The lesson on bio poems begin with a Bio Poem Flipcart assessing students' prior knowledge of poetry. This lesson follows introductory lessons on poetry. Students should have background information at this point, regarding structure, form, and meaning of poetry. I like to compare a bio Poem to the previous unit my students had on Biography research. A bio poem is about a person's life. It describes this person using a particular format, that is described in the flip chart. I also show examples of bio poems that we examine and analyze for characteristics and patterns. Students learn that Bio poems have a particular structure and highlight parts of speech in its content. These characteristics of phrases in Bio Poems affect the meaning and rhythm of the poem. As students read and listen to this type of poetry, they begin to experience these effects.
Background knowledge is important for students to make sense of their learning. Students enter with different life experiences and knowledge into this lesson. Part of the flip chart is to assess what students already know. We share information from peers and the teacher to fill in the gaps so students understand the basic foundational knowledge of what characterizes a Bio poem. Common Core encourages this type of discussion and communication of knowledge through collaborative efforts. Depth in knowledge can only be attained once students dig deeper below the surface.
I pair students and ask them to create a Bio Poem using a Bio Poem Template. I ask students to introduce themselves to their partners, following the guidelines of the bio poem template. Having someone to communicate with and give you feedback alleviates the stress of writing and creating a poem by yourself. Common Core is about collaboration and interaction with knowledge. This shared poetry writing activity promotes cooperative learning and builds a supportive classroom environment. Students get immediate feedback from their partner as they work together in pairs. I circulate to assist as needed, as I listen in on their conversations. Their conversations leading to their final product gives me qualitative data for understanding strengths and weaknesses students have in processing this poem. We often rely on quantitative data or the final product. The process of learning is just as important because it relies on student comprehension.
During the Bio Poem Student Poetry Reading, students read their Bio Poems to the class as well as discuss how they used the template to help them plan their writing. Aside from their partners, they get feedback from their peers who become their audience in this poetry reading session. We discuss the rhythm, structure, visual patterns of the bio poems. We discussed similarities and differences among the many poems and poetic devices we learned. Students recalled and explained various forms and structures of poetry. The accumulation of knowledge was phenomenal. Oral language is developed through effective verbal communication of knowledge.