Analyzing Poetry: The Human Experience in Rhythm (2 of 2)

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SWBAT determine a theme of a text and analyze how an author's choice in structuring the text helps create certain effects by deconstructing a poem.

Big Idea

Can we apply analytical skills to poetry?

Warm Up

5 minutes

Yesterday's lesson was so awesome that I was inspired to extend to two days.  Yesterday, students really focused on analyzing "Out, Out-" through a reader's response lens.  They worked on annotating each line of the poem.  Today, students will add a critical lens to their analysis.  We will continue working with "Out, Out-" and will add a layer of complexity to our analysis. 

For today's warm up, students will be asked to get out their annotated poems and write for five full minutes.  I'm not going to give them a specific prompt.  Rather, I will just ask them to read the poem, read their annotations and write.  Students might struggle to come up with something to write at first, but I think they will begin to put their thoughts together in academic language (W.9-10.10).  

I ask students to do this because I want them to work on drawing conclusions, which is one of the Missouri Standards that is heavily assessed and that students traditionally do poorly on.  I think students aren't given enough time to just write some conclusions on their own without being led to them, and I want them to practice that skill during this brief warm up.    

Mini Lesson

10 minutes

Yesterday, I modeled a reader's response analysis for the poem.  Today, I will put the poem back up on the Smartboard and model annotating with a critical frame, focusing on syntax and structure, on the poem (RL.9-10.5).  I will annotate the first 6 lines of the poem and note how those first six lines are actually two sentences.  I will ask students to consider reading poetry like reading prose.  I will ask questions like, "How do these two sentences function?" "How do they contribute to the beginning of the poem?" "Do the two sentences have anything in common?"    I will explain that those first two sentences (first six lines) introduce our setting, similar to the setting in prose.  I will do multiple aloud readings not pausing at the end of each line, but rather, only pausing at the end of each sentence.  

Student Work Time

15 minutes

Students will be adding to their annotations with a different colored pen/pencil than they used the day before.  It will be important that they use a different color because I want them to see how much deeper their thinking can be when they reread the same text multiple times.  Instead of reading their poem line by line, students will begin reading it paying attention to punctuation.  After the reading, students will annotate the text by sentence, rather than line.  I will ask them to create some annotations for each sentence answering some basic syntax analysis questions that will be posted on the board.  Is the sentence short, medium or long? How does the sentence function? What does it add to the poem?  How does the punctuation alter the rhythm/packing of the poem? How would the poem change if it was eliminated?  Here is an example of an annotated text with Reader Response in pencil and Critical Response in green.  

When students get to line 27 which begins with a one word sentence, I will ask students to stop and I'll give them a little direction.  I'll ask students to draw on previous learning/lessons examining shifts in text.  I am going to ask the students to answer this question, "How does this purposeful, one word sentence shift this poem."  Students will return to their group and come up with a possible answer to the text.  The standard RL 9-10.5 asks students to evaluate how an author's choices in structuring the text creates effects.  I want students to understand that the one word sentence shifts the text from caring about this young boy's character into a detached, cold attitude about the boy's death.  If students can explain that shift, I will be happy! 


15 minutes

For closure to this two day lesson, I am going to ask students to watch a video from Favorite Poem Project describing how important the poem is to a woman's life.  The film has two purposes.  One, it is good for students to see poetry being an important factor in someone's life.  Two, it comments on the themes of Loss of Innocence and Courage which is what we've been working on for two weeks now. After viewing the film, I am going to ask the students to answer the following question and turn it in: "Identify one theme in Frost's poem, "Out, Out-" and use text evidence to explain how the theme is illuminated in the poem.  Also, explain how Frost structures the poem and how that structure helps the reader understand the text."