in their R/W Notebook.

They need to reflect on a separate page about the arrangement of the poem that is the most effective because of its layout on the page. • TECHNOLOGY CONNECTIONS: Create and arrange poems in Claris Works or desktop publishing software.

• ASSESSING THE LEARNING: See activities above.


High School Poetry

STUDENT MODEL This poem shows a Kentucky poet’s deliberate use of white space, line breaks, and shape in poetry.

4th and 2 The roar of the crowd, The focus on the pit, The autumn air crisp Snaps like a whip. Fourth down—two to go, A win well deserved! My sweating hands turn frigid; S C R e e e e e e C H! The whistle blows The ending of timeout. The snap! The fum B L E E E E E E. The roar, A muffled moan, The blank stare, The air turns Repugnant. As I replay the ending Endlessly.


High School Poetry

UNIT: Poetry TOPIC: Use of Strong Verbs, Lesson 21 LESSON OBJECTIVE: Students will observe the impact of well chosen verbs, both in newsprint and their own poetry. CORE CONTENT: RD-H 1.0.14 Critique the author’s word choice, style, content, use of literary elements. WR-H 1.3 Literary Writing VOCABULARY: verb RESOURCES AND MATERIALS: Sports sections from old newspapers or Sports Illustrated (not swimsuit edition) Scissors Sentence strips and magic markers Thesaurus or dictionary R/W Notebook TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES: •

Write this quotation on the board or overhead as a focus for the lesson on verbs: “Verbs blaze in the neon world of sports. Motion is sports; sports is motion. Motion with grace, motion with ragged determination and grotesque purpose, motion with drama: sports is the verb personified.” Explore Poetry by Donald Graves, p. 169

Divide students into groups of five. Distribute a stack of old Sports sections to each group. They are to go on a scavenger hunt, searching the headlines for the use of powerful verbs. One group member needs to be in charge of cutting out headlines or titles that demonstrate dynamite verbs. From the headings that have been cut out of the newspaper, the students need to select the most powerful use of an exact verb and copy that headline on a sentence strip. Encourage students to read the Sports section and bring to class headlines that showcase precise verbs, so clear and so specific that no cumbersome adverbs or modifiers are needed.

Display the sentence strips on the bulletin board as a visual reminder of precise verbs in everyday use.

Assign students to “cover” an athletic contest as a “sports reporter” with a poet’s eye. They need to focus carefully on all around them at this game.. Look at the various participants and spectators: coaches, referee or ump, parents, players, band members, or cheerleaders. Tell them to record what they see the participants in the sports drama doing, their specific actions. They should not worry so much at this point about thinking of different or precise verbs. Just record what is going on. 69

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Assign students to compose 10 (Head)lines based on details that they observed at the game. Each headline should feature a different verb that is perfectly chosen to communicate a moving picture of one moment from that game. They may use the dictionary or thesaurus to vary their verb choice. Each of these lines might become either the title or the first line of a future poem.

Tell students to find a poem in their R/W Notebook where the verbs appear wimpy compared to the power verbs that they have discovered and created in their own headlines. Offer a mini-revision lesson and time for students to reflect and refine the verbs in that poem. Put the directions for revision (which appear on the following page) on the overhead:

• TECHNOLOGY CONNECTIONS: Have the students use the internet to locate sports articles in on-line newspapers and magazines.

• ASSESSING THE LEARNING: See activities above.


High School Poetry

Revising a Poem 1. Underline all the verbs in your poem.

2. Try to eliminate or change any forms of “to be” or any linking verbs that just take up space. *is *was *seem

*are *were *feel

*be *have been or has been *appear

3. Replace any verbs that are not precise or poetic. Walk: trod, plod, amble, meander, priss, bounce, swagger, limp, etc. 4. Eliminate passive verbs whenever possible: “We are filled with fright” might become “Fright fills our minds” 5. Eliminate unnecessary adverbs. “walked happily” might become “bounced”


High School Poetry

UNIT: Poetry TOPIC: Revision Lessons for Poetry, Lesson 22 LESSON OBJECTIVE: Students will engage in directed self assessment, peer revision, and reflection on their development of skills as a poet. CORE CONTENT: WR-H 1.3 Literary Writing VOCABULARY: self assessment, peer revision, reflection

RESOURCES AND MATERIALS: Copies of Appropriate Revision Exercise for Students TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES: •

Ask students to select a poem from their R/W Notebook that demonstrates more supporting skills than any of their other drafts

Give them a form for Guided Self Assessment to spur their individual revision. Each student needs to fill out this form and bring it to your desk when you have an individual writing conference about his/her poem.

Engage in conferencing on the students’ poems. Ask each student to pose three specific questions about skills or areas where they still have concerns. Perhaps a student might need help in answering one of the self-assessment questions. Your conference will deal with skill issues such as the effectiveness of comparisons, use of sensory detail, rhythm, and format. It is NOT helpful for students to ask: 1. What should I do now? 2. How should I end this poem? 3. What grade/performance level would you give my poem?

Have all students share their polished draft with a group of two other poets in the class. They will fill out peer assessment sheets with brief comments and ratings of one (lowest) to three (highest) as an indicator of their evaluation of a classmate’s skills.

Before collecting all of the poetry for final assessment, have student volunteers to read their verses to the class. A coffee house is one fun way to accomplish this publishing.


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• EXTENSIONS/ACCOMODATIONS FOR ECE/OTHER DIVERSE LEARNERS: (See Appendix for additional extensions/accomodations.) Choose “user friendly” students to pair with ECE students so that students can remain self-confident and receive needed input at the same time. The paired student may want to read his/her poem to the ECE student and get oral feedback from them. • TECHNOLOGY CONNECTIONS: Allow students to type their poetry in a Claris Works or similar software. Use the edit features to assist in revision.

ASSESSING THE LEARNING: Create proficient poem(s) that reflect use of appropriate poetic devices, language, and revision.


High School Poetry

REVISION LESSONS: SELF ASSESSMENT AND REFLECTION Questions for a Poet to Ponder about Language 1. Which is more important to me about this poem—its rhyme and format or its meaning and purpose? Why?

2. Where is a unique phrase in my poem that packs more than one meaning?

3. Where have I used the sound of a word to communicate a specific feeling? How?

4. Where is a general word that I can still make more specific?

5. Which verbs are so precise that they can be seen and heard?

6. Where have I intentionally referred to a “common, everyday” thing in an “uncommon” way? Why?

7. What are the different images that I have introduced into my poem? Do they all fit logically together?

8. Where have I reversed the expected S-V sentence order which appears in most prose?

9. What other words or lines may be moved just like refrigerator magnet poetry to achieve the purpose of my poem?

10. Where can I eliminate any dead words that just take up space?


High School Poetry

PEER ASSESSMENT AND REVISION OF POETRY RATE YOUR FELLOW POET ON THE SCALE BELOW. 1=You attempted? 2=You Succeeded. 3=You wowed me! Write peer assessment numbers in the left column. Check 3 areas where skills most need additional revision.

Skills Demonstrated

Skills to Continue Developing

_____ 1. ESTABLISH and maintain a focused purpose (re-create a feeling, capture a moment in time, tell a story, paint a word picture, etc.)


_____ 2. COMPOSE title that captures essence of poem without revealing too much


_____ 3. SUPPLY effective sensory details to show specific images


_____ 4. INCLUDE appropriate poetic devices (simile, metaphor, allusion, alliteration, etc.)


_____ 5. CHOOSE rich language to fit specific audience and purpose


_____ 6. PROVIDE specific, relevant details to create desired mood


_____ 7. SELECT only the most precise nouns and verbs


_____ 8. DETERMINE whether rhyme or non-rhymed lines best communicate the theme/message of this poem


_____ 9. ARRANGE language using white space, line breaks, word order, punctuation, font, or shape to enhance meaning


Reader’s Questions


High School Poetry

Extensions/Accommodations for ECE and other Diverse Learners Students with disabilities may require additional accommodations. Refer to IEP (Individual Education Plan)

Organize and Structure ÿ Establish routines to insure that students have consistent opportunities to process information and to maintain an effective learning climate. • Activate prior knowledge with a written or verbal review of key concepts at the beginning of class. • Present the agenda for the lesson and task expectations verbally and in written form. • Establish well-defined classroom rules. Have students model and rehearse behavioral expectations. • Set clear time limits. Use a timer to complete tasks. • Utilize student’s peak learning times to teach important lessons. • Use verbal/nonverbal cues and frequent breaks to keep students focused. ÿ Plan and organize classroom arrangement to minimize disruptions and enhance efficiency. • Allow adequate space for effective traffic patterns, furniture, and equipment. • Arrange classroom to limit visual and auditory distractions. • Provide preferential seating (near teacher, good view of board, special chair or desk) to increase attention and reduce distractions. • Keep student’s work area free of unnecessary materials. ÿ Display and use visuals, posters, objects, models, and manipulatives to increase memory, comprehension and establish connections to core content. Examples include…. • Mnemonic devices such as COPS (Capitalization, Organization, Punctuation, Spelling). • A model of the final product before beginning an experiment, project, lab, etc. • Posters of steps for specific learning strategies (open response, writing process, formulas). ÿ Use varied student groupings to maximize opportunities for direct instruction and participation. • Use of one-on-one and small group instruction for students who require additional support. • Carefully consider student abilities, learning styles, role models, type of assignment, etc., when grouping students for cooperative learning and with peer partners. • Collaborate, co-teach, or consult with ECE, Comprehensive Teachers, etc.


High School Poetry

ÿ Prior to instruction, design and organize content to strengthen storage and retrieval of information. • Design instruction that incorporates a multi-sensory approach (visual, auditory, tactile/kinesthetic) to insure that all learning styles are accommodated. Include demonstrations, simulations, hands-on activities, learning strategies, and mnemonic devices. • Identify and focus on information critical for mastery. Determine the content students need to know (vs. what is nice to know). Organize instruction around the big ideas. • Design an agenda showing exactly what the students will learn. • Sequence presentation of content from easier to more difficult. • Prepare study guides, a copy of class notes, or graphic organizers ahead of time. Allow some students to use partially completed copies during the lesson. • Provide simplified versions of books and materials with similar content. • Design specific management procedures to insure acquisition of content and task completion using… • Planners, agendas, assignment sheets, homework/personal checklists, folders, notebooks, and/or parent notes. • Written as well as verbal cues/prompts, color-coding, symbols, picture clues.

Instruct Explicitly ÿ Present and pace explicit instruction to reinforce clear understanding of new concepts and make connections to prior learning. • Teach, model and rehearse learning strategies pertaining to the content of the lesson including organizational guides, cooperative learning skills, and memory/mnemonic devices. (KWL, Venn Diagrams, SQRW = Survey Question, Read, Write, etc.). • Introduce new concepts by clearly connecting them to prior knowledge using key vocabulary, chapter review questions, agenda, syllabus, etc. Present in both written and verbal form. • Present assignments/directions in small steps/segments. • Use short phrases, cue words, and signals to direct attention (my turn, your turn, eyes on me). • Adjust the volume, tone, and speed of oral instruction. ÿ Frequently monitor students to enhance memory, comprehension, and attention to content. • Use frequent and varied questioning strategies. Target higher order thinking skills. • Call on students by name. Restate student responses. Provide positive and corrective feedback. • Use and model ‘think aloud,’ self-questioning, problem solving, and goal setting techniques.


High School Poetry

Reduce ÿ Condense main ideas and key concepts to avoid overload and allow for developmental mastery. ÿ Modify requirements of assignments based on information critical for mastery. ÿ Provide clear, visually uncluttered handouts/worksheets. ÿ Adapt assignment and test formats. Use alternate modes such as short answer, matching, drawing, true/false, and word banks. ÿ Break tasks into manageable segments. Adjust duration of instruction and independent work. ÿ Reduce redundancy and unnecessary practice. ÿ Use activities that require minimal writing. Avoid asking students to recopy work. ÿ Adjust amount/type of homework and coordinate assignments with other teachers. ÿ Provide credit for incremental learning.

Emphasize and Repeat ÿ Use repeated practice/targeted cues to increase retention of essential concepts and to develop ability to monitor own learning. ÿ Provide frequent, but short, extra practice activities in small groups. ÿ Have student read/drill aloud to self or peer partner. ÿ Highlight text or use coding methods for key concepts. ÿ Use bound notebooks and/or learning logs to store vocabulary, facts, references, and formulas. ÿ Allow students guided practice and test taking strategies before assessments. ÿ Frequently restate concepts/directions using short phrases. ÿ Use computer activities, games, and precision teaching drills for practice activities instead of worksheets.

Motivate and Enable ÿ Enhance opportunities for academic success to remediate faulty learning/thinking cycles and to reduce failure. ÿ Create unique learning activities including skills, posters, clay models, panoramas, dramatizations, etc. (see textbook manuals for alternative activities). ÿ Offer students choices of topics/projects and alternative methods to demonstrate knowledge (oral tests/presentations, illustrations, cooperative groups, etc.). ÿ Allow flexible timelines for assignment completion, homework, and testing with retakes. ÿ Consider the students learning styles when designing extent of involvement in a learning activity. 78

High School Poetry

ÿ Extend time for students to process ideas/concepts, which are presented in lectures/discussions. ÿ Use technology such as taped text, word processors, scanners, and audio feedback software. ÿ Provide spare material and supplies. ÿ Provide personal word lists/spelling aids for written assignments. ÿ Adjust grading procedures to reflect individual goals, only correct answers, and percent of completed work. Allow extra credit projects to bring up grades.

ÿ Enhance opportunities for behavioral success to reduce frustration and confusion. ÿ Increase positive comments and student interactions (make 3 positive statements for every one negative statement). ÿ Use positive and specific verbal/nonverbal praise. Provide immediate feedback. ÿ Review rules regularly. Provide varied rewards and consequences. ÿ Maintain close physical proximity to students especially during independent work sessions. ÿ Alert students several minutes before transitions occur. ÿ Use personal contracts and goal setting which match the student’s needs, interests, and abilities. ÿ Teach self-monitoring skills using progress charts/reports. Gradually wean students from artificial incentives. ÿ Maintain regular communication with parents.

References Rief, Sandra and Heimburge, Julie, How to Reach and Teach all Students in the Inclusive Classroom (1996). Hawthorne Educational Services, Inc., The Pre-Referral Intervention Manual (1993). Choate, Joyce, Successful Inclusive Teaching (1997). Winebrenner, Susan, Teaching Kids with Learning Difficulties in the Regular Classroom (1996). Inspiration Software, Inc., (1999), Phillips, Vickie and McCullough, Laura, SST/Staff Support Teams (1993). Moll, Anne, Collaborative Strategies, (2001). Adapted from Student/Staff Support Teams, Phillips, McCullough 1993 and Collaborative Strategies, Mall (2001)


High School Poetry


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