My introduction to consonance begins with a comparison to another literary device: alliteration. I thought that activating prior knowledge by recalling a previous lesson on alliteration can be a great way to launch this lesson. My approach to Common Core learning is about starting from a familiar ground (prior knowledge) and scaffolding into a more complex concept. I explain that the difference between alliteration and consonance is that while alliteration displays a repetition of consonant sounds in the beginning of words, consonance does not limit itself to beginning sounds. Alliteration is a special case of consonance where the repeated consonant sound is at the beginning of words. According to http://www.poeticterminology.net, the definition of consonance is the repetition, at close intervals, of the final consonants of accented syllables of important words, whether at the end of at the beginning, middle, or end of words. As students create poems and listen to poetry readings, they begin to see and hear how the use of consonant repetition in words affect the rhythmic qualities of poems.
As students digest this information, we explore concrete examples of consonance used in poetry, displayed on my Consonance Poetry Flip Chart. As part of Consonance Reciprocal Teaching , students take turns analyzing examples that I project onto the Promethean board. We discuss each example and clarify misconceptions along the way. Having a time where students discuss and ask questions of each other, with teacher guidance, is an effective problem solving technique. I tell students that thinking out loud is a great way to collaborate and problem solve together. Common Core teaching is about tackling problem solving creatively and collaboratively. Students learn to work together to eliminate barriers that prevent them from reaching their target goals. Working collaboratively to develop strategies that minimizes or eliminates obstacles in their learning often requires innovative thinking and brainstorming ideas together.
At the conclusion of this section, I present Grease video: Consonance in Musicals. In this clip, the characters are singing "We Get Together". This song exemplifies the use of consonance. Integrating real world applications makes learning authentic.
Students work in pairs to create poetry that displays consonance as a poetic device. I supply students with construction paper, crayons, dictionary, and a partner to share ideas with and devise a plan for completing this task. I prefer to introduce the repetition devices, such as consonance, in the context of a poem. This way, students see its application in real world situations and can revisit the uniqueness of this literary device in depth in a separate lesson focusing on assonance. I find that it is more meaningful for students to learn from authentic experiences and focus on specific skills as needed. Students soon learn the benefits of having a partner to share your work with. Just as I do in collaborative group setting, students discuss rules and norms for partnering and collaboration. Using a Partnership Checklist is a great way to keep partners on the same page and focused on the tasks. Students rate themselves using this checklist as a self-assessment. Partners also give each other feedback using this checklist. Once this is established, students enjoy the benefits of partnerships.
As noted on the hierarchy of Bloom's Taxonomy, creating uses higher order thinking processes. There is much more rigor to creating a poem than merely remembering, understanding, or applying what they learn from this type of poetry. Creating requires students to synthesize information, generate hypotheses, and develop new ideas that is relevant to them. Thus, students are deeply immersed in understanding how words and structure of poetry can add meaning and rhythm.
Students take turns reading poetry to the class as they conduct their Consonance Student Presentation. I use an Oral Presentation Rubric to rate students' performance on this task both qualitatively and quantitatively. The rubric supplies guidelines for students to present their poetry effectively in areas of: enthusiasm, preparedness, clarity, volume, and rate of speech. I explain to students that poetry reading is unique. According to poets.org,, poetry reading requires both technique and attitude. Interpretation of poems is often derived through its form (rhythm, rhyme, imagery, etc) and technique (theme, topic, tone, mood). Therefore, poets rely on the reader for interpretation.