Picturing a "Spring Storm"

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SWBAT...describe the comparisons being made in the poem "Spring Storm" and their effect on the readers.

Big Idea

Poets use comparisons to influence a reader's mood and perspective. By identifying the similes and metaphors in the poem we can determine what the poet is trying to say.

Creating the Purpose

5 minutes

I begin the lesson by writing the words "SPRING SEASON" on the board.  I write the word season after it because I don't want them to confuse the multimeanings of the word "spring"  and then ask students to give descriptions of this season.  I write ideas below the word.

I then write "STORM" on the board and ask for the same and write them below the word.

I write "SPRING STORM" on the board and project a picture of a Spring Storm on the board. I ask them how they would describe it? The picture helps because some students can't relate to the difference between a spring storm and a winter storm and it shows a depiction of a storm that is similar to the one described in the poem. Their responses vary a bit from both descriptions given before and I write the new description of this phrase below.

I have their interest so I now introduce that a poet named Jim Wayne Miller wrote a poem entitled "Spring Storm" in which he used metaphors to make comparisons in his description of a a storm that happened in the springtime. Today you are going to read it and describe the comparisons he made and how they affected you, the reader. 


Guiding the Learning

15 minutes

In that students are going to have to identify more than one form of figurative language I use the pictures to help them activate their prior knowledge and build conceptual understanding of the poems illustrative words.

I keep the Spring Storm picture on the board and ask students how the picture of the storm makes them feel. After taking responses I tell them that this is the mood of the picture and the words they used to describe their feelings can create this same mood in poetry.

I ask share that I can use their descriptions to create a dangerous mood by writing "The storm was an enormous grey blanket being pulled across the sky". I ask them to identify what other form of figurative language I am using? If they don't see the personification being used I give a short lesson here to activate this too because they will need to know this for the poem evaluation.  

I then tell them that spring storms are short weather cycles and that they come and go quicker than winter storms. I replace the original picture with the Spring Storm with Rainbow and ask them to describe what they see? After the rainbow, sun and clearing day are identified I ask them what mood this picture creates for the readers? I take responses and again share that writers and poets can use these same descriptive words to create this mood.

This time I ask students think of a metaphor they can use to describe the rainbow and how they can use their words to create a mood for their readers. I have them write an example on their write boards. They are then asked to turn and share them with their partners, and the partners need to identify the comparison being made and the mood created by it.

I call on three to share with the class and we all guess the mood and comparison being made. This exercise allows everyone to not only practice metaphor writing but also to think about creating the mood for their readers. The partnered discussions lets them create, share and identify - three lessons in one! 


Independent Learning

20 minutes

I introduce them to the poem "Spring Storm evaluation" worksheet and leave both pictures posted so that they can have both a visual and written reference to the theme of the poem.

I read it once aloud to model how to use expressions and to build understanding. I review the expectations for the worksheet completion. With this group I had to model the first comparison to ensure they knew what to do and then to leave my comparison on the board for reference. I asked who is the "he" in the poem referring to?  I had to prod further to say what is the poem about before they made the connection that the he = storm.  I then asked what does the first stanza say the storm is doing?  Who is he acting like? Are there any other comparisons being made in this stanza? and what two types of figurative language are being used?

I then write "storm is being compared to my brother rushing out of the house" and "screen door slamming is being compared to the sound of thunder"   

I set the timer for 15 minutes and have students work independently because I want to see who can apply this knowledge to poetry and who is still struggling with it.

I let those who finish early turn over their papers and create an illustration of the mood of the poem so that those who are slower or struggle can have time to finish. This also lets them apply the knowledge they have of the mood to their drawings - another option I have used is to have them choose one comparison and create a drawing of it that describes both the comparison being made and the mood it creates.

Closing the Loop

5 minutes

Sharing time! I have them come together and ask a few to share their comparisons identified in the poem.

I close by asking, "How did the author influence the readers with his descriptive word choices? How did the poem change from the beginning to the end? What were some words that created this change?" This is a good poem to teach the identification of change, but my time is almost out so I just to give students a little connection to the idea of change for when I bring it up again.