The Lost Stanza of "Ulalume"

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SWBAT evaluate an omitted stanza of a poem for consistency; SWBAT participate in peer evaluation and scoring.

Big Idea

Reviewing the work of others can provide clarity about our own thinking and writing.

Latin Roots Warm Up

10 minutes

This is our daily warm up, wherein students work with two or three Latin roots per day.  The resource that I use to get my roots is Perfection Learning's Everyday Words from Classic Origins.
Every day, when the students arrive, I have two Latin roots on the SmartBoard.  Their job is to generate as many words as they can that contain the roots, and they try to guess what the root means.  After I give them about five minutes, we share words and I tell them what the root means.

The students compile these daily activities in their class journals.  After every twelve roots, they take a test on the roots themselves and a set of words that contains them.

Introducing...the "lost" stanza

20 minutes

Note: This activity was actually completed over two days -- with the students writing the responses on the first day and doing the rest of the activities on the second -- but I have put it together as one lesson for clarity.


This activity was a follow up of our study of "Annabel Lee" and "Ulalume."  

In this lesson, I presented students with the "lost" stanza of "Ulalume."  This is a stanza that Poe wrote, but the version of "Ulalume" that is most commonly studied is missing this final section. (If you are interested, here is an article about the "puzzling last stanza.")  

The students had to evaluate whether or not the last stanza changes the poem.  The students used their Venn Diagrams (which included information about mood, tone and literary elements) and their copies of "Ulalume" to complete the assignment.

Peer Review and Scoring

20 minutes

For the next step in the assignment, I gave students copies of student responses AND a copy of the rubric that accompanies the assignment.  

One of the reasons that we are doing this activity is to coach students on how to deal with embedded questions; in other words, we are working on how to address all parts of a question.

Each of the student response papers had four responses on them, labeled A, B, C, D.  The students were told to to score each response for the three factors.  This took about fifteen minutes.

Then, I had the students find another student and compare scores.  The rule was that they had to come to consensus -- no averaging or just taking someone else's score.  They had to agree.

Finally, I had them join with one other pair to do the same thing.  So, they had a lot of conversations (and some disagreements) about what constitutes good evidence or what "consistent" means.  This was great, because it gave some of the students insight into the thoughts behind the scoring.

Exit Ticket: Now score your own...

10 minutes

After the students completed the scoring of their peers, I returned their own (ungraded) responses to them.  They used the rubric to assign scores to their work, then they had the option to revise their response or to go with it, as is.

On a whim, I polled the class to ask how they had scored themselves.  There are 27 kids in the class.  Five gave themselves a score that would equal an A or B.  About the same number gave themselves "failing" grades.  

I allowed the students to revise, but I gave them the choice.  Almost all of them did so.  I think it was a good lesson about answering embedded questions and evaluating evidence.