Did you literally just think that??????

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SWBAT find figurative language and explain how it enhances the poem "Eating Poetry."

Big Idea

Are you literally afraid your kids aren't understanding poetry? Use this poetry lesson to ask: what is the author literally saying? What is more figurative?

Silent Reading Novel Written in Verse/Poetry Homework Check-In

15 minutes

Today's silent reading and homework check-in consists of kids reading their novel's written in verse and I circulate to do a fast check of all their homework. I stamp in their responses quickly, just to make sure they've completed them. Then I look more closely at the responses later.

Whenever possible, I begin my lessons with silent, independent reading. During this time, I actively monitor their reading progress by checking their out-of-class reading logs and engaging in reading conferences that cover a variety of topics.

To find ways to enact this section, please see my strategy folder.

Poetry Discussion "Eating Poetry"

25 minutes

For the second day of poetry discussion, we start with the homework question: What is this poem about? The poem "Eating Poetry" is definitely complex. There are elements of fantasy, magic, and transformation going on. During their first reading, kids definitely pick up on the fact that something mysterious is going on, but they have a hard time analyzing the poem as a whole. That's when I introduce the idea of chunking this poem into stanzas.

I recommend for the kids to read this poem stanza by stanza. What is the most important word found in each stanza that hints at meaning? I sometimes have them discuss this in small table groups.

Then, I post key questions that students come up with on the board:

Why is the librarian so sad?

What is brush?

What exactly is happening to the narrator of this poem?

This poem marks our exploration into a discussion of figurative versus literal. For example, when our narrator states, "I have been eating poetry," has he literally been eating poetry. Or could "eating poetry" actually mean something different? Students discuss.

Partner Work: Storytelling

15 minutes

I love the poem "Storytelling" because the format is so foreign to kids. I put it in my bracket because of the unusual format. After analyzing the poem for a while, kids find that there are multiple hidden meanings.

I put kids in random pairs to discuss the poem. The first question I post is:

Before you read a word of this poem, what did you notice about it's format? Did the layout of the poem remind you of a different kind of genre?

Many kids will deduce that it looks like a script. When they discover the script element, I ask if that contributes to the meaning in a new way. If you think about the title, and we think about the script layout, can you uncover meaning?

I have them discuss their responses in pairs. Eventually,  I pose the question, what new information have you gathered about this poem after your discussion. Compare this to your initial response.

Another extra challenge is to talk about the number of stanzas. It can be tricky to count them and finding the correct amount of stanzas at the end is sort of a light and tricky bonus.

Whole Class Wrap-Up

15 minutes

At the end of the period, students are asked to take away something new from the lesson. This is the writing time.

I ask them to write one new interpretation for each poem that was discussed during the mini-lesson. They write these responses directly on their homework. They can signify the "new" response with a different color or star.