I begin my Poetry Unit with a Poetry Flip Chart that introduces the learning goal and accompanies the goal with a learning progression, aka scale or rubric. I feel it is important for students not only to know teachers' expectations, but also know where they are in the learning progression toward that goal. Creating a rubric or scale that measures progress demystifies the process and puts everyone on the same page because the rubric provides a road map that clearly directs students towards the learning goal.
This introduction to poetry focuses on the text features of Poetry. Students had completed a previous unit on text features for informational text. Now, they can build on that knowledge and apply it to literary text by means of this poetry unit. To meet the rigorous demands of Common Core, my instruction must draw out students' prior knowledge to scaffold into other more complex areas of instruction.
Since this is an introduction to poetry, I show the Video: Rhythm in Poems that gives an overall explanation of poetry features. The flip chart and video let us examine sample poems together and discuss the basic features of poetry: stanza, verse, couplet, and harmonic textures (alliteration, assonance, consonance, and rhyme).
We view various videos ( Video: Poetry Reading The Crocodile by Roald Dahl, Video Clip: The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe read by James Earl Jones, Shel Silverstein video: Tickle Me and texts of Poem Sample The Crocodile) and analyze their poetic devices: stanza, verse, couplet, and harmonic textures (alliteration, assonance, consonance, and rhyme) found in these samples. The way poetry is read is also important because students can hear the tone and rhythm. The video clips are great resources for poetry readings.
I give students a poetic devices category matrix to record their analysis of poems and write examples evident from the video or text that indicate the poetic devices used. Students take notes to explain their findings and how poetry affects their emotions. We discuss the mood of each poem and how poetry elicits emotional response form readers. Analysis is a higher order skill that scaffolds from application. Students apply their knowledge of harmonic texture and analyze how the poet uses these devices to create a mood.
Using digital sources to analyze poetry is conducive to 21st Century learning. Common Core supports the use of both digital and traditional sources in classroom practice. I find that students really enjoy the multi-sensory approach of using technology interactively in the classroom.
Students present their matrix of Poetic Devices and explain their reactions to the poems they read or viewed on video. Students orally present their findings as related to the poetry matrix they completed: Crocodile Rhyming Pattern and Poetry Analysis: Tickle Me. The class give their feedback about whether they agree with students' identification of poetic devices. The different forms of poetry introduced and shared allow students to see the variety of poetic devices used in different types of poems. Students develop critical thinking skills when they understand the criteria for analysis and express their reactions to these poems.