I start this brief unit with a pre-test of terminology they will be expected to master in the days to come. My school follows the Continuous Classroom Improvement (CCI) model, so we track the progress on key concepts and skills using qualitative and quantitative data. This pre-test does not impact the students' grades, but gives us a baseline. I also use this data to drive my instruction, so I am able to focus more on areas of need, rather than a blanket approach.
I ask the students to define each of the following terms:
Roughly 2/3 of these terms are concepts the students should have some familiarity with. On average, my classes scored a 42% on this pre-assessment. I use the results to guide my instruction as it tells me the areas that the students need the most time with and the areas that the students have less need.
With the new Common Core State Standards in place, but our state assessment still aligned to the old state standards for this year, I teach a short unit on poetry to meet those needs and expectations. As we move forward, poetry will be embedded throughout the curriculum to support anchor texts, but for now, I teach the concepts all together as its own unit. Additionally, the students have a limited exposure to poetry based on the specific teachers they have had prior to this year. My primary focus is to ensure all students have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of poetry. I also introduce sonnets to the students, a vast majority of whom have had no previous exposure. I find this to be vital as it introduces the students to Shakespeare in a different sense than they are anticipating, but one that will likely help them to understand his dramatic works better, and appreciate the lyrical nature of his writing.
After we have completed the pre-test, graded it, and set goals for the unit, I have the students set up Cornell notes in their ISN. The notes for poetry will take two class periods, and today's section is focused on Poetry Devices Notes, figurative language and sound devices.
As I present the information for the students, I make sure to ask them to provide multiple examples for each. Simply copying down what I say is not nearly as helpful as when they are able to connect and include their own examples and perceptions.
The Poetry Powerpoint that I use has both days of the notes included all in one place, rather than separating them into two presentations. This helps me to be able to differentiate for each of my classes. Sometimes, there is one class that needs to spend more time on a concept than the other classes, this then puts them behind in the process. By having both days' notes in one place, I am more easily able to go at the pace my students need.
I give the students the final five minutes of the class period to complete the left page for their Poem Notes in their ISNs. The left page is reserved for students to interact with the information I provided for them that was placed on the right page. I am a huge proponent for this I believe students need time to process the information they have just received, and in a way that is meaningful for them.