Writing in Plain Style: Crafting a Personal Philosophy Poem

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SWBAT express understanding of conceit and poetic structure by composing a poem mimicking Puritan Plain Style

Big Idea

An expression of belief in poetic form: Puritan plain style poems profess what the poet holds dear.

Introduction & Welcome: Happy Grandparents Day!

8 minutes

We open class with a welcome to "Grandparents Day," as I return students' Puritan Plain Style Rough Drafts to them. As always, Daily Holidays serve to build a sense of community, openness, and trust in the classroom, especially early in the school year as teachers and students are still "feeling out" the classroom climate and communication styles. 

I direct the students' attention to their rough drafts. I ask them to take a few minutes to look over my comments, and then ask them to pack up their materials and head to the computer lab we will be in today. 


Plain Writing: Time to Compose a Final Copy of a Poem

40 minutes

Students spend today in the computer lab composing their final copies of the Puritan Plain Style poem they have written. Through this poem, written for the purpose of expressing a belief each student holds (W.9-10.4), students demonstrate an understanding of how Puritan poets utilize directly stated meaning, simple diction, and references to everyday objects, as well as poetic devices such as conceit, in order portray meaning and tone (W.9-10.3d), and to focus their writing on one central belief (W.9-10.3a). 

Using the feedback provided on their rough drafts (see the section "Drafting a Plain Style Poem" of the lesson "Explicating Housework"), students are revising and trying a new approach as appropriate for their work (W.9-10.5), using the available technology to publish their final copies, with appropriate font and graphics as desired (W.9-10.6). (Student Examples .pdf)

While they work, I circulate the lab, reading over shoulders, answering questions, clarifying the feedback I gave on the drafts, and helping structure the poems. 

We are spending the day in the computer lab composing the final copy of the poem in order to for students to have an opportunity to ask any questions they may have, for me to provide additional focus or clarification, and for students to check with their peers for advice or critique of their work. 


Two Minute Warning: Homework Reminders

2 minutes

With two minutes remaining, I ask students to finish their revisions, turn in the final copies of their poems, and log off and straighten up their computer area.. I remind students that we will be back in the regular classroom tomorrow, and they should finish writing the list of  list of 5-10 virtues they feel are important to have in life, and explain why each one is important (see "Two-Minute Warning" in the lesson "Analyzing Imagery of Wrath and Redemption"). Through this list of virtues, students can begin looking ahead to The Enlightenment and considering the similarities and differences in the content and expression of the authors. Additionally, students can begin to see how Franklin's autobiography is effectively a "lab report," as he presents a hypothesis, tests it, and comes to a conclusion, and the students will be analyzing how this process develops over the course of the text