"This is Just to Say"...the Seven Sins and Virtues (Day 1 of 2)

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SWBAT determine the meaning of figurative language by analyzing the sins and virtues in “This Is Just To Say” by W. Carlos Williams and “C’mon Pigs of Western Civilization Eat More Grease” by Allen Ginsberg.

Big Idea

Decisions, decisions, decisions! Students examine figurate language and identifying tone and mood in two poems.

Let's Get Started: What are the seven deadly sins?

10 minutes

As the students enter the room, I ask them to sit with the groups they were in yesterday. This is a short unit, so I am keeping them in these groups.  When we begin our next unit on Othello, they will get new groups. I don't want them to spend time chatting up new group members. The should already be comfortable with the people at their table. 

Once everyone is in their seats, I turn on the intro to the seven deadly sins PowerPoint. The question on the board is "What are the seven deadly sins?(If you don't know, guess) and Why are they deadly? The sins and virtues are a fun topic.  Also most students are somewhat familiar with them and the are easy to explain.  Generally, students can provide an example of each sin and virtue from their own experience either personal or from an observation. The sins are virtues are clear dichotomies.  By using the sins and virtues to frame our discussion of "This is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams, I can ease students into the concept of dichotomy which is be a central point of analysis in their Othello unit (L 9-10. 5).

I give them about three minutes to write them down.  And then I ask them to share a sin and why it is deadly. When one of them, chooses a deadly sin, I write it on the smart board until all the sins are listed. Next we discuss why the sins are deadly (SL.9-10.1). 

Building Knowledge: Defining and embracing the sins and virtues of our community

20 minutes

I have seven tables in my room, so the students are divided not seven groups.  I put up the slide that lists the seven sins and virtues in pairs:

—Lust   Chastity
—Gluttony  Temperance
—Greed  Charity
—Sloth  Diligence
—Wrath  Forgiveness
—Envy  Kindness
—Pride  Humility
Next to each pair is a corresponding number. I tell them that each group is responsible for defining one sin and one virtue.  I pass out a plan white paper.  I tell them to fold it hotdog style in three sections. In the top section, they write the pair of words that their group has to define.  I give them a few minutes to use their phones to look up the words.  Next they share the definitions with the class.
After sharing the definitions, I want to do an activity that will help them create examples and explore these dichotomies in their world.  First, they write the sin in the middle section of the paper and the virtue in the last section of the paper.  It is time to move around the room.  I tell the students to visit each table and write an example of each sin and virtue. They leave the paper at their table and walk around the room, writing examples of sins and virtues in the designated sections.  I tell them if their example is already taken, then put a star by it.  
Once they return to their original groups, I have them report out on the examples on their papers: chastity and lustenvy and kindnesspride and humility, greed and charitysloth and diligence,  wrath and forgivenessgluttony and temperance, and pride and humility
Finally, I pass out to them the written response to two poems (SL 9-10. 1) .  The first question asks, which sin/virtue has a significant impact on you?  I give them time to write a response (W.9-10.10).  


Building Knowledge: Tone and Mood in "This is Just to Say"

40 minutes

Next, we transition to the two poems they read for homework.  In this section, they take notes on literary devices and how they function in a text and write their individual responses to the poems on the written response to two poems handout.  Specifically, they will analyze the narration, tone and mood of "This is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams (RL 9-10 4).  I choose this poem because it is short and seems straight forward. However the more students read and discuss it, the more complex it becomes.  Also it fits well with the idea of sins and virtues. 

The students work in groups to answer these questions in their notes: 

—What does the title mean? 
—What is the literal meaning of the poem?
—What is tone?
—What is mood?

 The class has already studied narration and tone, so I also give them a definition of mood to include in their notes.  

Mood defined: mood is a literary element that evokes certain feelings or attitudes in the audience through words and description—also called atmosphere.

I ask them the difference between tone and mood.  I tell them to write the difference in their notes along with the answers to the questions.  I take volunteers to answer the questions about the poem. Their responses must include textual evidence (SL 9-10 4). 

The next two questions allow them to write explanations on their handout. The first question is consider “This is Just to Say”, what sins or virtues manifest in this poem?  I encourage them to discuss the question with their groups and then write their individual responses. 

The second question is how sincere is the narrator?  Use evidence from the poem to support your position (RL.9-10.1).  

After the students write their answers.  I take a couple of volunteers to share with the class. 

Returning to their notes, I ask them to include the following information.

Who is the narrator?

  First Person

  Third Person: omniscient or limited

Who is the narrator talking to? 

What is the subject?

What is the tone? 

What is the mood?

What is the difference between mood and tone?

I take volunteers to answer the questions and write them on the smartboard so they can copy them into their notes.  

I want them to have clear definitions of literary devices with class-generated examples. I know the students have a difficult time remembering the subtle differences between some literary terms.  I think if they can reference something they read themselves they will better understand the function of the literary element. The majority of this class with take AP Literature as seniors, they need a solid foundation in literary devices and how they function in a text. 


Building Knowledge: Allusion in "C'mon Pigs of Western Civilization Eat More Grease"

10 minutes

Now I want to prep them for the next class.  We will continue to look at poetry, specifically, "C'mon Pigs of Western Civilization Eat More Grease" by Allen Ginsberg.  As a class , we read outloud, "C'mon Pigs of Western Civilization Eat More Grease." I take volunteers to read each stanza.  Next, I tell them to answer the last question on the handout for homework:  

—Consider “C’mon Pigs of Western Civilization Eat More Grease”, what sins or virtues manifest in this poem? Use evidence from the poem to support your position.
Finally, I answer any clarifying questions about the homework. Questions about the poem will have to wait until the next class.  I want them to spend some time working with it on their own.  I want to see what they come up with. When we discuss the poem in class, we will look at allusions as well as tone. 

Closing: What's next?

5 minutes

I collect their handout as an exit ticket.  I tell them we will finish taking notes and discussing "Pigs" during the next class.