Is It a Poem?

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SWBAT write for purpose of having a silent discussion with their peers.

Big Idea

Is this a poem? Are you sure?

Word Roots Warm-Up

10 minutes

Students add today's word roots to their Cornell Notes.  It's always fun to hear how they can begin to use and think about these word roots.  This batch of roots always brings up "polygamy" and gets a snicker!  Also, between today's list and yesterday's list, they now have both parts of the word "democracy" in their notes, which is good to point out.


7 minutes

To begin today's lesson, I hand out a half of a sheet of lined paper.  I ask students if they would be able to tell if a text were a poem by looking at it and reading it.  Most seventh graders are completely convinced that they are smarter than adults, so I get all sorts of cocky, "of course!" responses.

I then ask them, since they know what a poem is, to write a definition of poetry on their sheets of paper.  I give them about 3 minutes to do this independently.

Once everyone has a definition written, I ask them to share in their groups (an elbow partner would work well too). 

After they have shared, I invite them to revise their definitions based on what they heard.

Once they are satisfied with their definition, it is time to begin today's activity!

Getting Down to Business

25 minutes

To prepare for today's activity, I have printed out copies of the texts.  I make enough so that one-sixth of the class can be at a poster station at a time.  Since I use these year to year, I have taken the time to laminate them. 

I also have prepared butcher paper charts that say, "Is this a poem?" at the top and have a column for "yes" and "no."

I explain to students the instructions for our silent conversation activity.  I also have the PowerPoint slide displayed during the activity for reference.

The goal of this activity is for students to engage each other in a silent, written conversation about poetry.  I want them to think about what others are saying and consider their own ideas of what a poem is.  I tell them that by the end of the period, I want them to have a definition of poetry that they know in their heart of hearts is the right definition.

Each student must write two entries on each poster: one initial "yes" or "no" statement and one response to the ideas of someone else.  Of course, they are welcome to do more!

I ask them to draw arrows to the comment they are responding to.  It's important that I can look at each poster and "hear" their conversation, and this is what I tell them.

It takes about 20-25 minutes for the students to complete this activity.

Once everyone is done, I collect the posters, and it's time for the big reveal.

Did They Get It?

10 minutes

We go through the texts one by one and I tell students which are poems (and their authors) and which are not.  This is such a fun time with my kiddos because they see how much fun it is to play with words, forms, and genres.

Once we have finished the big reveal, I ask students to look at their definitions of poetry again.  I welcome them to again make revisions based on the texts we have read today.

I take the half-sheets as an exit ticket for a formative (completion) grade.  Quite honestly, I just like seeing what they've written about poetry.