So, today* was the day that we have been waiting for...the students presented their poems and "taught" them to the class. Since I split the presentations over two days, the students did not have to sit through 60+ minutes of poetry discussions. However, they did have to take some notes. I instructed them to write down some brief notes on the three aspects of narrative poetry on which we are focusing: story, narrator, and structure. The goal that I set for the lesson was that students would continue to construct their understanding of how the elements of narrative poetry work together to form a cohesive whole.
While the presentations were not really polished, the students did a decent job with the PowerPoints, so their classmates could get some good notes. The only part of the lesson that I really thought was disappointing was the performances. I didn't preview their performances, and the students didn't do a great job preparing. Listening to a student read slowly and without appropriate enthusiasm or inflection can really detract from the impact of the poem. That said, I think the students who performed "felt" the reaction of their classmates, so hopefully, they will do a better job of preparing in the future.
All in all, the activity was successful -- especially the group work analyzing the poem for the three elements. That work was good and meaningful; perhaps requiring the presentations without a lot of extra time to prepare was a tall order.
* Logistical Notes: These presentations were enacted over two days, with three groups performing, per day. Because I have classes of 28 students, I formed six groups of four and five. For all of our sakes, I planned for each group to present for about 5-7 minutes, and I factored in some transition times with set up and pulling up documents, etc.
To wrap up the class and give something for students to think about, I just gave them a five-minute exit ticket about structure in poetry.