Today, I give kids a chance to really engage in their novels written in verse. I move around the room to conference. Since I'm not giving reading logs during this unit, due to the differently formatted poetry homework.
The Holocaust is an important enough issue that we pause the day after to recap our findings about Pavel Friedman. This came from the previous day's lesson.
The day prior, students researched either Pavel Friedman or Sherman Alexie. They found out information about both of these poets that may have helped them uncover information about the poems assigned in the tournament.
I just take some time on this day to fill in gaps and answer information about the Holocaust. I think its important to clear up misconceptions, because it is a high interest topic with lots of misconceptions floating around.
I introduce the concepts of imagery and symbolism. What is a symbol? I ask. Students have a range of answers. How can we take our knowledge of the word symbol and apply it to the literature we read?
When we finish, I ask students to think about "The Summer of Black Widows" & "The Butterfly," which we read during the previous day's lesson. What powerful images stand out to you after reading either of those poems? Many kids are drawn to the butterfly from Pavel Friedman's poem. What could the butterfly symbolize? Many guess hope or freedom.
From this point forward in the tournament, students should include imagery and symbolism in their homework responses for question 2, find the poetic devices.
Keeping up with the tournament, we're currently discussion "Dreams" & "This is Just to Say" (Poems 11 & 12).
Kids take out their "Dreams" & "This is Just to Say" Homework Responses in order to discuss these poems further. We go over the figurative language found in "Dreams." There is a ton! I place the poem underneath the document camera and students come up to annotate the poem.
Here is "Dreams" with Annotations. This is just a check to make sure that students are staying caught up with their tournament homework.
We also discuss the meaning of the word "dream." Since the word has a two concrete meanings, I ask which definition students think Langston Hughes is referring to in his poem.
When discussing a crowd favorite poem like "This is Just to Say," I often start the discussion by asking what they believe the context of the poem to be. Who is talking to who? This gets them viewing this poem in a new way.