Reflection: Student Ownership Socratic Seminar: Losing Season by Jack Ridl - Section 2: Socratic Seminar


I was really excited by how much the students enjoyed this book.   Prior to diving into individual poems, we talked for a few minutes about their experience reading the book, talking about how reading a book of poems is a lot like listening to a new music album—there are some you start and read carefully to the end because you’re so into the content, some you read through to the end and think “meh,” and others that you read a few lines and skip to the next one.   I agreed with them, because that is exactly what happens when reading a book of poetry!  This is one of those times when it would be easy to slip into righteous teacher mode, but in fact this kind of honesty, I think, encourages more reading, because they know that they can enjoy it in this way—its’ okay to do that.

The conversations on the poems were largely about themes and how they could relate in some way to what was being said, or empathize with the characters.  They talked a lot about themes regarding the different players, and how each player has their own unique emotional space hidden from view to some extent.  I asked about the coach and how he fits in (they were funny because they read all the coach ones from a player’s point of view, relating the poems to things their own coach probably thought);  I had to probe a little to get to the idea that coach is more consumed by the team than the players, and just as emotional and oblivious to others’ emotions as the students are.  This got us to a whole new theme regarding the interaction of students and adults around a school (and basketball team).    There was a whole other string of ideas regarding the town—the adults around the team, but not part of it—that suggested a theme regarding the interaction between a community and high school sports. 

Unfortunately, due to a lack of time, I never got to use the video portion of the lesson (as it turned out, we had a short class due to standardized testing going on in the school and therefore a modified schedule).  I don't think I will get to it this year, given the schedule we're on, but hope to use it next year to expand this discussion, since the students really responded well to the book.

Given that this is a “light” unit to have some academic fun after reviewing for the test for a few weeks, it was a strong discussion.  While we are moving on to using these poems and this book as a creative writing prompt, I learned that I can, in fact, teach a book of poetry successfully!

  Successfully Teaching a Book of Poetry
  Student Ownership: Successfully Teaching a Book of Poetry
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Socratic Seminar: Losing Season by Jack Ridl

Unit 14: Mini-Unit: Reading and Writing Poetry
Lesson 1 of 5

Objective: SWBAT recognize multiple inter-connecting themes within a book of poetry by a single author.

Big Idea: Just like a novel or non-fiction prose, a book of poetry has multiple interlocking themes to explore.

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losing season
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