Poetic Connections: Continuing to Explore the American Dream

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SWBAT analyze how authors transform a theme from a source work through jigsaw discussion of poetry addressing the theme of The American Dream

Big Idea

Experts on one perspective of Walt Whitman and The American Dream lead their peers in discussion.

Introduction & Welcome: It's The Anniversary of the First March Madness!

3 minutes

It's the anniversary of the first March Madness, and we open class with a quick poll of the students who made brackets, if anyone is still "in it." 

As with all Daily Holidays, my objective is to build a sense of community and trust in the classroom as they students share their ideas and react to each other.

Poetic Discussion: Jigsaw Groups

45 minutes

Today continues students' exploration of the American Dream as a theme beyond "The Great Gatsby," and assess how authors draw on each other when addressing themes (RL 9-10.9). During "The Dream Lives On: Reviewing & Exploring the American Dream," students read and assessed a poem that directly respond to Whitman's poetry (particularly "I Hear America Singing"). Students are given handouts with the three following poems on them:

Angela De Hoyos' "To Walt Whitman" 

Langston Hughes' "I, Too"

Pablo Neruda's "Ode to Walt Whitman"

Today, students take their information from yesterday:

1. specific textual evidence (RL 9-10.1) that supports how the idea of the American Dream, starting from nothing and working one's way up to wealth and success, may be addressed or alluded to in the poem (RL 9-10.2)

2. specific textual evidence (RL 9-10.1) that addresses how each of these poems draws on or reacts to the message in Whitman's "I Hear American Singing" (RL 9-10.9)

Students have read and discussed the poems under study, and draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and their expert groups in order to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas on each poem, especially their similarities and differences (SL.9-10.1a). To begin this exchange of ideas, each expert presents their information clearly, concisely, and logically such that a group of three--one student who examined each poem--can follow the line of reasoning and conclusions the expert groups came to about each poem, responding to Langston Hughesto Angela De Hoyos (more on De Hoyos here), and to Pablo Neruda (SL.9-10.4). These jigsaw groups then pose and respond to the relationship between the poems and to the theme of the American Dream, actively incorporating their peers into the discussion, and clarifying, verifying, and/or challenging ideas and conclusions (SL.9-10.1c). In this group, students respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives--both their peers and the poets'--and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the discussion (SL.9-10.1d).

Two-Minute Warning: Wrap-Up & Reminders

2 minutes

With two minutes remaining, students are asked to return to their assigned seats, and to return the desks to rows. I inform them we will be wrapping up loose ends for "The Great Gatsby" tomorrow, and ask that they please return their copies of the novel to our textbook checkout location.