This lesson combines the summative assessment on the Modernist poetry covered in class and it gives students an opportunity to explicate their own poem. I find that students are really intimidated by poetry. I find it difficult myself. I am trying to get them to do what I do when I have to teach a poem: read it several times, research it, and deconstruct the structure of it. Then, teach it to the class. They will essentially do all of these things. My goal is for them to see poetry as something approachable and not as an obscure literary form with no meaning.
I put two sentences with grammatical mistakes on the projector or overhead. The class then writes the sentences on paper. I solicit the class to volunteer which errors they see. This example focuses on streamlining writing by getting rid of unnecessary words and properly making words plural. This activity is CCSS aligned as it requires students to demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. The challenge in teaching this lesson lies in the fact that students sometimes do not seem to think that wordiness is necessarily a bad thing. I explain to them that prose, similar to poetry, should have a rhythm. Sometimes, too many words that mean the same thing create a disconnect with the reader. Writing should be in a straight line in order to achieve perfection in communication.
I use the attached link to show the SAT Question of the Day on the projector. I engage students in a whole-class discussion on finding strategies to answer the question. The subject matter of the question of the day changed daily; however, I advise students that there are probably a handful of grammatical topics that they should master. These topics include the following: pronoun/antecedent agreement, subject/verb agreement, parallel structure, the comma splice, active/passive voice, and of course, vocabulary usage.
I will give students a test on Modernist Poetry. Depending on the level of class, I will allow students to use their reflections from the day before to answer the essay on the test.
The test was constructed to be aligned to the CCSS. I re-wrote the test to rely less on recall questions and import more emphasis on applying knowledge. Many test questions require students to interpret lines of poetry, assess tone from words, and draw conclusions. Additionally, they will rely on information learned during lectures on poetry in order to apply that information in interpreting a line or passage from a poem.
In this part of the lesson, I want students to have an opportunity to explicate a poem by themselves using available resources. I divide students into collaborative learning groups for this project because I want them to discuss the poems and search for themes and other poetic devices.
Each student group will consist of about three students depending on the size of the class. I will have students import their explication into a PowerPoint of Prezi so that they may teach their poem to class. Students will be able to use an online search to find reputable sources that analyze their poem.
Groups will take notes on all the poems. An open notebook test will follow all presentations. The purpose of this part of the assignment is to make sure students are paying attention.
I tried to chose a variety poems to interest students during presentations. I am familiar with these poems and felt that I would be able to add detail to the presentations when needed. Additionally, because I am familiar with them, I could easily assist students while they were explicating their assigned poem. This assignment essentially requires students to apply the knowledge that they learned in this unit.
We will be visiting the computer lab for two days so that students may work on their explication, research, and importing into a PowerPoint or Prezi.