Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Poetry is.... - Section 3: Partners Preview a sampling of poetry books


The students were very engaged in this lesson and liked sharing the poetry books at their tables.  Prior to the start of this unit,  I went to the  Central Public Library in downtown Seattle and checked out lots of different kinds of poetry books for students to examine.  I love making visits to this library- it is an amazing space.  Visits to the Central library allow me to expand my world both in the form of gathering resources and to interact with cross-section of people. Like stratigraphy: layers of diversity exist at the library. Watching my students devour the books of poetry, with the wide range of genres and topics represented was rewarding. 

I wanted to get a sense of students' background knowledge of poetry.  So, I created the questionnaire to find out more about their knowledge of kinds of poems, topics that poems are written about, how they feel about poetry (why it is important) and the different forms poetry can take on the page. Also since they were actively engaged with exploring poetry books, my intent with the questionnaire was for students to continue to develop their conceptual understanding of poetry as a genre.

Compiled Student Responses

One student answered Question 2. 'What kinds of things do people write poems about?' by writing, "About everything and anything".  I designed the first activity as a student led inquiry because I wanted the students to be doing the talking and the comparing and contrasting about what they were discovering.  Talking with each other about the questions structured this activity and gave me the information I was looking for.  

I found out that most of my students have considerable background knowledge and a strong foundation concerning the genre of poetry.  I learned that I need to focus the lessons on how to read and understand different kinds of poems at the literal level first, and then move to the inferential using  a gradual release model.

Focusing on vocabulary development will be a priority.  I will continue to teach how to figure out words on the go using substitution strategies.


  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Student Work
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Poetry is....

Unit 10: Oh Me! Oh Life! Reading Poetry
Lesson 1 of 13

Objective: SWBAT develop a conceptual understanding of poetry as a genre through discussions based on observations.

Big Idea: “The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size.” - Albert Einstein

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