Poetry: Assonance

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SWBAT describe how words and phrases have rhythm and interpret their meaning.

Big Idea

How do sound devices affect the rhythm of poetry ? Students identify and apply techniques of vowel sound repetition to create internal rhymes within phrases or sentences.

Introduction to Assonance

20 minutes

     I begin this lesson with the definition of assonance on my Assonance Flip Chart:  the repetition of similar vowel sounds within syllables.  We analyze the examples provided on the chart and student feedback serves as formative assessments of their ability to grasp this concept. Their feedback consist of Reciprocal Teaching of Assonance, which I ask students to explain a sample assonance to the class as shown on the  flip chart. In order to teach this concept to the class, students must decontextualize and analyze the sample texts.  Brainstorming discussions among students also serve to clarify concepts. I believe that persevering and making sense of a new knowledge is the crux of Common Core.  I try not to front-load my students with too much information because I want them to develop strategies to solve complex problems.  As students find ways to diminish barriers towards their goals, they gain motivation and perseverance. 

     This lesson allows students to interact with new knowledge by analyzing sample poems collaboratively for better understanding. This type of poetry accentuates that vowel repetition affects the rhythm of the poem through internal rhyme in sentences and phrases.  Students hear and see from poetry reading and writing of assonance that the structure of words and phrases add to the rhythm and meaning of text. 

    To engage students in this lesson, I downloaded a silent Video: Grammar Photostory on Assonance with subtitles that student watch about Assonance.  This video captures students' attention and commands them to focus on the text explaining the purpose of assonance as a poetic device.  I find that students are drawn to creative ways that videos present information. Once they are engaged, they consume new knowledge presented in the movie clip.   This captivating video serves that purpose.

    My flip chart also contains a Video: Assonance in Songs that decontextualizes assonance as literary devices in songs.  This video clip may serve as real world examples of assonance that students are aware of in their musical surroundings.  My students are familiar with the songs on the video, as shown when they were singing along with the lyrics-they already knew all the words to the songs. However, teachers can use judgement about the level of maturity of students in their class prior to showing this video.  I recommend always previewing videos and having a conversation with students about their familiarity with its content.  The video clip is only as effective as how it is received by its audience.

Create Your Own

20 minutes

     Students work in pairs and create their own sample of poetry that displays assonance. I distribute materials:  construction paper, crayons, dictionary, samples of assonance in poetry, etc. for students to use as tools to create their poems.  Pairing students keep the conversation focused and maximizes collaboration by encouraging partner discussions through feedback, suggestions, brainstorming, etc.  Students study sample poems and use them as inspiration for their own creation.  I also provide digital tools such as laptops and downloaded videos and articles for students to discuss and research this type of poetry with their partners.  Collaborating with their partners, students discuss ideas, themes, moods, etc. that they would like to translate to their reader through their poetry.  Once students discuss their plan of writing with their partners, they begin to create their poems. This type of collaborative discussion and planning give ownership and allow them to problem solve with each other.  Teachers are not front loading information, but instead promoting independence.

Poetry Reading

20 minutes

     Students share their work through Poetry Reading to the class. In this section of the lesson, the emphasis is not only on the use of assonance as poetic device, but also in the poetry reading itself.  I tell students that poetry should invoke emotion to listeners or readers.  I use an Oral Presentation Rubric to encourage students to incorporate specific strategies in their poetry reading that incorporates volume, oral clarity, preparedness, enthusiasm, and rate o speech.  The rubric rates student performance both qualitatively and quantitatively.  It is important for students to understand performance expectations and receive feedback from teachers and peers on how to accomplish expected outcomes.