Comparing and Contrasting Ballads and Free Verse

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Students will be able to describe similarities and differences in ballads and free verse by discussing and creating a Venn diagram.

Big Idea

Ballads vs. free verse = rules vs. no rules

Daily Grammar

10 minutes

For the last couple of weeks, we've been doing the bellwork as a competition on Wednesdays and Thursdays.  (I see two of my classes on Wednesday and the other three classes on Thursday due to our modified block schedule.) 

The rules are that students have to work together in their groups.  The first group to get all the corrections gets a punch on their punch card.

The run-on sentence in the first paragraph was the one that gave them trouble today.  They didn't readily recognize that "Let's go there" was the start of a new sentence.

Today's teaching moment came in the dialogue.  The dialogue is "It pains me to say it, Fiona, but I'm afraid the British are either unwilling or unable to help us."  The dialogue tag interrupts the dialogue, but that means that the second set of quotation marks doesn't start a new sentence.  It continues the sentence, so the "but" isn't capitalized. 

Comparing and Contrasting Free Verse and Ballads

30 minutes

We spent a bit of time comparing two types of poetry--free verse and ballads.  After we talk about sonnets, we'll compare all three using one of those fancy Venn diagrams with not two, but three circles.  Fun!

I asked for three volunteers to write on the board.  One person would record the details for free verse, one person was responsible for ballads, and one person was responsible for similarities.  I also chose two students to be the spelling helpers.  Those students sat near the board to avoid the inevitable yelling of "THAT'S NOT HOW YOU SPELL IAMBIC!"  In fourth hour, I gave that task to one student who participates quite a bit, so this gave her an outlet.

We started with free verse, with the example of George Ella Lyon's "Where I'm From."  The first rule that both classes came up with is that free verse doesn't have to rhyme.  Beyond that, there are no rules.  You can do whatever you want. 

Ballads, after spending two days on them, was also quite easy.  They have quatrains, an ABCB (or ABAB) rhyme scheme, are written in iambic triameter and iambic tetrameter.  They show dramatic, comic, or heroic stories.

The similarities, surprisingly, was a bit more difficult. It took them awhile to make the connection that figurative language shows up in both free verse and poems.  Once they made that connection, they readily identified all the types of figurative language that both could use.

Creating Clock Appointments

10 minutes

I love my random group generator.  It works great when you want to place students in groups of three or more.  But when you want pairs of students, something called clock appointments work better. 

I learned about clock appointments at a conference I attended a few years ago in Colorado, put on by Adams County School District 50.  It allows you to create random pairs while also giving students some choice in who they work with.  

Each student gets a half-sheet of paper with the times of a clock on it.  They go up to someone else, ask if they have x o'clock free, and if both students have it free, they write each others names down.  Repeat until your clock is filled.   If a student is absent, I play the role of that student in order to get their appointments set up.

Then, when I want students to work with a partner, I can say that we are working with 3:00 or 5:00 or 9:00 appointments. 

I collect the completed clocks and create a master copy.  There's invariably one student who completes the clock wrong, four or five students who don't have a completed clock, and at least three students who will lose their clocks.  Creating a master allows for none of those things to matter.  I can fix the ones who do it wrong, and set up appointments for the students who didn't get a completed clock.

Creating a Ballad Poster

30 minutes

We used clock appointments for the first time today!  Everyone had a 12:00 appointment, so we used that time.

Their task today was to create a better ballad resource sheet than I gave them. The resource sheet I gave them was dense, wordy, and not horribly aesthetically pleasing.  Their job was to take all that information and create a poster for it.  All four criteria of a ballad needed to be included with examples from the Jabberwocky.

Today their job was to brainstorm layout and ideas for examples on a rough draft.   Tomorrow they would be creating the final draft.

Lesson Resources

Today's lesson picture was created with the SmartArt tool in PowerPoint.