Literature: Analyzing Poetry is a Multi-Step Process (Day 2 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.

Big Idea

How can we make poetry more user friendly?

Warm Up

5 minutes

Today is part two of yesterday's lesson. I want students to begin thinking about poetry and about their own identity.  They have five minutes to answer this prompt:

Think about writing your own poetry.  Make a list of 15 things that are important to your heart (W.9-10.2).   


Read and gather first impressions

8 minutes

Just like yesterday, I split the classroom into two groups, boys on one side and girls on the other. Students are following the same process as yesterday.  Now that they have had a day to practice the process, I decrease the amount of time in each step so we have time for our whole group discussion at the end of class. The poems we are reading deal with gender issues. Today's process looks very similar to yesterday's lesson. I ask students to repeat a similar process because practice is the key. I never want to practice a task and then move on without giving students adequate time to practice those skills. 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.  I give Deliberate to the girl group and Homage to the boy group.  I set the timer to three 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 read and think.  

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

12 minutes

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

For the next five minutes, you will round robin your annotated poems.  I will give you 30 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 seven 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.  These videos are actually the same as yesterday's lesson videos.  They serve as an example of the types of conversations students are expected to have today. 

Write a reflection

5 minutes

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)

Round table poetry discussion

15 minutes

Now that each student has read both poems, I want them to share their analysis and thoughts with each other.  

I will say,

Students, now that we have read and analyzed both poems in your gender specific groups, let's come together and talk about the poems.  We can talk about them independently, or we can talk about both of them at the same time.  I'm going to sit back and listen to you guys discuss.  Bring your annotated poems, answered questions and a pencil and let's circle up and discuss (SL.9-10.1a).