Literature: Analyzing Poetry is a Multi-Step Process ( Day1 of 2)

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SWBAT determine the theme of a poem and analyze how that theme emerges by analyzing the title, structure and language of a poem about gender.

Big Idea

How can we make poetry more user friendly?

Warm Up

10 minutes

Throughout this unit we will read a variety of literature from multiple genres.  Today we read and analyze poetry. Since we have had a lesson designed to teach the reading of poetry explicitly, I want to give students a reminder of reading poetry during this warm up.  As students enter, I ask them to write down everything they remember about analyzing poetry.  I project this prompt on the Smart Board:

Pretend that your best friend doesn't know anything about reading poetry.  You are the expert. Write down instructions you would give your friend so they are able to read poetry well.  

Accessing prior knowledge is a great step to this lesson which will expand on that skill.  After students write their list, we will discuss and make a classroom list of steps to analyzing poetry.  link to old lesson here.  

Read and gather first impressions

10 minutes

Just like yesterday, I split the classroom into two groups, boys on one side and girls on the other. The poems we are reading deal with gender issues.  I ask students to split into gender segregated groups so they can discuss each poem with like minded peers, then we will come together and discuss the perspective of the poems from each gender.  

I distribute Deliberate by Amy Uyematsu  and Homage to my Hips by Lucille Clifton.  While both of these poems deal with females, I want students to consider how our gender influences how we read literature and what we take away from it.  I give Deliberate to the boy group and Homage to the girl group.  I set the timer to five minutes and tell the students to simply read and think about their poem.  I tell them to read the poem numerous times. I want students to simply silently read and think (RL.9-10.10).  

Next, I set the timer to five minutes and give students the following prompt:

Now that you have thought about the poem, I want you to take a few minutes and annotate. Write down your thoughts about the poem.  Ask questions, note your favorite lines, etc.

I do this in two separate steps because I want the students' annotations to mean something.  I've found that when I ask a student to simply read and annotate, they grab a pencil or highlighter and just start coloring.  Instead, they need to know that annotation is a strategy to develop deeper meaning out of reading.  I want students to read, gather their thoughts, reread and annotate.  

Share your annotations and discuss

15 minutes

I set the timer to seven minutes and give students the instructions.

For the next seven minutes, you will round robin your annotated poems.  I will give you 30-45 seconds with each poem.  Read your classmate's annotations carefully.  If you have some feedback for him/her, write it on a post it and attach it to the poem.  

Annotating is a great strategy to read more deeply and think more critically about a piece of text. I want students to see what other students are annotating.  Students get to read the thinking of their peers.  It gives the writer positive reinforcement and the reader a new perspective on the text. 

Next, I give students this prompt:

Now, discuss your poems and your annotations. Make sure to read the poem aloud at least three times.   You'll have eight minute to discuss the answers to these questions, 1. How does the title contribute to the theme of the poem? (RL.9-10.2).  What is the poem saying literally and figuratively? (RL.9-10.2) What is the speaker's attitude toward his/her subject?  How do you know that? Find the text evidence that supports your analysis of the author's tone (RL.9-10.1).  Chunk your poem into sections that make sense.  Evaluate how the author structured the poem and how that contributes to the theme (SL.9-10.5).  

By this time, students have read the poem numerous times.  Answering these questions should be an easy process.  I want students to realize that to reach conclusions about literature, often a reader must read a text numerous times.  These videos, students discuss the title of a poem and students discuss the structure of a poem, demonstrate this process.  

Write a reflection

10 minutes

Lastly, I ask students to do some writing.  Now that they have read the poem numerous times, annotated, discussed and answered analytical questions, I want them to write about the poem.  They answer this prompt:

Now that you have worked through your poem, I want you to do some writing. In an extended writing, explain what is the author's attitude toward femininity and gender?  How do you know that? Provide text evidence to support your analysis.  (W.9-10.9)