"Hey, Ya. Shake It Like a Polaroid Picture": Transforming Close Reading with Image Annotation of Poems

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Objective

SWBAT Annotate a poem using images and text coding.

Big Idea

Helping students visualize a poem.

Teacher to Teacher: Lesson Time Frame and Context

This is the lesson 4 in our study of British poetry from the Romantic, Victorian, and Modern Periods. Throughout the course, students have worked on annotating texts, but poetry calls for other responses given its evocative nature. Thus, I ask students to create image annotations, the origins of which I discuss in the IImage Annotation screencast. 

In this lesson, students combine their knowledge of annotation with images to create "image annotation." Today we do the following:

  • Practice annotation as a whole-class activity.
  • Introduce students to image annotation.
  • Create image annotations for their selected poems. 

Together We Annotate: "Dulce Et Decorum Est" Whole-Class Annotation

20 minutes

I don't have a smart board in my room, so for the whole-class annotation of "Dulce Et Decorum Est" we used the white board as a screen. 

First, I read the poem to students very slowly. Then, I gave students the task of responding to the poem. I asked questions, beginning with "What do you notice in this poem?" and "What questions does the poem raise for you?" 

Since classes are different, one may eagerly approach the task and begin with the most obvious: "What does the title mean?" That happened in one class but not in the other. Thus, I need to be prepared for a variety of responses. 

Some questions to ask:

  • What verbs do you see in the poem? 
  • What effect do words such as "bent-double" have on the reader?
  • What theme does the title and concluding line suggest? 

I have many students who plan to join the military. They readily recognize the images of warfare. One student asked if the poet was a medic given his use of Latin, which the student recognized as the language of medicine. Several students identified similes in the poem. 

As students commented on the poem and took turns annotating and suggesting ideas I added to the annotation, they often mentioned the realism in the poem. Consequently, I defined verisimilitude--realism in literature--for them. Class Annotation of "Dulce-Et Decorum Est"shows this. I also told students the present progressive verbs such as plodding, trudging, etc. suggest ongoing action. I asked, "Is was something that ends for the soldier once the war ends?" The question received a resounding "no." 

By the time students finished the annotation, several were asking if they could switch poems and use "Dulce Et Decorum Est." I reminded them that they had each selected a poem that appeals to them and that they will like their poems even more after they finish the annotation. 

 

Ars Poetica: Image Annotation--It's about Words and Pictures

45 minutes

Next, I introduce students to "Image Annotation." this is a way of annotating that combines images w/ traditional ways of annotating. Image Annotation Instructions. give an example w/ instructions and also includes the Wilfred Owen poem "Dulce Et Decorum Est." 

I gave students the instructions to find or create images that reflect meaning in their poems and that they could use to communicate meaning in their poems. I also told them that they also need to include some of the typical methods of annotation in their image annotations. 

Finally, I reminded students that their goal is to show their understanding of their poems in their image annotations. Students take different approaches to the task, as the examples show: Student Image Annotation and Image Annotation Student (2) are two different approaches to the task.