In the previous day’s lesson students found out how to use a mnemonic device to remember the names of commonly used figurative language. I start today’s class by activating prior knowledge. I pose the question “What is SHAMPOR?” and see who comes up with the most correct answers:
S = simile
H = hyperbole (exaggeration)
A = assonance & alliteration
M = metaphor
P = personification
O = onomatopoeia
R = repetition, rhyme, rhythm
The previous day’s homework was to complete the poetry dictionary of terms, definitions and examples of poetic devices, so the next thing we do today is review that work.
Students enjoy sharing their creations with one another and it gives me a chance to do some troubleshooting. Are there any terms that are particularly challenging? Right away hands go up and we are off to the races. Assonance is tricky because it is so easy to fall into rhyming instead: cake, bake, wake, etc. So we take a few minutes and brainstorm words that have the long a sound but do not rhyme: bake, Mabel, hesitate, acorn, reindeer. From this random list we create a sentence: Mabel did not hesitate to bake the acorns for the reindeer. In reality, I know this may not be a type of figurative language that the students will often encounter. The value of the exercise is in getting them to think about the sound of language in a new and unexpected way and to understand that poets often work long and hard at find just the right wording for their poems.
Many students rise to challenge and spend some time redoing their examples of assonance. After making our way through the rest of packet, we are ready to apply our knowledge of poetic devices to analyzing poetry.
Today and tomorrow we will make our through a series of poems in search of poetic devices. As we do so, one question keeps being asked How does the poet’s use of a _________________ (poetic device) add to the meaning of the poem?
In this way student’s are not just identifying the poetic devices, they are analyzing the poems. The marked version of some of the poems appears here. The video explains the process. As class time runs out, I assign a few of the remaining poems in the packet for students to mark up for homework. For each, they are to find examples of poetic devices. They also are to identify the speaker of the poem and to consider what the theme is.