Today students will complete a formative for the poem "Long Trip" by Langston Hughes. When I created the formative, I wanted to scaffold the questions by starting with one that asked them to think about the meaning of the poem. Having an idea about the poem is necessary to make inferences about the structure. The next question I created dealt with elements of structure like the patterns and rhythms. Finally, the last question seals the deal and asks the students what image Hughes was able to create by choosing a free verse structure.
While students are working, I will be monitoring off and on. When I'm not monitoring, I will be checking students reading notebooks for completion and confusion. I try to get through all of them while the students are testing. By doing this each time the students take a quiz, I can check over just a few pages at a time. Sometimes, I ask the students to process (study) a concept for homework, and this is my time to check if they've got a good grasp of what we're learning.
I know that poetry can be left to interpretation, but I was hoping my students could tell me that for #1 Hughes thought the ocean was wild or unpredictable, huge and always moving. For #2 the answer choices a and b are close, but those words most specifically help us feel that up and down movement of the waves, so a would be the best choice. Finally, in #3 students should be able to explain that we can see the movement of the waves in the way he laid out his lines in the free verse structure.
When the students finish this formative, they will create a concrete poem.
As you finish your quiz today, I'd like you to begin drafting a concrete poem. When you're ready, I have colored paper out for you to create your final copy. I challenge you to create a poem with a deep theme and use the picture to help us to connect to that theme just like the author of Snail Speed did. If this still feels too difficult, you can create a poem just like Jack.