Lesson: Responding to Poetry in Writing

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to answer questions about a poem to summarize the main idea. They will also identify points of interest and confusion.

Lesson Plan

Connection (3-5 mins): Yesterday we learned how to uncover the meaning of poetry.  We will continue with this idea today.  One thing I love about poetry is that I can read a poem and think it means something completely different than someone else thinks.  Poetry is a great way to be creative and express what you like.  Today we will focus on responding to poetry in order to determine what we like or dislike about certain poems or how they make us feel.

Teach/Active Engagement (10-12 mins):  When we read poems, it is important to have questions in our mind as we read.  This helps us determine the meaning of the poem, parts we like, and places where we are confused.  We are going to focus on four questions during this lesson. 

1.    What, in one sentence, is this poem about?
2.    What parts of the poem do you like and why?
3.    What parts of the poem confuse you?  Were you able to discover the meaning at these places?
4.    What does this poem make you think about?

Teacher reads aloud poem below.  I think this poem is about the different ways night can be represented in the world.  I think this because each stanza has a different description of night.  Turn and tell your partner in one sentence what you think this poem is about.  Remember to use our sentence starter: “I think this poem is about _____ because _____”. 

Students should turn and talk to discuss the answer to the question.  Teacher may call on students to share out their responses.  Great work.  I like how each of you had different reasons for why you thought the poem was about a certain topic. 

Let’s move on to the second two questions.  Turn and tell your partner what you like about this poem and what confuses you about this poem.  Remember you may need to reread the poem with your partner to make sure the ideas are fresh in your mind.  Students turn and talk.  Teacher calls on students to hear responses and facilitate dialogue. 

You are all such bright thinkers.  Now you have had a chance to respond to poetry with your partner I am going to challenge you to do the same at your seats today during workshop time.  But this is not a skill you will only use today, each time you read a poem you should think of these questions in your head.  Readers, stop and think each time they read to make sure they are understanding and discovering meaning in their reading.

Gently laps the sea.
The black rocks glisten wet.
Moonlight silvers the sand,
And the gulls are quiet.

Night.  Ice in the air.
Trees silhouetted, stark, straight.
Branches like ragged birds,
So still, so black.

Beyond the dark rocks
Stretching shingle to the sea,
Patches of blue mud
And pools of silver.

Night. Ice in the water.
Great Neptune sleep
And in the cold, cold deep,
All is still, all is black.

Independent Reading (15-20 mins): Students return to their seats.  Each student will receive another poem, similar to the poem read in class.  They will be expected to read this poem and respond to the four questions from the lesson.  These questions are found on the exit slip for the lesson.  If students finish before workshop time is over, they may read independently from their poetry packets, practicing the skill in their own reading.  Teacher should conference with students and help those who may struggle with certain vocabulary in the poem.

Exit Slip/Share (3-5 mins): Students complete four questions about the poem they read for the day.  This will be collected at the end of the lesson to use as an indicator of mastery.  Students may also share their responses if time.

Reflection: This lesson is one that I repeatedly use throughout the year to refresh students memory of poetry after the unit.  A simple change of the poem used is a great way to use this template for the exit slip repeatedly.  Students could also complete the exit slip in partnerships or groups if reading levels were varied in the classroom.

Lesson Resources

Responding to Poetry Exit Slip   Activity


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